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Classroom Scenarios


The following is a series of ESL Scenarios submitted by educators. Each scenario presents the educator with a challenge to consider and some possible solutions. For more scenarios and responses to the scenarios visit the "Writing and Responding to Scenarios" section of our website.

Classroom Management

Diversity Issues

ESL Teaching and Learning

The Hard To Manage Class

International Politics

A students' inappropriate behaviour

Is she too close to her teacher?

Grade One Behaviour Problem

Screaming and yelling

C is for Cheating

Always Ask First

Joe's Critical Incident

C.I.-Attitude

Critical Incident - Cheating

Paper Rip Critical Incident

Spelling Bee Escalation

"Do you have a problem Miss.?"

An Absent Student

Joes' Critical Incident Part 2

Misbehaviour

Classroom management - Learning from mistakes

Misbehaviour

"Where is my cellphone"

Communication With Parents

Sleeps in Class

(Not) abused child

Violent Incident In The Classroom

Viktor Lukyanchyk-Critical Incident

The cell phone rang.....

A misbehaviour incident

How can we include the diverse English language learners

A Difficult Classroom

I don't want to sit there!

Is ESL important?

The use of proper language in a classroom

Hard to handle

Please help!

Holidays: To celebrate or not to celebrate

Hurtful "gay" comments

Diversity

Athletic Discrimination by Paolo Artale

Name Calling at Jolly James School

Inappropriate Name Calling

Obstreperous Teen

Myth vs. Reality

dealing with racism

Empty pencil box 

Dealing with Differences in Appearances in the Classroom

Will the Boys Have the Same Consequences?

 

Prepare listening test

Peter's Anxiety Attacks in Grade IV

Tough Teacher

Day Dreaming

ESL not GSL

Kindergarten Program Modifications

responding to students' writing

Lack of Comprehension

A Lost Student

A Bathroom Break

Lack of Comprehension

Departmental Disagreement

I Hate Books

Please help! 

Home Support

Parent language barrier

No Home Support

Ethical Issues in English

Depression

Possible Taboo Topics

Inclusive Classrooms

Other

Anti-bullying

Art and Poetry Lesson

New Student

Asperger's & Bullying

Exclusion

No ESL in Gifted Class

The unexpected newcomer

Special needs student

radio talkshow

When should teachers get involved?

ESL or Regular Student?

Autistic Student in ESL Class

Is it a good idea to let the school know?

Critical Incident-Marking

Students making fun of one another

Critical Incident: "He's my Burden"

A Cry for Help

Misbehaviour of a little John

The hall pass

Parent-Teacher Relationship

Perceived Progress vs. True Progress

A teacher's responsibility - to what extent 

The Best Critic

To Teach or not to Teach

Critical Incident by Jyoti Kapil

 

Writing and Responding to Scenarios

 

Contributions from TESL Ontario Members

The following scenarios address situations involving ESL students and were created by teachers and administrators attending the 2001 TESL Ontario annual conference. We invite you to read these scenarios, post possible ways of addressing the situations described, and post further scenarios of your own.

Scenario #1: Accommodate or Not?
See other people's response to this scenario

An ESL student who was in your class a year ago tells you that the teacher in her mainstream senior English course is unwilling to make any accommodations to the course content or delivery in order to facilitate her learning (e.g., allowing extended test taking time). This student tells you that her English teacher has said that she is not ready to be in this level of English class. She asks you to speak to her English teacher on her behalf.

State two specific actions you can take to advocate for this student.

 

Scenario #2: Homesick
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An ESL student in your mainstream Grade 3 class is withdrawn and is often crying. He refuses to speak except to say that he wants to return home to his native country since it was not his choice to come here.

State two specific actions you can take to address this student’s situation.

 

Scenario #3: Time Management
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An ESL student who has recently come to Canada as a refugee has been placed in your mainstream Grade 10 Math class. Although he performs very well on tests and is attentive during lessons, this student has difficulty managing his time and is often late for your class that is scheduled during first period.

State two specific actions you can take to determine the problem and address the underlying cause.

 

Scenario #4: Skill Gaps
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An ELD (English Literacy Development) student who has recently come to Canada as a refugee is placed in your mainstream Grade 9 Science class. Because of the situation in her home country this student has not been to school since she was seven years old. With only rudimentary literacy skills in her first language, minimal formal education, and no English proficiency, this student is not at all able to keep up with the pace of your class.

