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Introductory Scenario

Imagine this scenario. Fifteen-year-old Jorge Lopez arrived in the U.S. after a miserable year on the road from Guatemala. He grew up in a Quiché community plagued by strife and tragedy. Uncles and aunts have “disappeared,” and Jorge has seldom attended school. Last year, he decided to leave all on his own looking for family in the United States. He now lives with an aunt, who had arrived in the U.S. several years before him. So, now he’s in your classroom and has learning and English language support needs.

Jorge has a huge amount to learn as quickly as possible. He has almost no formal schooling. And yet he is the age of the typical American high-school sophomore. Students like Jorge are often burdened not only with severe educational. challenges, but also with substantial emotional and economic challenges. Helping students like Jorge thrive requires collaboration, not only among educators at the school, but with a variety of human service agencies. 

This is a very short scenario but it is huge one. The questions are difficult because the scenario is exceptional. It is drawn from an actual case.

TAKE NOTES

If you are not working in a class or workshop, where your instructor may form small groups to consider these questions, arrange a meeting (perhaps over lunch) with an EL teacher to think about these questions and some of the issues they raise. 

  • What do you think your instructional team needs to find out about Jorge? 
  • What additional challenges might he face? 
  • What organizations beside the school might be involved in helping Jorge? 
  • How might the instructional team make plans for him? 
  • What do you think that the plans should include? 
  • How might you be expected to help Jorge learn English? 
  • How might the languages Jorge speaks influence the plans your instructional team makes for his education? 

  

Module: Communication and Collaboration

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