By Kristina Robertson in Colorin Colorado

I remember a former Somali student of mine, Samira, who was dedicated, attentive, and friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed having her in my class as we worked on her English skills. When it came to assigning final grades, though, I had a dilemma because Samira wasn’t able to successfully complete assignments. She came to my classroom often, asked for additional help, and did her best to understand the directions and complete the work. My heart broke every time I corrected her assignments because I realized that despite her efforts she either wasn’t able to do the assignment, or she had copied someone else’s work. She was obviously struggling, and at the time I attributed it to her refugee experience and lack of formal education. I thought that she just needed more time and English language exposure.

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Read more: Addressing Special Education Needs for Students Learning English as a Second Language

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