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  1. Answers to the Common Teacher Behaviors Questions
  2. Making Your First Home Visit: A Guide for Classroom Teachers
  3. A reproducible copy of Figure 7.7.
  4. A copy of Figure 7.7 without the criteria inserted in order to support the gradual release of responsibility in lesson planning for teachers.

Appendix A. Answers to the Common Teacher Behaviors Questions

Behavior Might be misunderstood Cultural group(s) that might misunderstand
Sitting with your shoe pointed or shoe sole turned toward your students. X Offensive to Arab/Muslim students.
Making the okay sign with your thumb and first finger X Brazilians, Germans, Russians, and Greeks may consider this vulgar, and French students may think you are telling them “nothing.”
Telling your class to take a bathroom break X Any ELL may have trouble with this because they understand that you are telling them to bathe—use the word toilet if that’s what you mean.
Shaking hands with a parent X In many Arab and/or Muslim cultures, it is inappropriate to touch people of the opposite gender. Check if it is okay before you extend your hand and obligate the parent to respond.
Waving with your whole hand X In many cultures, this means no.
Touching a student on the head, giving a high-five, or patting a student on the back X Indian, Japanese, and other students; particulary Thai for head patting.
Wave a student over by using one finger. X Most Asian students consider this rude and understand that you are angry.
Taking a student’s photograph X Many native cultures around the world believe that this steals the subject’s soul.

Sources: Axtell, R. (Ed.) (1993). Do’s and Taboos Around the World. New York: John Wiley & Sons; Teacher Taboos, EnglishClub.com, available at http://www.englishclub.com/teaching-tips/teacher-taboos.htm

Appendix B.
Making Your First Home Visit:
A Guide for Classroom Teachers

A home visit program can show that the teachers, principal, and school staff are willing to “go more than halfway” to involve all parents in their children’s education. Home visits help teachers demonstrate their interest in students’ families and understand their students better by seeing them in their home environment.

These visits should not replace parent-teacher conferences or be used to discuss children’s progress. When done early, before any school problems can arise, they avoid putting any parents on the defensive and signal that teachers are eager to work with all parents. Teachers who have made home visits say that they build stronger relationships with parents and their children, and improve attendance and achievement.


  1. If possible, find someone who speaks the home language to schedule the visit. You can also talk with an older sibling who is fairly proficient in English or a district translator or home outreach liaison.
  2. You can follow up with a brief written note, with the exact date and time, preferably written in the family language.
  3. Schedule a home visit a week to 10 days in advance. Be sure to communicate the purpose of your visit and approximately how long the visit will last (30 to 45 minutes).
  4. Ask another adult to accompany you to the first home visit, preferably someone who speaks the language of the family or a teacher of a sibling.
  5. Learn a few words of the first language, even if it’s only hello or thank you. This shows you care enough to make the effort and may help break the ice.
  6. Learn the names of family members.
  7. Be on time. While some cultures do not mind a late arrival, this is not true for all.
  8. Some parents may be familiar and comfortable with home visits, having experienced them in their countries of origin. Some may not be familiar or comfortable with the idea.
  9. If parents have difficulty scheduling a time to meet with you, be aware that some parents work two or more jobs in order to provide for their families.
  10. Begin making home visits prior to the start date of school. This may help to lower the anxiety level of your ELL students and will help you become aware of your students’ English language proficiency levels.
  11. Dress appropriately.
  12. To gain the most benefit from a family visit experience, consider the following:
    1. Concerning the children, parents and family members are experts.
    2. Personal sharing may be appropriate at times.
    3. Observing and listening can lead to insights, as well as asking and answering questions.


  1. Be aware of (look for) cultural expectations in the home. For example, in some cultures it is expected that people entering the home remove their shoes and walk about the home in socks or in special footwear provided by the host.
  2. If you’re nervous, remember: The family you are visiting is also probably nervous.
  3. Remember that in many cultures, teachers are more highly respected than they are in the United States. It is a significant event to host a teacher at home.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look foolish or silly while trying to bridge the language gap. Try drawing pictures or acting out what you mean.
  5. Make eye contact as appropriate for the cultural background of the host family.
  6. Do not take notes or record your conversation with the family. This can be perceived as rude or threatening.
  7. Conversation starters: (a) How are schools in _______ (country of origin)? (b) Please tell me about _______ (siblings or other family members). Can you talk about your home town? While you want to do more listening than talking, you can also talk about how school works in the United States, your classrooms curriculum, or teacher expectations, among other topics.
  8. Do not talk about negative topics.
  9. Understand that some parts of the home are “public spaces,” while others may be private. After all, do you want strangers wandering around your bedroom?
  10. Don’t impose your own values on what you see in the home. Try to view the host home through the lens of those living there. What do they see? How do they view their home?


  1. Lay the groundwork for future visits and/or other types of contact.
  2. Provide information so that parents can contact you, if desired.

Post Visit:

  1. Take a few moments away from the student’s home to write down a quick summary of the visit.

Prepared by Gisela Ernst-Slavit & Michele Mason and used with permission.

Appendix C. A Reproducible Copy of Figure 7.7.

MY LESSON TOPIC: __________________________________________________________

Lesson Component Criteria Element Implementation
  • Tied to standards
  • Tied to content objectives
  • Based on student needs
  • Measurable
  • Presented to students
  • Based on student interests, needs, backgrounds, abilities
  • Tie current topic and tasks to past lessons
  • Tie current topic to personal lives
  • Tie lesson tasks to personal lives
  • Assessed for relevancy, accuracy with students
  • Address both content and language objectives
  • Engaging
  • Authentic
  • Relevant
  • Multimodal
  • Explicit and implicit
  • Break language down as necessary
  • Culturally responsive
  • Learner-centered and/or produced
  • Focus on process and product
  • Provide students with reasons to listen
Instructional groupings
Task structure
Time and pacing
Teacher/student roles
Procedural tools
  • Ongoing
  • Authentic
  • Multiple measures
  • Provides practice and review
  • Transparent to all participants
  • Relevant, engaging, and interactive

Appendix D. A Reproducible Copy of Figure 7.7 without Criteria

My Lesson Topic: ______________________________________________________________

Lesson Component Element Implementation
Objectives Language
Connections Personal
Tasks Instructional groupings
Task structure
Time and pacing
Teacher/student roles
Procedural tools
Assessment Traditional


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