Curry School of Education


How to Use

student at desk

Building on the idea of Problem-Based Learning (Levin, Hibbard and Rock, 2002), with each scenario you will encounter challenges that teachers may face when working with English Language Learners.

  1. Read the introduction
  2. Watch the video
  3. Answer the questions
  4. Compare your responses to how our experts answered


Scenario 3: A Struggling ELL


Seeing a child fail to thrive in a class is painful for a teacher. “How can I help her?” we ask ourselves. If the student is a non-native speaker, the puzzle is even more difficult. Is it language or is there something else?

Teacher Tim Connors has submitted a Request for Support about Medina, a student in his math class. Read the Request for Support (pdf), then watch Tim describe his concerns.


Q1. What other kinds of information should the teachers gather about Medina?

Q2. What instructional strategies might help Medina?

Q3. What might help Medina on test days?