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The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other

The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other

ISBN: 9780345475800
Regular price $19.33 USD
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER - A renowned Harvard University professor offers valuable insights, incisive lessons, and deft guidance on how to communicate more effectively to help parents and teachers make the most of parent-teacher conferences, the essential conversation between the most vital people in a child's life.

"An enormously important volume . . . that will help us all understand what happens when children leave home in order to learn at school."--Robert Coles, author of Children of Crisis and Lives of Moral Leadership

"The essential conversation" is the crucial exchange that occurs between parents and teachers--a dialogue that takes place more than one hundred million times a year across our country and is both mirror of and metaphor for the larger cultural forces that define family-school relationships and shape the development of our children. Participating in this twice-yearly ritual, so friendly and benign in its apparent goals, parents and teachers are often wracked with anxiety. In a meeting marked by decorum and politeness, they frequently exhibit wariness and assume defensive postures. Even though the conversation appears to be focused on the student, adults may find themselves playing out their own childhood histories, insecurities, and fears.

Through vivid portraits and parables, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot captures the dynamics of this complex, intense relationship from the perspective of both parents and teachers. She also identifies new principles and practices for improving family-school relationships. In a voice that combines the passion of a mother, the skepticism of a social scientist, and the keen understanding of one of our nation's most admired educators, Lawrence-Lightfoot offers penetrating analysis and an urgent call to arms for all those who want to act in the best interests of their children.
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