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Language 

INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY CAN LEAD TO PARENT-EDUCATOR PARTNERSHIP CHALLENGES

In the case of Arno, it is demonstrated that it can be hard to communicate without speaking the same language. Therefore, it is important to appropriately address misunderstandings caused by language barriers, cultural influences on language or failure in communication.  For example, if a child is trying to convey to an educator that she would like an item that is out of reach and the educator is unable to understand, the child may end up feeling confused and frustrated. Arno may feel exclusion from the children, as he is unable to use verbal communication to interact (Harris, 1969). 

Gestures that are understood by most cultures will help the child to understand the connected words, e.g. hand holding an imaginary bottle for “drinking”, open hand moved in a slight upwards arc towards the own body for “come”, etc. Repeating key words while making these gestures or hand signs makes it easier for a child to remember the words and their meaning. The use of visual aids is helpful too. It is important to decide the language of the school for instance; American or British English. Using the same terms for routines generally works well, e.g. snack time, lunch time, relaxation time, etc.

In Arno’s case, his family also doesn’t understand the language, and this can be tricky. The educators can suggest that a family friend help with communication or ask for another parents or teacher to help communicate with Arno’s family about what is happening and what they are doing to help him learn how to communication and understand. They can show and give the materials they use for Arno in the classroom to the parents, perhaps using pictures and labelling the pictures with words in English. If possible, the educators can ask Arno’s parents for a list of phrases and words in their native tongue that would help them to communicate with him.