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Applying Social Role Valorization Theory for the EAL students in my Classroom:
Implementation Plan

Marilyn Loewen
University of Manitoba
Student Number: 6774506


Implementation Plan
As an upper middle years teacher, I struggle at times to veer away from traditional
teaching styles. I have spoken to colleagues and many of them say that it is often easier to fall
back on the style of teaching that you are used to. Most of us probably grew up in very
traditional classrooms where the teacher stands at the front and speaks to the students. I have
definitely made strides forward in this area over the years, especially after attending fantastic
professional development sessions, learning from colleagues, taking university classes etc. This
traditional style of teaching is not always the best teaching style for my students, especially
English as an Additional Language learners (EAL). Standing at the front of the classroom and
speaking to the students also does not allow for student interaction. It is my hope that by
changing my teaching practice all students can feel connected, safe and confident in my classes.
Issue to be addressed
Nathan is a Chinese student who has been in Canada for just over two years. Nathan is
very shy and is still evidently in the silent phase of his English learning experience. Currently,
Nathan is being isolated from his peers and devalued because of his lack of English speaking
skills as well as his apparent lack of effort in interacting with them. When Nathan joined our
school community last year, students were encouraged to come alongside him to support and
befriend him. Many of the boys did this with zeal and invited him to join them at lunch and
during group work time. However, when their efforts did not seem to be welcomed or received
well, they eventually stopped. Unfortunately, Nathan began sitting by himself during lunch, and
appeared to fend off his peers offers to join them. It appeared that Nathan was isolating himself.
Often, when his peers would engage in conversation with him, Nathan would almost rudely shut


down the conversation. It became clear that Nathan lacked the confidence to engage in the risks
of speaking in a new language, this lack of confidence was leading him to be socially isolated
whether he wanted that or not. Now that Nathan has been at Linden Christian School (LCS) for
almost two years, and is gaining language ability, he has unfortunately not formed any
relationships, which means that he continues to sit alone, work alone and speaks only one or two
words when prompted.
Academically, Nathan does well in Math as this is a natural ability of his. He struggles
with word problem comprehension; however, I have seen significant improvements in this area.
As would be expected, Nathan has the greatest difficulty with English Language Arts. Nathan
has shared that he does not like reading or writing, thus, his motivation for both activities is very
low. Nathan does the bare minimum in both reading and writing. A strategy that I have already
used, upon encouragement from our EAL department, is to allow him to write a story, for
example, in Chinese first and then translate it using Google Translate. This has allowed him to
get more of his thoughts on the page and has revealed that Nathan is a creative thinker and
writer. Nathan does not participate in class or group discussions. I believe this is due to the fact
that Nathan lacks the confidence. My hope is that with increased valuation by his peers, Nathan
will begin to exhibit more confidence in reading, writing and speaking.
Rationale for Change
At LCS the grade eight group has been divided into three classes. Each class is
essentially a small and often close community. Many of these students have been together for
their whole school career. When a new student joins the group it takes a while to find his or her
place. Nathan joined the LCS community at the beginning of grade seven, and is isolated and
devalued for various reasons. Nathan is in need of - as Wolfensberger discusses - competency


enhancement (1998) as he is not seen by his peers as being competent or able to participate in
discussion or activities. Nathan is from a different culture and sometimes students dont know
how to act or respond to someone that doesnt speak their language or with someone that has a
very different background than them. Nathan is also very shy. This shyness has affected his
ability to interact with other students as many of them have stopped trying to connect with him,
especially when he doesnt reciprocate. Thirdly, since Nathan does not contribute during group
or class discussions, I believe that students think that he is not as intelligent as they are, even
though this is far from the truth. The more Nathan doesnt feel that he is being understood and
respected the less he wants to participate. This is similar to the negative role expectancy that
Wolfensberger (1998) speaks of. Similarly, when he feels like he is not contributing to class
lessons, and not an active member of the class (whether he wants to be or not), Nathan may feel
devalued. I believe that often the students are unconsciously discounting Nathan and the fact
that he may have a valid opinion and/or an idea. This unconsciousness has seemingly led to his
peers devaluation of him. Nathan very likely faces the effects of woundedness as Wolfensberger
(1998) describes. His expectation that he will probably say something wrong (incorrect
pronunciation or grammar) very likely leads to insecurity and Nathan avoiding taking risks with
his peers or during class and I wonder if Nathan also thinks of himself as a burden to his peers.
He doesnt want them to feel that they have to take their time to help him understand or figure
out what he is trying to say. It is my hope that through this plan Nathan can be enabled to enter
back into a valued role with his peers. As a result I hope that as Nathan gains acceptance, his
confidence will grow and this will then transfer to his performance in English Language Arts. As
his competencies are revealed to his peers they will hopefully begin valuing and respecting him
as a contributing member of the class.


