Transcript for communicate - examples from schools

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Narrator

Effective communication is a two-way exchange that involves information sharing and opportunities for schools and families to learn about each other.

School principal

We’ve got lots of different layers of communication that really ensure that we’re meeting all the different parent’s needs.

We use technology, so we have Facebook page, we use our school bag app, we use our school website. We send notes home to our families via students and often we translate those as well into a home language.

We also need to recognise that there are those parents who aren’t literate in either English or their first languages so we use our bilingual ethnic aids to support us with that process, by providing face to face real time communication.

We also make phone calls to remind parents, to check in with parents.

Voice over - It’s important for staff to find out what form of communication works.

Parent one (through translator)

First of all there are the newsletter of the school which is in English language, but there is the possibility for us to get the information from the CLOs (Community Liaison Officer) who are translating the school in Dari, Arabic Tamil and other languages. And the second thing is that every day there is the diary for each student and we have to check the diary, if there is anything, any problem, we can contact easily the school.

Parent two

There is another one, the School Bag (app), where they share information about sports carnivals or newsletters. As parents it’s really good to see the objectives and what's going on in the school.

Voice over - schools with diverse student backgrounds have both formal and informal communication structures in place.

School principal

In our school, we have a very diverse community and because of that, you have to know your community really well, and know every student and their family really really well to understand their experiences and what they’re bringing to the table, and not to make assumptions. And so with translated documents, I believe about 1% of our families from an African background actually have print literacy in their first language and so I’ve made mistakes before in the past where I’ve attempted to get families to read translated documents, and it was embarrassing in terms of the position that I put them in, and it was a mistake that I made, and so now I have those documents available but I by no means assume that parents wish to deal with things in their first language and most of my meetings they would prefer us to do it orally through an interpreter.

Voice over - Teachers and other school staff from diverse backgrounds can also be an invaluable resource.

Managing Director, IDENTITY Communications

It’s very easy to say I’ve sent a newsletter, I’ve sent a report home, but that’s only one part of communication. I think effective communication involves using every tool that’s available to you.

Is it better to invite some parents to school so you can communicate face to face, even though they might have a language barrier, face to face communication, you can get a lot of concepts through much better than on a two-dimensional piece of paper.

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