Providing EL students with culturally engaging books to take home is a good start, but if parents don’t understand how to read with their kids, or if they don’t understand how to build vocabulary, the books may not be utilized effectively, if at all. Educators and administrators need specific training and support for understanding how to effectively engage Spanish-speaking parents at school in order to provide meaningful and authentic engagement. It is most helpful if there is an allocated educator or a small team at each school committed to providing family engagement on a regular basis.
Read on to discover 3 helpful tips for authentic family engagement with English Learners.
Tip #1: Value Home Language
The first tip for authentic family engagement with immigrants is that school educators and teachers must demonstrate that they value an immigrant’s language by trying to communicate with them in their own language and assisting them when they don’t understand said communications. School districts can hire bilingual staff, teachers, and interpreters to properly inform immigrant parents about the school system and the status of their child or children.
Tip #2: Personal Relationships
The second tip for authentic family engagement with English Leaners is the creation of personal relationships. Forming personal relationships with parents helps to build trust among the families, schools, and the community. These personal relationships don’t have to be solely related to education; instead, they can also be related to neighborhood safety, access to health care, adult education, food, clothing, and more.
Tip #3: Provide Learning Opportunities
The third tip for authentic family engagement with immigrants is providing learning opportunities that are culturally appropriate and meaningful. School districts or teachers can hold workshops and other learning opportunities that can address some of the issues and needs that immigrant parents have. The learning opportunity should be hosted in the home language for a heart-to-heart exchange.
The Latino Family Literacy Project focuses on inviting parents to the school campus, once a week for 10 sessions. Trained providers will then coach parents on clear strategies for reading, comprehension, and vocabulary development with their kids. Each of our age-appropriate programs offer culturally engaging materials and an evaluation tool for measuring the success with our family engagement programs. Teachers can join an online webinar for effective training for our programs, which saves time and money with no out-of-classroom time, travel, or fees.
3 Tips for Authentic Family Engagement with Immigrants