November 04, 2021
Family, Family Engagement, Communication, Social Media

The Power of Listening to Students, Teachers and Families on Social Media

Our team wanted to share a very interesting and insightful article that we found on the website of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. This institution exists to research innovative ways to solve problems that society faces on local, national, and global levels. 

The particular article we found discusses research done in England regarding common educational topics that students, teachers and families are posting about on social media. Although this research represents schools outside of the United States, the topic hits home because of the need for the government and schools to partner with students, families and teachers to positively impact educational decisions and processes. In addition, social media is also very prevalent in the United States and the same research can be done in our country to get helpful data. 

Four Insights Found From the Collected Data

1. “Students, teachers, and families are actively connecting with each other about education but largely in siloed conversations”

This conclusion is very interesting to us because we know that students, teachers and families are mostly on forums where the participants have similar demographics. However, there seems to be a need for school districts to provide platforms where all three parties can discuss their opinions and points of view from their part of the equation. Discussions where all affected parties have a voice will give decision-makers the ability to vet all possible problems and solutions.

2. When participants in social media band together with similar opinions, they can create enough momentum to impact district and government decisions.

This insight shows the power that social media can give to students and families who would not have as big of an audience without these platforms. It also exposes school districts to opinions and thoughts that they might not have been privy to without the help of the internet. The change of pace that we needed - something good to come from the internet!!

3. “Students’ mental health and well-being have been top of mind both prior to and during COVID-19”

The most important conclusion drawn from this entire study.
The mental health and well-being of students has always been a big issue for schools, but not always have they treated it as such. COVID-19 has put students and teachers through unprecedented circumstances and the mental stability of these folks have dwindled with online learning. Now, school districts and government officials need to make this topic top priority to ensure students and teachers are being supported in the most effective ways. 

4. Families have narrow interests and lack a unifying motivation to push for more general education change

Of course the main interests of families, when it comes to school, is their own children’s circumstances. This is something that we know will never change, but there needs to be more regard for broader topics in order to positively impact hard-hitting, common issues. Not to say that individual problems are not important and do not deserve attention, but school districts and government officials will never be able to fix every issue that arises with students. Therefore, families need to also jump on the bandwagon of broader educational needs in order to get attention from decision makers and fix what they can. 

Did you know? 

We urge teachers, families, and school administrators to read this entire article to get a better idea of all the data collected from this study. Also, we suggest following this series because the article editor notes that this is the first of many similar studies to be covered around the globe. Maybe they will do the United States next?

The Brookings Institution Article