ELL students

Language barriers still impede home-school communication

ELL students are a significant part of the student population, but many schools don't translate communications

Just a little more than half (55 percent) of teachers in a recent survey say their schools translate parent correspondence into other languages, despite federal data showing that almost 5 million U.S. students are English language learners (ELL).

The survey from communication app ClassDojo highlights the communication challenges teachers and families face each day due to language barriers. Of the teachers who say their school does translate communications, 36 percent say they rely on a teacher who speaks the language to do it, and 16 percent use a professional translation service.

Close to 10 percent of the overall student population speaks English as a second language, and 28 percent of surveyed teachers say their school does not translate parent communications at all.

Seventy-one percent of teachers surveyed say they’ve taught children who speak English as a second language in the past three years. More than half of teachers surveyed (56 percent) say they worry that parents whose native language isn’t English  aren’t able to fully engage with school life–not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t have sufficient English language skills to be able to do so.

Laura Ascione
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