In our increasingly diverse world, it’s more than likely that you will encounter an English language learner (ELL) child at some point as a caregiver or teacher. These children have their own wonderfully unique set of skills, needs, and challenges. As ELLs, they benefit from their parents’ involvement in their education just as much as any student. However, it’s likely that parents speak little or no English. Aside from the challenges, this can create for the child who is adjusting to life in an English-speaking school or care facility; this can be a significant barrier between the educator and the parent. But despite this language barrier, there are ways to communicate effectively with ELL parents and help them play a part in their child’s educational journey:
- When possible, use their preferred language. For in-person communications, this could mean finding an interpreter (whether that be a hired person or a volunteer who has proficiency in that language) or learning a bit of the language yourself. For written communications, use simple language that is easily translated by you or the parents.
- Use Go2s to share updates. The beauty of a digital communication tool like Go2s is that you don’t have to use words to get your point across. Go2s is the perfect place to share visual updates with ELL parents. You can share videos of a class activity, pictures of a student’s graded assignment or creative project – the possibilities are endless. And, the parents can respond to the content with emojis that convey how they feel about the update. Perhaps best of all, everyone can relax knowing that the Go2s platform rests on a deep foundation of trust, meaning all user data and content is truly private. Trust is especially important when the shared content contains information about children.
- Welcome parents into your community. Invite the parents to take a tour of the school. Or, organize a culture night or career day in your classroom to involve the parents in the child’s education. Though the parent may not speak a language that the whole class can understand, they can still participate through demonstrations, preparing food, creative activities, playing music, and more. A translator could be brought to the event to foster oral communication. Or, the child could have a unique opportunity to show leadership by translating for their parent(s) and classmates.
Language barriers can be daunting, but there is always a way to form a connection when words fail. We are all humans walking the same earth, and we must remember that when we encounter communication challenges. Go2s is a great tool to strengthen connections and create a stronger community, even if speaking proves to be a challenge. With its many communication functions and focus on privacy, it’s the perfect platform to use when contacting a child’s parents.