Sensitivity Vs Insensitivity

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The teacher is speaking to a group of parents, many of whom are English language learners. Many of the parents also work outside the home, most likely during school hours. Both of these factors make communication between the teacher and parents more difficult. However, this particular teacher strives to be sensitive to the needs of her students’ parents. She invites translators to the Back-to-School Night so that she and the parents may better communicate. She also provides step-by-step instructions for accessing the school’s website for those who are not familiar with the internet. Finally, she mentions that she plans to stay at school until 8 p.m. once each week to meet with any parent who might not be able to come see her during school hours and provides each parent with a calendar showing which days she will be staying late. By having translators at the meeting, the teacher not only increases her ability to communicate with non-English speaking parents, but she helps to make those parents feel more comfortable and included as well. A study conducted in 1996 showed that as non-native speakers of English, they [Hispanics] had difficulty understanding what teachers and school officials wanted of them. Through the use of translators, both the teacher and the parents can leave the Back-to-School Night knowing exactly what is expected of them and needed by them. Providing step-by-step instructions to access the school’s website and send the teacher email also has the potential to prove beneficial for the parents. Some of the parents might not even be aware that the school has a website or that they could contact the teacher by email. Others might have been too embarrassed to ask how to access the website or email the teacher. By not only providing them with that information but explaining step-by-step how to access it as well, the teacher created an

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