ERIC Number: EJ1163967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Developing Relationships with Immigrant Families: Learning by Asking the Right Questions
Francis, Grace L.; Haines, Shana J.; Nagro, Sarah A.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v50 n2 p95-105 Nov-Dec 2017
Families immigrate to the United States for numerous reasons, including placement by a refugee resettlement agency because of an unsafe country of origin, religious or ethnic persecution, or financial and educational opportunities. Differing cultures and reasons for immigration (e.g., asylum vs. education) result in great variability among immigrant families that may influence the ways in which educators and families interact (Elizalde-Utnick, 2010). Further, the length of time that it takes for immigrants to understand and participate comfortably in the American school system varies for multiple reasons, including contact with other cultures, desire for cultural maintenance, ethnic relations in the community, and attitudes among immigrants about acculturation (Berry, 2005). Despite these differences, all immigrants share the experience of learning a new educational system. The authors gathered information from multiple sources--including educational and social service literature focused on immigrant and culturally and linguistically diverse families, organizations that serve immigrant populations, and research on qualitative methods for interviewing immigrant families--to offer strategies that educators can use to begin to build trusting relationships with families who have immigrated to the United States with school-age children, particularly those with disabilities. Educators can use this information to influence the ways in which they support, communicate, and interact with families. Strategies are described to help educators build relationships with immigrant families with school-age children by learning more about the family and its cultural background.
Descriptors: Immigrants, Family School Relationship, Cultural Differences, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Disabilities, Interpersonal Communication, Interaction, Trust (Psychology), Cultural Awareness, Translation, Family Needs, Questioning Techniques, Teacher Role, Refugees
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