This means learning about students' family lives — "family makeup, immigration history, language use, mobility, educational history, child-rearing philosophy and practices, major activities, labor history, [and] skills and knowledge used regularly" (p.81) — and students' social lives — "use of leisure time, favorite activities, language use, what students excel at, interests, hobbies, [and] concerns" (Villegas & Lucas, 2002, p. 81). Below, you'll find a sample list of questions to guide your efforts to learn about students' family lives and social lives.
Learning about Students' Family Lives - Sample Questions
- Who constitutes the student's family?
- Has the family immigrated to this country? If so, from where and how long ago?
- What language(s) is/are spoken in the home? How proficient are adults in English?
- Has the student's family moved frequently in the past few years?
- What is the educational history of family members?
- What is the child-rearing philosophy that prevails in the household? Who in the family has major responsibility for child-rearing? To what extent are older children involved in the upbringing of younger siblings? How much autonomy and self-determiniation do children have in their own upbringing?
- What are the student's responsibilities in the family?
- What are the major family activities?
- What are the aspirations for children in the family?
- What is the labor history of family members?
- What skills, abilities, and types of knowledge are regularlly used in the family?
Learning about Students' Social Lives - Sample Questions
- How do students spend their leisure time?
- What are students' favorite activities?
- Are these activities organized along competitive or cooperative lines?
- What language(s) do students use with friends?
- What do students excel at?
- Do students belong to community groups such as basketball teams or church choirs?
- What are students' interests and hobbies?
- What are the main concerns in students' lives?
- Who do students look up to in the community?