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Do's and Don'ts for Home Visits

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  • Define a goal for your visit--to say a friendly hello, get acquainted, leave information, discuss a problem, or a combination of these.
  • Listen carefully, no matter what else is on your agenda. Ask whether there are any questions.
  • Try to bring a translator if you can't speak the family's language, but don't abandon the idea of a visit because a translator is unavailable.
  • Consider alerting the family to your visit--by telephone, note home, or postcard. Don't limit yourself, however, to prearranged visits only.
  • Bring a token of the school or a talking point--a book to share, information about the school, a picture of your own family.
  • Set a reasonable length of time for the visit. Twenty minutes or less can be adequate, but some visits run an hour if you let them.
  • Plan for at least some late-afternoon or evening visits.
  • Don't pay much attention to the physical surroundings.
  • Don't require parents or guardians to read or fill out anything in your presence. (Their literacy may be poor.)
  • Don't go alone if you are hesitant about your safety or ability to surmount cultural barriers.
  • Don't take offense if a family is not home for an appointment. Try to renew the contact.

Vol. 17, Issue 1

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