Transcript for recognise the role of the family - examples from schools

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Voice over - Families as the first continuing educators of their children assist and encourage their children’s learning in and out of school and support school goals, direction, ethos.

Managing Director, Identity Communications

Understanding a person also involves understanding their background, where they come from. Because that is the baggage or that is the experience that they take with them when they come to a new country.

Voice over - Parents or carers are the first educators for their children, and this continues. From the day a child is born, they are the ones who assist and encourage their child’s learning in and out of school.

School principal

How often do we look at the educational levels of our parents and someone who is perhaps highly educated and perhaps who has had very limited educational background. What influences does that bring to their thinking and way of acting for those parents and those communities and how do we engage them in a different way to perhaps those who are as well educated.

And so coming from that mind set when we have look at diversity at Liverpool Public School I can take you through this idea in the sense that we have lots of Arabic speakers but out of those Arabic speakers we have a range of countries they have been born in. So what I have done in red is that I’ve highlighted one particular student. An Arabic speaking student from Iraq from a Christian background who’s come to Australia as a refugee and whose parents hold bachelor degrees. How you go about engaging that particular parent and that child’s family is going to be very different than an Arabic speaking student who has come from the USA, say, who might be a Muslim student who has come on a skilled visa and the parent may be bachelor as well.  As one has come here by choice, one has come here out of necessity and when you begin to play around and looking at all the different profiles of students in your community you begin to realise then that actually his idea of engaging a culture or engaging an ethnically diverse part of your community is perhaps missing the mark and not really what is going to create that authentic engagement. They may participate, the may come along but are you really going to build something that is going to support that particular student’s learning needs, because ultimately as professionals we look at every student as an individual when we talk about academic learning.  We need to do the same thing when we are talking about engaging their parents and engaging them in the community.

Voice over - Farida Tokhi came to Australia from Afghanistan.  Her children study at Holroyd. She feels confident to talk to teachers and staff about her children’s learning.

Parent one

If there is any issue to discuss with the teachers of my daughters in Holroyd School, I can call the school and organise an appointment and the staff of the school, the CLOs (Community Liaison Officers), they are trying to make an appointment as soon as possible. And I can see the teachers and can discuss the issue with them and if there is any other issue to talk to the principal or deputy principal there is also the possibility for me to see them.

Parent two

Honglai Zhu parent, originally from China.  There’s a P & C meeting, (Parents and Citizens) meeting with parent community so each class has a class parent that volunteer for class parent so they can organise all the activities for all the parents.  So first year my son entered the school at kindy so I volunteer for class parent so I can get involved, can get to know as many as I can know, the parents. So we organise the dinners, play dates and anything you can imagine.  So it’s very helpful and the school has a ESL program and they test my son English but he pass so he surprised me, he is faster than me so he is correcting my English now.

School principal

What we do do is not because you are from one part of the world, or because you speak a particular language, it’s about us all coming together and realising we’re there for the student, that each student is an individual and that by learning about each other, learning about our needs, our wants, our hopes, together we can make that work.

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