Engaging the Families of ELL Students

Throughout the world, parents, in general, want their children to have a better life than they themselves have had. They want to know that their children have an equal opportunity to benefit from the knowledge that is available to the world. They want to be able to trust the school to which they entrust their children daily, and know that the school will provide the safety, guidance, and materials needed for the child to achieve a quality education: so that the child can succeed in the real world.

It is difficult for parents to “monitor” many of the child’s daily learning activities at school, so there is naturally anxiety and concern about whether the child is getting what she will truly need. From a parental perspective, there is also always going to be concern about “value”: “Is my child getting the best possible education?” Might this concern be even greater for the parents of English Language Learners (ELLs)?

For ELL students and their families, it can seem as if they live in two separate worlds, one at home and at school (Freeman and Freeman, 2001). Yet learning English has immediate outward evidence in the everyday life of an ELL student. When parents and guardians have opportunity to see that the language learning results are tangibly evident, they become more supportive of the teachers who are helping their children develop in the language.

Bridging the Gap Between School and Home for the ELL Student

One of the greatest benefits of the unique environment of GrapeSEED is the extension learning that can be done at home. Parents see their child watching the DVDs at home or listening to the CDs while in the car, perhaps. They see their child’s appetite for knowledge be met with all the materials needed to grow in proficiency at her own rate. The results can be seen and experienced daily by the whole family (especially when they all sing the songs together)!

Proficiency in the English language can only come through a lot of practice; and much of that practice (keeping in mind a certain amount of exposures is essential) will take place in a home setting using the student materials designed for that purpose. Yet the design of the curriculum is meant to be “parent friendly” in its “edutainment” value, variety of content, and ease of use.

The more the parent participates – if only in emotional support and encouragement – the more secure the child feels about participating. The more secure the child, the more she will take advantage of the materials available and the more she will interact with her teacher. The gap between the two worlds of home and school begins to close – and that can only be good for the success of the ELL student in English.

More than 50 years of experience in school/parent/child relationships has been integrated into GrapeSEED. To learn more, please Contact us!