RE: Memo Assignment ù ESL 7502
SUBJECT: Strategies to Achieve Parental Participation
Non-English-speaking elementary-school children face a daunting task in efforts to learn English. The learning and teaching problems are further exacerbated by the No Child Left Behind Act because of the heavy reliance on standardized testing for school and student performance evaluation.
A key component of successful English As A Second Language (ESL) programs is the active participation of the parents of the students in such programs. To gain insights for use in the development of effective strategies to achieve active parental participation, a parent of a child recently arrived from Puerto Rico who is attending elementary school in a small city in the State of New York was interviewed. This memorandum summarizes what was learned through the conduct of this interview, together with information gleaned from journal articles reviewed in preparation for the conduct of the interview.
A salient point that emerged during the conduct of the interview concerned the difficulties that confront parents of ESL students with respect to finding the time to come to the school and participate in their child's ESL instruction. This point is both valid and important. Because research has validated the importance of parental involvement to student success in ESL programs, schools must find ways to facilitate parental involvement.
A second important point that emerged during the conduct of the interview was that parents whose own English language skills are limited feel that they cannot participate effectively in the ESL learning process in which their child is participating. In fact, however, research has found that such participation is beneficial for both the ESL student and the parent with limited English language proficiency (LEP). Thus, schools must develop initiatives to persuade parents of the value of their participation.
It is re...