Family Language Plan

23Nov11

Even though most of my job is direct student contact time with EAL students, that is not where all the learning happens.  Some of my most important, most powerful teaching  happens when I meet & consult with PARENTS.  I meet with parents often..informally almost daily, and formally for consults about once a fortnight.  The parents just seek me out and corner me and ask me really hard questions about what they should do with THEIR children!  Parents seek educated understandings to surround best practice and partnerships between teacher & parent.  Parents want the best for their children and want to participate.  I love my job.

It just so happens this afternoon, I sat down with a parent to talk about her “Home Language Plan”, and the multi-language-literacy goals she envisions for her children.  She herself has two mother tongues (Spanish-English), her husband speaks German, and the language they speak to each other is English.  However, each parent speaks their mother tongues to their children.  (Children speak Spanish with mom, German with dad, and learn English at school.)  This is a lot to juggle.   This  parent wanted to meet to “check her plan out” with me to see if she was on the right track (which she was) and to gain strategies to support their mother tongues.

You see, our EAL team has pushed for years to educate parents that speaking their strongest language and mother tongue is a value, an asset to our International community.  And now?  The tables have turned and all of the EAL team’s hard work has paid off, because, parents now seek us out to refine their own strategies to improve their child’s multilingual potential.  I wonder what other schools do to help parents understand the value of the parents speaking to their young children in their native tongue?

Parent + Teacher + Research & Education = long time benefits.  Good teamwork.  We are so much better together.

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