Case Study: Abir


Abir is enrolled in your school part way through the year. She tests at a level 2 (see pages 60–62). She is very shy at first and never talks above a whisper.

As time goes by, that changes. She begins to reveal the most contrary personality the school has ever seen. She is very vocal about things she does not like. She has a difficult time writing assignments but does not take suggestions for improvement well. She always has a reason she can’t follow the suggestions you give her. She leaves classes in a huff or gets angry and cries, complaining how mean you are. She is argumentative with you and other students in the class, proclaiming things are much better at her school in her home country. Although secretly you feel relieved when she’s absent, these absences are much too frequent to allow for any continuity of schooling. When she is in school, she does not turn in any homework.

Conferences with her father reveal that she is needed at home to babysit younger siblings. Abir’s parents believe that, although the situation in their country is dire and that they may not return at all, the time spent in this country is time lost academically, and they put more emphasis on the study of her subjects in Arabic. If the truant officer weren’t breathing down their necks, they probably wouldn’t send Abir to school at all. She is getting so far behind that she may not be allowed to matriculate to the next level.

A meeting is called with her counselor, her parents, teachers with whom she has the biggest problems, and you. You are primarily responsible for Abir. The main academic outcome of the meeting is that either she must get her work in, or she will not move on.

  • How can you help Abir adjust to school?
  • What rules and procedures must you enforce to limit her behavior?
  • How would you go about it?
  • What are the most important issues concerning this student?
  • What positive steps can you take to accomplish the goals you need to meet?
  • What are your short-term goals?
  • Long-term goals?
  • Can you think of a method of working with this student to minimize the battles?
  • What procedures do you put into place to monitor her progress and document the measures you have taken?

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