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Connecting with Schools and Families of ELL

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There is a strong need for schools and teachers to connect with families of English language learners. To facilitate this collaborative spirit, educators must encourage parents of all cultures to become part of the school culture. Think about what you would like parents to know as they partner with you in educating their child. What could parents share about their culture that would help the classroom teacher be more effective? Design a series of three presentations/activities for parents and students at your school wherein cultural diversity is honored and respected. Your plan should include a purpose for each activity, a description of the target group you are addressing, an explanation of the activity, a time frame, and the materials/resources needed to execute each activity.

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Solution Summary

This has to do with how parents and other community members can help families of all cultures feel comfortable and collaborate in the school environment.

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In many segments of society, professionals, and layman alike are well aware of how ethnically diverse society has become. Indeed, even as far back as 2002, Kindler found that students in school groups spoke more than 500 different languages, and among those, the top five were Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Haitian, Creole, and Korean (NCELA,
2002a). However, among these groups 75 percent are made up of Spanish-speaking students whereas the others are approximately two percent each (NCELA, 200b).

The question remains of how teachers can encourage parents and students while honoring their ethnic diversity. As far as involving the parents per se, much depends upon how they view their own literacy practices, the prevalence or absence of such in the home, and which of these issues are specific to parent-child and parent-school interaction (Panferow, 2010). Most educators are aware of the influence of the family on the learner's expectations (Panferow, 2002). An investigator called Robson found that among semi-literate ESL speakers, previous schooling experiences influences how one succeeds in a second language learning environment (Robson, 1981).

Therefore, the question still remains of how educators can engage the parents. Educators must acknowledge first certain barriers to parental involvement. One such fact includes a unidirectional approach to school involvement, which means what parents can do to support the school and the child's achievement rather than what the school does to support the family or not (Azzam, 2009). Lack of English proficiency and low educational level for some also influence the parent's involvement (Azzam, 2009). There is sometimes a disconnect between the school and home culture ...

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