Personal Support Plan

During the implementation of this plan, I will be consulting with various colleagues both
at my school and within the education community. They are listed below:

Evelyn Davison (EAL teacher at LCS) Evelyn is an invaluable resource for our EAL
department. Evelyn has specific training in EAL education and works tirelessly as an

advocate for the EAL students at our school.

Jennifer Schraml (Resource Teacher) - Jennifer is constantly finding new resources that will
be useful in the classroom. Jennifer is also very willing to do some co-teaching in the
classroom. I believe Jennifer will be an important resource as I try to bring Nathan out of his

social isolation.
Jeff Thiessen (Vice Principal) - will be a support for changes I want to make, and will also

approve professional development opportunities I pursue.

Educational Assistants - Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, I do not have regular EA
assistance in my class. From time to time I will have an EA in my room to support the EAL
students. I will speak with both Evelyn Davison and Jennifer Schraml to discuss the addition

of more educational assistant time in my class.

Corrina Loewen Experienced adult EAL teacher. Corrina has been a valuable source of
resources and information regarding EAL education throughout my teaching career.


Implement the Developmental Model in my classroom. Discuss with EAL teacher and
educational assistants how to best reach and connect with Nathan during class. Similarly,

we will develop a plan to build Nathans confidence, especially during ELA class.
Video game lunch hour Nathan is ranked in the top three players of the game Boom
Beach, in the world. Since Nathan is clearly very skilled at video games, I would like to


incorporate an opportunity for him to show this off. Only a handful of students actually
know how good he is at Boom Beach, so it would be exciting to see him show off a bit,
which Im sure will increase his value amongst his peers. I will implement a video game
lunch hour every Friday and invite students to join. I will discuss this with Nathan and
inquire as to whether he would like to show other students how to do well in the game

Boom Beach.
I will begin incorporating more collaborative learning style activities (think pair share,
catch up time, team based learning etc.) in my classroom. My hope is that with more
specific collaborative learning opportunities that Nathan will begin to feel more

comfortable and confident to open up to and connect with his peers.

Another strategy that I will begin implementing is giving Nathan questions/topics prior to
class so that he can prepare for class discussions. I will then ask him to try to participate
with at least one submission. An alternative is he could write a response and have

someone else share it or it could be shared in a smaller group.

Connect students with buddies that they connect with regularly throughout the day. This
way Nathan will have a specific person that he has to connect with daily. Hopefully this
connection will help to build his confidence and allow him to take some initiative with
his peers.

These implementation ideas are hopefully good examples will encourage interpersonal
identification, personal social integration and valued social participation as discussed by
Wolfensberger (1998). I hope that Nathan is able to gain valuation through the encouraged and
supported interactions with his peers.
Goal Statement
By the end of May, Nathan will begin speaking more comfortably with his peers,
contributing at least once a week during class and interacting regularly with those around him. It


is my hope that with specific supports put in place Nathan will begin to develop a confidence in
his language skills and that this confidence would reduce his isolation, and lead to real, lasting
connections with his peers.
Sharing Plan
I plan on sharing my goal with my teaching team which consists of five other teachers (including
our resource team). It is my hope that through the implementation of this change that other
teachers will begin incorporating new teaching strategies to further include Nathan in each of his
classes. I will also be sharing my plan and its results during a middle years staff meeting in
May. I believe that every teacher in our building should be striving to include and support our
EAL learners as much as possible. I will continue to be in open communication with our EAL
department and will share my progress with both educational assistants that work with Nathan as
well as with our EAL teacher Evelyn Davison.


To assist me bridging SRV teaching and connecting EAL students their peers, I have
found the following articles and/or websites that include topics on EAL education guidelines,
inclusion and collaboration. I plan to explore other resources as necessary.
British Columbia Ministry of Education. (1999). English language learners: A guide for
classroom teachers [PDF]. Retrieved from
Christman, R. (n.d.). Integrating ESL learners into the ELA classroom. Retrieved April 5, 2016,
Gonzalez, J. (2014, December 11). 12 ways to support ESL students in the mainstream classroom.
Retrieved April 5, 2016, from

Government of Manitoba Department of Education. (n.d.). Kindergarten to grade 12 curriculum

framework for EAL/LAL programming [PDF]. Retrieved from
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to diversity. Winnipeg, MB: Portage & Main Press.
Race, D. G. (1999). Social Role Valorization and the English experience. London, England:
Whiting & Birch.
Success for all Learners Document (I do not own this document, so I will have to purchase a
Wolfensberger, W. (1998). A brief introduction to Social Role Valorization: A high-order concept
for addressing the plight of societally devalued people, and for structuring human services (3rd
revised edition). Syracuse, NY: Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership &
Change Agentry (Syracuse University).