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Nikolas has recently become a behavioral problem in the classroom. During reading activities he goofs off and acts the class clown. When the teacher has attempted to get him back on task, he has been defiant, and refuses to participate in reading activities. He does not want to read in English with the ESOL teacher or his parents. He knows that he is leaving to return to Greece in a few months, and does not feel that he needs to “waste time” reading in English when it is a struggle. Insight was sought from the following “stakeholders” in Nikolas’s life:

The Parents

Mr. And Mrs. Papatoniu state that they want Nikolas to continue to learn English and feel that he needs to do his best in school. They have a lot of other things on their mind now (just busy, worrying about the move back) and therefore cannot be on Nikolas all the time about his learning. His parents understand the teacher’s frustration, as well as Nikolas’. They have tried to explain to him that learning English will help him in his future. The are embarrassed that he is causing problems in school. They do not want to pressure him so much that he ends up hating English. They want him to be happy, but insist that he cooperate more in school. They are willing to work with the teacher to come up with a plan to get Nikolas more interested in learning.

The Principal

As the principal I feel that we should keep encouraging Nikolas to learn and read in English and explain to him the benefits of being Bi-lingual and show him how much it has helped his father, I think if we can connect the importance of learning English to his family he will be more ready to learn English. Between the teacher and me I wouldn’t put too much pressure on Nikolas to “succeed” in his English skills, he is right in a sense that he is going back to Greece soon. As an educator I would hate to poison Nikolas’ perception of school in general. We want him to be able to go back to Greece and go back into his school at an appropriate level. I would also recommend Nikolas receive tutoring in Greek to ensure he does not fall so far behind that he has to suffer humiliation when he returns to Greece and be behind.

School Counselor

Nikolas has adjusted very well to his new school and is developing friendships. His recent increase in clowning around is really a good sign that he is comfortable with his peers. However his resistance to the authority of the teacher can not be allowed to go on. Because Nikolas has been such an academic star in the past, I think that he is resentful of his role as a struggling reading. I think that he is reading books below his grade level and what other kids are reading is embarrassing to him. We need to decrease his anxiety in reading situations and help him develop stress reducing strategics.


Nikolas is not trying hard enough to read. He has a hard time decoding words but if he put more effort into it he would succeed. Since he will be leaving America soon, he doesn’t think that his work matters. A teacher’s assistant or volunteer might come into the classroom during reading time and help Nikolas. If Nikolas could get some extra feedback and help he may find reading fun, but with so many students, I can’t give him the extra individual help he needs. He could also work with a partner while reading. They could read to each other and help one another with their mistakes. Maybe I need to find out what Nikolas’s interests are so that he will be more motivated to read, but there is just not enough time in the day. He has the capability to learn English and read very well, he just needs to try harder.

ESOL Teacher

Nikolas is really doing well for the short time he has been here. He doesn’t like to read what he calls the “baby” books that are on his reading level. I understand that he came to us with a very high literacy level in his L1, and a love for reading. I am concerned that all this focus on reading in English is souring him on reading in general. How much is he getting to read in Greek now? Does he have access to the types of books he loved in Greece? Nikolas may be returning to Greece soon and we don’t want him to have a negative attitude toward reading. He needs a change to read both languages in a low stress environment where he feels that his work has purpose.

I don’t see what the big deal is. I don’t need to read English and we are going home soon. All anyone want is for me to work all the time. My friends tease me about going to ESOL. I hate the stupid books they want me to read. Mom and Dad won’t even let me read the good Greek books until I read English books first. I’d rather not read at all.


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