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Using Technology to Enhance EL Family Engagement

The Challenge 

Partnering with families is a critical part of ensuring a high quality educational experience for all students. Research shows that students are more successful in school when their families are involved in their education. But without adequate structures and effective tools in place, traditional family engagement initiatives often fall short of truly involving families - particularly when language barriers are present.

At school, the combination of packed teacher schedules, large class sizes, and language barriers can create significant obstacles in implementing effective and sustainable family engagement strategies. At home, families have a variety of perceptions about how, when, or if they should be involved in their childrens’ education. For parents with limited education or those that attended school in another country, there may also be significant cultural and linguistic differences that school staff must understand.

Access Matters

We discuss these issues with Heejae Lim, founder and Executive Director of Talking Points on Highest Aspirations, our weekly podcast. Talking Points is an educational technology company whose mission is to drive student success in low-income, diverse areas through building strong partnerships across parents, schools, and communities. Heejae points to the use of text messages as one way to enhance communication between educators and families.

Listen and Learn

  • Hear about strategies to break down the barriers to family engagement - particularly in underserved communities.
  • Learn how using widely available mobile technology like text messages can help educators better engage with families of English learners.
  • Change mindsets and perceptions of families who may not have had positive experiences with formal education or those who have limited education in US schools.

Engage More Deeply

  • Listen to our full conversation with Heejae Lim on Highest Aspirations
  • Read a full transcription of our conversation. 
  • Rate and review the Highest Aspirations podcast on iTunes.
  • Share your ideas about family engagement by leaving a comment below.

Over 50 episodes from three seasons of Highest Aspirations are available free wherever you listen to podcasts. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode!