Why Didn't They Show Up? Rethinking ESL Parent Involvement in K-12 Education

  • Yan Guo
Keywords: Language education


When I visited Canadian elementary and secondary schools over the past 10 years, many teachers told me that it was difficult to get English-as-a-second language (ESL) parents involved in K-12 education. I was often asked by teachers, "Why don't they show up at school?" The absence of ESL parents from school is often misinterpreted as parents' lack of concern about their children's education. However, many ESL parents indicated that they cared passionately. Instead of assuming that ESL parents do not care, educators need to understand the barriers that hinder some parents from participating in their children's education. This article explores the barriers affecting ESL parent-teacher communication based on relevant literature and the author's reflections. It goes on to identify parents' and teachers' varying perspectives on ESL learning, followed by indication of successful strategies to improve ESL parents' participation. The article concludes that schools and teachers must take the initiative itthe resource of ESL parent participation is to be fully utilized.
How to Cite
Guo, Y. (2006). Why Didn’t They Show Up? Rethinking ESL Parent Involvement in K-12 Education. TESL Canada Journal, 24(1), 80 - 95. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v24i1.29