Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences with Spanish-Speaking Parents
Over the years, as the number of Hispanic students has continued to grow, there are now some really great resources out there for teachers and, in particular, some really handy tips for successful parent-teacher conferences with Spanish-speaking parents. Knowledge is power and conducting a meaningful conference for Hispanic parents can’t help but have short and long-term benefits for families and schools.
The first thing you want to do in order to have a great conference, according to the website, Teacher Vision, is to let parents know the purpose of the conference. If possible, also have the conference information translated into Spanish when it’s sent home.
During the conference itself, consider having an interpreter there. The parent leaders’ website, PTO, suggests hiring a professional interpreter. Educational jargon can sometimes be difficult to interpret and could get misconstrued, so basically an interpreter ensures that none of the communication during the meeting gets lost.
Teacher Vision also says to be sure to not overload the parents with too many concerns or problem areas. Usually two or three issues are plenty. Any more than that could make parents feel that their child is already not doing well. Also, ask the parents to bring in any questions and concerns that they have as well.
To make parents feel as comfortable as possible, consider conducting the conference at a table versus your desk. Considered a type of “power furniture,” Teacher Vision states that having it at your desk could make parents clam up when talking to you.
A successful conference can be a real win-win for everyone involved. The article “Speaking Their Language” on the Scholastic website states that for many Spanish-speaking parents, the benefits of effective parent-teacher communications have empowered them to get their GEDs, become more involved in the community or to join their local board of education. In essence, a teacher’s efforts with Latino parents can have a direct and lasting effect for the whole family.
Finding educational programs that support ELL students’ first language, such as The Latino Family Literacy Project, can make an enormous difference on their overall academic and language acquisition success.