Education Column: Actions always speak louder than words

We have all heard, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I don’t believe that is a solid position because people make observations and then react to the experience. When I miscued in school, I would attempt to justify or explain how and why I did what I did. Unimpressed with my fabricated explanations, my mother would reply, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” Translated: nice try, but I’m not buying the story. Those words generally came before the October parent visit to my school.

Ed Saxton
Ed Saxton

With the first month of school behind us, we are about to enter the parent communication conference season. This activity has evolved over the years and is considerably different in 2013. Many parents are checking progress electronically and are very in-tune with student progress. Scores posted, results available and achievement communicated are all components of the educational journey.

With that said, collaboration and face-to-face communication is still preferred by many.

A compelling reason to attend these periodic person-to-person information sessions is multi-layered. First, it is an excellent time to collectively get on the same page (no pun intended) with all the professionals who are helping educate your students. It may be an educational assistant, classroom teacher, specialist, principal, or additional staff serving the needs of each learner.

Second, as a concerned adult, you are modeling excellent behavior for the progressing learner. It illustrates a willingness to monitor knowledge acquisition and ask questions. “This sounds like it will work well,” or “I’m interested in motivating at home. Thanks for the tip.” As adults, we are demonstrating the ability to work together even when we are in different physical locations.

Third, it allows us all to share in the ever-evolving technology expansion in a learning setting. A school visit today may bring you in contact with an interactive SMART board, one of the many iPads that are deployed districtwide, or even 3-D education. Instructors in all of our buildings are striving to integrate instruction through technology. This is not the setting it was even seven years ago.

Educators today have many tools from which to choose. It is available and your support is critical to our implementation and instruction. Thanks for attending.

Keeping those three steps in mind, please feel free to discus more communication strategies with our staff. We are transitioning into an anywhere, anytime model. This new educational experience is supported and enhanced by building digital bridges to parent work places, homes and sometimes to mobile devices. Select the tools that work best for you and your students. Digital doors are being invented faster than we can open them. True enough.

If my mother were here to weigh in on the topic, she most likely would have marveled at the extremely rapid pace of technology and communication advancement. After making that observation, she may well have said, “OK. All that sounds great; now let’s get in the car and go to conferences.” She would have been right. In October, please join us in the schools to discuss the progress made and the direction our students are headed. See you soon.

Ed Saxton is the superintendent of the St. Francis Independent School District 15.

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