State two specific actions you can take to address the very real and extensive needs of this student.

 

Scenario #5: International Politics
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Two students in your mainstream Grade 8 Physical Education class come to blows over the antagonistic political situation between their two home countries.

State two specific actions you can take to address this situation.

 

Scenario #6: Kindergarten Program Modifications
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Your mainstream Senior Kindergarten class of 27 students includes 14 children who do not speak English at home and who have varying levels of English proficiency.

State two specific actions you can take to modify your next lesson to meet the linguistic needs of such a diverse group of learners.

 

Scenario #7: Culture Gap
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During recess supervision you overhear a group of Grade 5 students discussing the latest on-ice exploits of several hockey stars. One individual in the group, an ESL student from your homeroom, is not only remaining silent during the discussion but is taking jibes from his peers for his lack of hockey knowledge.

State two specific actions you can take to address this situation.

 

Scenario #8: Staff Resistance
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In the staff room during lunch one of your colleagues tells you that she has an ELD (English Literacy Development) student in her Grade 7 Math class. Because of the interruptions to her schooling in her home country, this student’s math skills are at the grade 4 level. Your colleague complains that she is unwilling to modify her course content or instruction to meet the needs of this student and refuses your offer of help.

State two specific actions you can take to ensure that the needs of this student are met.

 

 

Contributions from OISE/UT Teacher Educators

The following scenarios address situations involving ESL students and were created by OISE/UT teacher educators.

Scenario #1: Open Enrollment
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You are in your first year of teaching a grade 3 class in an inner city public school. You have 29 students in your class, 14 of whom speak a language other than English at home, either exclusively or in combination with English. These 14 students represent 8 different cultural and linguistic backgrounds: Polish (3 students), Ukrainian (2 student), Chinese--Cantonese (3 students), Japanese (1 student), Brazilian--Portuguese (1 student), Russian (1 student), Quebecois--French (1 student), Chinese--Mandarin (2 students). Each of these 14 students speaks English sufficiently well to keep up with their school work. However, halfway through the year the principal introduces a new student to your class. This young girl is newly arrived from China and understands only Cantonese. She does not understand any English and appears highly intimidated by the daily routine of your classroom. She interacts exclusively with the other Cantonese-speaking students in your class. You are concerned about the social and academic acclimatization of this new student.

What strategies would you employ to help this newly arrived student integrate socially and academically?

Scenario #2: Alienation
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You are a third year grade 7 teacher in a rural public school. The community in which you are teaching is a very insular one and includes individuals who are at least fourth generation Canadian. They are all of exclusively Western European background and all speak English as their first and only language. The community is of predominantly one religious background. Partway through the year a new student is introduced into your class. This young boy and his family are refugees from a non-Western-European war-torn country where English is not spoken. While the parents understand little English, this young boy’s English skills are quite good since he was taught English as a foreign language in his home country. His family is of the same religious background as your larger community and was, in fact, sponsored by the local church. Although this young boy’s English skills are quite good, he does not share the cultural background, life experience, or ‘accent’ that your other students share. During class this newly arrived student is quiet and withdrawn and during recess and lunch you notice that he is always alone. During one lunch period you hear three other students from your class teasing this new boy about his accent, asking him if that is how everyone spoke on ‘the boat ride over here’.

How do you address this situation?

Scenario #3: An Inclusive Curriculum
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You are in your fifth year of teaching a grade 10 academic course in an urban multicultural high school. The head of your department continues to be adamant that you use the same textbook that the other teachers in your school are using for this course. Despite your colleagues’ enthusiasm for this text, and your department head’s insistence, you continue to feel that this textbook presents the subject matter from an exclusively Western-European point of view and does not portray a balanced picture of your subject as it exists in today’s world.

Given the necessity of continuing to use this particular textbook, what can you do to make your course more inclusive and how do you help students get a more balanced view of the subject you teach?

Scenario #4: Extra-Curricular Activities
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Your school has a fairly traditional curriculum, you and your colleagues are feeling over-whelmed. There is a limited and fairly traditional extra-curricular program but a very diverse student population. You have noticed marked segregation among student groups: ESL by themselves, different ethnic groups on their own, native-born white students in their groups. To some degree this segregation seems to be based on comfort levels more than antagonism, but there are incidents that leads you to suspect it's more than this.

How would you address this through building a more inclusive school environment?

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