In the homes of English learners there is “an abundance of resources” according to Dr. Luis Moll of Arizona State University, so every year teachers visit homes of ELLs to learn about their histories, daily life, and experiences. If you are planning home visits this fall, consider the following tips from TESOL and BRYCS, and check out our other posts this week.
Having an open mind is key to a successful home visit according to Stephanie Wessels in “Home Visits: Connecting with Diverse Families,” an article in the June 2014 TESOL Connections. She offers this advice for preparing for the business and fun of visiting culturally and linguistically diverse families in their homes:
- Reflect on your own cultural heritage and knowledge.
- Recognize that cultural differences represent an inherent strength of the family, not a deficiency.
- Recognize that conversation about education is likely based on diverse expectations.
The diverse expectations Wessels refers to can be explored with questions recommended in the BRYCS presentation we introduced last week (See slide 32.). Originally recommended for parent-teacher conferences, these questions would work well in the home visit setting too:
- Describe schools in your country.
- What are the differences between those schools and schools in the U.S.?
- How do parents help teachers in your country?
- How can schools help your children?
- What are your dreams for your children?
In addition to the report Involving Refugee Parents in their Children’s Education we mentioned last week, at the bottom of their Schools page, BRYCS provides a list of commonly recommended resources for schools serving ELLs. Among them are Multilingual School-Related Resources for Refugee Families and Immigrant/Refugee Awareness Instructional Materials.
What questions do you ask when you visit the homes of ELLs?