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January 28, 2011 Getting the Most from our Work with Interpreters Lionel Blatchley, Ph.D. Marilyn Leifgren, Ed.S. MSPA Midwinter Conference 2011
Kao Her, Special Education Interpreter, Saint Paul Public Schools Vivian Lezcano-Lytle, Bilingual Academic Assessor, Independent Consultant and Immersion Teacher, Wayzetta Public Schools Elizabeth Watkins, Minnesota Department of Education Special Education Policy Division Additional Resources
1. Conferences and meetings 2. Q & A 3. Assessments 4. Q & A 5. MDE News 6. Video AGENDA
About 124 different languages are spoken in MN There is a shortage of bilingual school personnel as ELL students steadily increase. IDEA (2004) calls for the provision of services in the student's primary language. NCLB (2001) requires all students to receive appropriate academic instruction leading to proficiency in English language arts. Collaborating with interpreters is an essential strategy for effective academic and mental health services for ELLs and their families. Fun facts
Interpreting: oral transmission of a message from L1 to L2 and vice versa Styles: consecutive, simultaneous, whispered Translation: written transmission of a message from L1 to L2 and vice versa Styles: sight, prepared Cultural Liaison: one who translates between the culture of school and that of the family Definitions
Facilitate communication between school staff and families/students: parent interview Provide information about special education to families Provide information to school staff about student's background and family view of the student Provide cultural information to staff and families that may impact interactions, evaluation, or educational planning Role of Interpreters in Special Ed
Interventions Interviews with students and families Parent conferences/due process meetings Assessments Oral/written translation of information Parent education Role in Special Ed continued
High degree of oral and written proficiency in both L1 and L2 Ability to convey meaning from one language to the other/lack of direct translation Ability to understand and adjust to the speaker's role and background Ability to adjust to linguistic variations within different communities; synthesize verbal and nonverbal communication in two languages Skills Needed by I/Ts
Ability to manage complexity of messages and personalities Knowledge about the culture of the people involved, establishing trust Familiarity with specific procedures and vocabulary used in the educational field Ability to control the pace of communication and sometimes the sequence of messages Understanding the function and role of the I/T Openness to continuous improvement and learning I/T Skills Continued
Asking bilingual individuals who lack training as interpreters should be avoided Asking bilingual staff who will be serving in another role with the parent can present difficulties Districts should establish full or part time positions to insure continuity and quality Avoid using neighbors, relatives, siblings, etc. Seek candidates with strong educational backgrounds Districts need to provide supervisory support Recruitment of I/Ts
Flexibility Empathy with others, but ability to maintain neutrality Honesty Interest in improving skills Respecting timelines Providing accurate interpretations Keeping all information confidential Important characteristics of I/Ts
Participate in the selection of I/Ts Identify training needs of staff and I/Ts Work together on improving service to students and families Review policies, procedures, and terminology Update community and district informational resources, publicity, etc. Support I/Ts as integral members of the team Responsibilities of school psychs
Essential to develop a collaborative relationship between team member and the I/T Two factors: Environment and three basic steps: (briefing, interaction, and debriefing) BID Two scenarios: Conferences and Assessment Environment for conferences to gather or share information: Comfortable and non-threatening as possible Talk to the parent directly, not the I/T All members of the team pay close attention Preparation
Conferences: review the purpose and format of the meeting Review special terminology and acronyms Preview materials, documents being presented Plan to address issues in simple language Ask questions about culture/language that may impact the interaction Discuss alternative scenarios and strategies Discuss questions, concerns of the I/T Briefing
Team leader introduces all persons and explains their roles in relation to the student and purpose of the meeting Team members pause to give I/T time to interpret each message The I/T interprets all information clearly and precisely as presented by conference participants including the parents The I/T maintains a neutral attitude The I/T may take notes for later clarification Interaction
Only one person speaks at a time Due process issues should be addressed by team members, not independently by I/Ts Interpreting requires high levels of concentration and attention. Side conversations during the meeting should be avoided The team leader summarizes the main issues and conclusions of the conference. Professionals are ultimately responsible for the process. Interaction
Discuss the outcomes. Did the meeting accomplish the goal? Were there specific problems with the quality of translation? Give feedback about what went well and/or what changes might be necessary in the future Ask for feedback from the interpreter about how they felt the interaction went for them and for the family Schedule follow-up and assign responsibility Debriefing after conferences
I/Ts working in education should receive increased professional recognition and compensation I/Ts and special ed team members should receive some training together Future needs
“Cultural Competence evolves over time. It begins with understanding one's own culture and continues through interactions with individuals from various cultures and expansion of knowledge. It is important that educators continually and critically assess their own level of cultural competence. This process, known as “cultural humility,” includes critical self-assessment, admission of limits, and ongoing acquisition of knowledge.” Cultural competence
Swatdi Hello Guten tag Yobosaeyo Chao Que tal? Howdy Jambo Namaste Hi Ni hoo ma God dag Nyob zoo Apa Khabar
How Do School Psychologists and Interpreters Partner to Gather Information on I.Q.?
Partnering on Multiple Sources with Cultural & Linguistic Lens • Parent &/or Student Interview • CLD consideration of.. Student’s strengths and areas of concern Observations Formal and informal measures
How can the interpreter coach us? Tell us what is culturally acceptable such as: • Eye contact • Physical proximity • Shaking hands • Etc. We need to help the student become comfortable. (Establish rapport) Interpreter could teach us how to say greetings in their native language.
Planning our roles during testing: • Preview administration of all assessment materials • Review standardization, validity, reliability & plan behavioral agreements to protect • Explain other approaches ex: Cross-Battery Approach, testing of limits, teach/test, etc • IT takes notes for debriefing ex: terms difficult to translate, cross-cultural issues in communication
Example… During a verbal subtest, what if a student does not know what a word means? • You can only repeat the word in the native language. • We can’t tell them what the word means. • Sometimes this can be really frustrating since the word may not have a match in the native language.
Recommended Practices • Interpreter and Psychologist sit next to each other, with I/T sitting slightly behind • Student can see both directly
Also share and plan for… • Provide information to understand context • Overview of translation session • Confidentiality • Decision of use of Audio tapes (permission) • Relevant student information: • unusual behaviors or verbalizations
Beginning the session • Psych establishes rapport among all participants (student and I/T) • Speaking: Psych explains need to speak in shorter or slower sentences for I/T • Avoid idioms, slang, and metaphors as they are difficult to translate
In Debriefing, Discuss… • Outcomes of translation session & and problems that surfaced • Cross-cultural issues relevant to responses &/or behaviors • I/T’s questions & perceptions about the session • Explore shared understanding within cultural context • How could session have been improved?
Evaluate Data: Consider… • Quality of translation • Relational and social aspects (rapport) • Cultural responsiveness • Language differences • Professional and situational context • Practice context • The need for additional data or different means to obtain information ex: bilingual psych.
Let’s put it all together By working together our goal is to obtain a fair and equitable measure of the student’s IQ that will assist with the student’s educational planning.
Lopez, Emilia C. (2008) Best Practices in Working with School Interpreters in Best Practices in School Psychology V, Alex Thomas & Jeff Grimes, Eds.The National Association of School Psychologists, Besthesda, MD Rhodes, R.L., Ochoa, S.H., Ortiz, S.O. (2005) Assessing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, A Practical Guide, The Guilford Press, New York References