George Lucas Educational Foundation

Improving parental involvement

Improving parental involvement

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Hello everyone! As part of an Education Reform where I teach in the UAE, we have been working on improving parental involvement. Our main obstacle we face is reaching ELL families where the predominant language is Arabic. At the beginning of the school year we translated our welcome letter to parents as well as our weekly homework assignments for all grades. Unfortunately only a handful of parents who know some English turn up when it comes to teacher conferences or parent afternoons. This makes it difficult to discuss their children's progress and areas of weakness and how they can help support them at home. Are there any strategies you may like to share and have found successful?

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Annette Shauver's picture
Annette Shauver
Seventh grade English & social studies teacher from Lansing, MI

Hi, Michelle, We are in the same class at Walden and I just read your discussion about blogs. Since you didn't have any replies yet, I thought I'd check it out. I teach in Michigan and certainly don't have the language barrier you have. I have, however, been at schools with large Hispanic and Hmong populations. One thing that we found effective was asking the families to cook for an event. For instance, our principal may speak with some Hispanic families and ask them to cook tacos for a conference night. Or he may ask some of the Hmong population to supply egg-rolls for an awards assembly or other event. Our principal always found some money to help defray their costs, but most families weren't interested in being repaid. This not only brought in the folks who were cooking, but they were able to communicate with others they knew and invite them. Where so many parents are not comfortable talking about algebra or history, most are comfortable with cooking. It gives them a connection and helps teach others about a new culture. And in my schools, the best way to get participation in any school function is to provide food.
I've really enjoyed this class, haven't you? I was concerned because I'd never taken classes online, but I'm feeling re-energized. I'm glad Mr. Marcus was my first instructor. He is personal and wonderful.
Best of luck with the rest of the program.

Annette Shauver

Ms Michelle's picture
Ms Michelle
Third grade teacher living in the UAE

Hi Annette
Thank you for taking the time out to respond-I appreciate it! Involving parents for ELL students is a hard task, but your cooking idea is very practical which I can see work well in the culture I work in.
I am happy that you are enjoying the challenge of your masters. I have never taken classes online either-yet I feel more of a purpose now that I am doing it. I am inspired by your courage.
All the best with your studies also

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