English-Language Learners

Union Guide Offers Tips on Outreach

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 26, 2005 1 min read

The American Federation of Teachers has teamed up with a Washington-area public-broadcasting station, WETA, to produce free Web resources for teachers about English-language learners.

The online primer, posted at www.colorincolorado.org, gives tips on how to welcome English-language learners and reach out to parents. When communicating with a student’s parents who don’t speak much English, for example, it recommends that teachers find a bilingual adult to provide interpretation rather than the student. Using children as interpreters can cause parents to feel powerless, the Web site says.

The site also summarizes the obligations of schools under federal law to serve the needs of English-language learners, such as testing children on their proficiency in English. In addition to the section for educators, the ¡Colorín colorado! site provides suggestions in both Spanish and English for parents on how to help their children learn to read. ¡Colorín colorado! is the Spanish equivalent of “and they lived happily ever after.”

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