ELL Assessment for Linguistic Differences vs. Learning Disabilities
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Home› Cultures› Portugal› Cultural Differences› Home/School Perceptions

Home/School Perceptions

Comparison of differences in home/school perceptions between Portuguese and U.S. majority cultures

Portuguese Culture American Majority Culture
Parents regard teachers and administrators as authority figures and will generally defer to their decisions concerning their child. Parents are expected to participate in most decisions regarding their child’s education at school. Parents usually have the final say.
Parents will not generally come to school to advocate for their children. This does not mean there is lack of concern or caring. Parents are expected to come to school for a variety of reasons including parent’s night, volunteer activities and school committee meetings.
Parents will not generally bring an advocate or question a teacher or administrator’s decisions. They may bring an interpreter to translate. It is not uncommon to bring professional advocates to special education evaluation meetings and to question the school administrators’ decisions.
When speaking in English or through an interpreter, parents will give elaborate background information before getting to the expected response. Parent-teacher dialogue is generally very direct and conscious of time restraints.
Portuguese culture values the sharing of food. In any gathering food is generally offered by a Portuguese family. If a teacher visits a Portuguese home, the host would be offended if the teacher did not eat and drink when offered. Families may offer to share food with a visitor. If a teacher visits a home, it would be considered an individual choice and would not offend the host if the teacher did not eat and drink when offered.
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