Education and communication are an essential part of everyone’s life. Regardless of what language you speak, people need to be able to express their thoughts, needs, gratitude and demand. If a child faces poor communication in school on a daily basis, the changes of that child receiving a quality education deteriorates significantly. This is why, when it comes to the language aspect of it should not be a barrier. Hence, comes the importance of interpreting in education.
Today, classrooms in America are very culturally diverse, so it isn’t uncommon for there to be a handful of children who cannot understand or speak English, so incorporating professional interpreters into the educational system is crucial to ensure that all students have equal access to the same education.
Educational Interpreter’s Role
An educational interpreter is the person who will help children adapt to the school process and who will assist their family when dealing with teachers or other school authorities. However, this role can be challenging since at this age, a child’s cognitive development, critical thinking and emotional control is still evolving. Because of this, these educational interpreters have to understand how to work with a child’s emotional content and know when to intervene if the student needs clarification and information that will ensure the child understands the interpreting encounter. The most important job for an educational interpreter is to ensure the child understands and comprehends the information being given to them by the instructor team. If they do this, the child will have the best educational experience regardless of the language barrier they have.
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Children
When dealing with an LEP student or parents, educational interpreters are included in parent/teacher conferences, school board meetings, disciplinary health meetings, meetings with social workers and counselors, or to just review educational plans for the child. During any of these instances, the interpreter facilitates communication between both parties to ensure that both sides fully understand the information being provided. This also helps the parents stay involved with their child’s educational needs. By having an interpreter, they will make make sure information is being accurately interpreted as well as any strategies and development plans that may need to be put in place when teaching an LEP child.
When working with a Deaf child, this is a full time job for an interpreter. Typically, an interpreter will be hired to take on a teaching role within the classroom that the Deaf child is in. From there, the child, their family and the school’s faculty heavily depend on this interpreter to teach the child. Their job is to enable the child to access the general curriculum that is being taught in the classroom through sign language interpretation. However, their job is not only to help teach a child. The interpreter can also help with facilitating communication between Deaf and hearing children, which helps with social interaction and development. By having a consistent present in the classroom, the interpreter can provide a Deaf child with the tools they need to receive an education in a language they can understand.
A child’s education is extremely important, which means all members of a child’s educational team need to work together to provide the best learning opportunities, regardless if the child lacks of English proficiency or if the child is Deaf. By implementing the use of an interpreter, the child will be able to learn and understand their education. This type of process takes a professional interpreter, one with training in the educational setting to handle this unique and rewarding work.