ESL Parent Support
ESL parent support can be a vital tool for managing your class. Perhaps you have a student who is shining in the classroom or maybe a student who is doing somewhat the opposite—it’s always nice to have parental support in the classroom.
Parents love to know what their children are doing in the classroom and are also privy to help when things are going awry. Here are some ways to get parents involved in the classroom to offer some support.
1. Schedule a showcase
Showcases can be a great way to bring the whole class and family together at one time to show off how great your students are doing. Check out my article about different showcase ideas here. Be sure to schedule some time in between showtimes to mingle with your students’ parents about their children.
They will love to see their children perform, talk to you, and connect with the other teachers and parents during this social gathering.
2. Send newsletters home
These can be as small or as large as you want. A weekly newsletter to a monthly newsletter on what your students are doing in the classroom is a great way for parents to catch a glimpse inside your class. They will not only appreciate the update, but they can practice and review with your students at home!
3. Write small letters in books
Kids love the positive reinforcement of writing small letters in their communication books or storybooks home. If the student has exceeded expectations or failed to meet expectations, this can be a great way to get in touch with parents about it.
Remember to use the compliment sandwich if you have a suggestion to better your student! Mention something the student has done well, something they can improve on, and one more area the student has excelled in.
Connect why addressing the area of concern will help the student and the class overall and mention what you can do to help.
4. Write progress letters every quarter
Along the same vein as small letters in the students’ books, writing a longer letter of progress every quarter or semester is a great way to stay in touch with parents as well. Some schools do not have parent/teacher functions—the parents might not speak English so well either.
Writing a slightly longer progress letter and getting help from your co-teacher in translations can be a great, personalized way to keep in contact and build a relationship outside the classroom.
5. Make some art
Students love creating crafty masterpieces and always want to take them home to show off to their parents. Have your students create posters, letters, books, and various other arts and crafts to give the households a constant reminder of how well they are studying and how creative they can be!
6. Call on the telephone
Some schools are notorious for ‘telephone tests’. These can be taxing and they are usually done by co-teachers, but there can be fun telephone calls as well. Maybe you taught your class an introductory sentence pattern for telling you how they feel about a certain movie.
Why not call them up and ask them about the latest film? Their parents will hear them speaking in English on the phone and your student will shine telling them about their conversation with you! Also, if you have any compliments or constructive criticisms, the telephone can be a nice way to convey the message!
In one of my classes, we were reading a book about saving the earth. I gave my students a weekly ‘green’ challenge to complete for points. Students would collect bottles to recycle, replace their paper towels with cloth ones, or ride their bikes to school one day.
Parents can help out with these challenges as well! You can write home as to why you are doing the challenge or tell your students to recite a fact about saving the earth while they complete their challenge every week. It’s a great way to bring out the competitive spirit in supporting the classroom at home!
8. Holiday Party
Encourage a small gathering for a holiday get-together in your classroom for a day. Get those families cooking traditional meals and feast during class! Give the whole family a lesson on the holiday in English and encourage everyone to play games and have fun!
It’s always a better learning environment when everyone participates. Whether it’s because your students are exceptionally talented or maybe hitting a rough patch, these ideas are sure to be a hit to encourage parental support in the classroom.