Explaining Classroom Expectations to a Student

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"Despite language barriers, staff could understand students’ behavior and students could understand what was expected of them in the classroom."

A staff member at an elementary school needed help communicating with a Swahili-speaking newcomer student who had been running out of the classroom without permission. The staff member did not understand why, and was unable to inquire further because of the language barrier. Instead, the staff member turned to a Tarjimly volunteer for assistance. The volunteer helped interpret the conversation between the staff member and the child. The young student explained that they wanted to sit in front of the class but the teacher had wanted them to sit in the back. The staff member explained that the student was moved to the back because they were running around with friends and not paying attention in class. The volunteer helped interpret this message and clarify behavioral expectations to the newly arrived child. The student understood and promised to be more disciplined. Thanks to a Tarjimly interpreter, school staff explained classroom expectations and rules to the LEP student, and teachers were able to understand important context around the child’s behavior. Despite language barriers, staff were able to understand the student’s motivations, responding in an understanding manner, and the student was able to understand what was expected of them in the classroom.


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This isn't the story of one doctor or one refugee. Thousands of vulnerable individuals and families are left without care due to language barriers. When an aid worker's lack of ability to communicate hinders their ability to accommodate and assist refugees, an organization's ability to impact real change is limited. Tarjimly is here to bridge that divide, and to provide on-demand translation services for aid workers, whenever and where ever they may be.