Effective communication between teachers and parents will benefit students and raise their academic achievement. Your role as a teacher is vital in helping all learners reach their full potential. Parents want to see their children do well and at the same time they want to protect them and create a safe environment.
When talking to parents about exams, teachers of young learners need to be ready to reassure parents that their child is ready to take an exam and explain the benefits of assessment. You also need to understand the parents’ point of view and manage expectations of typical beliefs and misconceptions that some parents might have.
As a teacher of young learners, read our five tips on how you can talk to parents. We’ll help you explain the value of Cambridge English Qualifications, what positive effects they have on student motivation and what opportunities learners get by preparing for and taking exams.
1. Understand the parents’ point of view
Parents might have some beliefs and misconceptions about exams. These could prevent them from understanding why an exam is a great choice for their child. They might include:
- being affected by their own language learning and exams experience
- having stereotypes about learning a language and how it ‘should’ be done
- being worried about having high expectations of their child from an early age
- not wanting to spend extra money.
Try to understand their point of view and think of answers or ways to support parents through their concerns.
2. Explain how assessment supports successful learning
It’s important that parents understand how an exam can support their child’s learning. Recognised around the world, Cambridge English Qualifications are the best choice for your students because they:
- help motivate learners to improve their level of English
- build all the skills they need to communicate in the real world in a fun way
- put learning at the centre of assessment with research-backed methods
- provide clear objectives and measure the child’s progress
- help to identify areas for improvement
- deliver measurable improvements.
3. Talk about successful language learning requirements
When talking to parents, make it clear about what language learning requirements are and how Cambridge English Qualifications can support them.
- Motivation – this is crucial to learners developing their English skills.
- Confidence – using a foreign language requires having confidence in all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). It is particularly important for young learners that confidence is built up gradually and maintained over time.
- Fun – children are more likely to stay motivated if they are enjoying themselves.
- Clear objectives – having clear and realistic goals increases learners’ motivation as they have a better understanding of how they are progressing.
- Right level and content – at a young age, children are still developing their first language skills. They have limited world knowledge and reasoning skills. Children will perform better if the materials they use take these factors into account and are appropriate to their age and level. To be successful in learning a language, you also need to learn all the different skills and not just grammar and vocabulary, or the passive skills of reading and listening.
- Practice – learning any new skill requires practice and getting to a good level takes time. Starting young will help to give learners an advantage in their lifelong language learning journey.
4. Provide parents with information about Cambridge English Qualifications
Our qualifications for young learners – Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers and A2 Flyers – are a great first step on a child’s language learning journey. Here are some great benefits to communicate to parents about these exams.
- Our qualifications are designed specifically for school-aged students and are based on extensive research into how children develop language skills.
- The exams are aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This is an international framework which describes language ability at six levels from A1 for beginners to C2 for mastery. The CEFR describes what learners can typically do at each level using a series of Can Do statements.
- The exams have topics, grammar and vocabulary aimed at appropriate ages.
- The tasks use realistic everyday situations to bring learning to life.
- All children taking Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers and A2 Flyers get a certificate – no child fails the exam. This helps to build their confidence in English and gives them a positive first impression of what an exam is like.
We have some great free materials to help you communicate the benefits of our exams to parents.
5. Share activities that parents can do at home
We have lots of free activities that parents can do at home with their child. Share these with parents so they can support what their child is learning in the classroom.
Learn more about how you can talk to parents of younger learners about their child’s progress in our recent webinar for teachers with Katia Redkina.
Watch our webinar
Find lots more support and resources about talking to parents about Cambridge English Qualifications.