Critical Incidents

  1. John has agreed to pick up his friend Mike at 7:15 so that they could go to a movie together. John studies in the library until about 7:05 and then goes out to his car. He discovers that someone has parked behind his car in such a way that he can't pull out. While he is wondering what to do, the owner of the car, a girl, returns. She apologizes for being right behind him and tells him that her car died right there, that she doesn't know what is wrong with it, and that she can't reach any of her friends by phone. by this time, it is 7::5. What should John do?

  2. Mary has a date for Mike to pick her up at 7:30 at home to go to a movie. She goes to the University Testing Center at 5:30 to take a biology test that her professor said would only take one hour. However the test is hard for her and she doesn't finish until about 7:20. By the time she gathers up all her books, hands in her test, etc., it is 7:25. It will take her at least 15 minutes to walk home. What should she do?

  3. Tom makes an appointment at 2:15 to see his history professor, Dr. Jones, about the term paper which Tom is writing for his history class. Tom goes to the snack bar at 1:30 with some of his friends. They are eating and laughing and talking. Tom notices that the clock on the wall says 2:00 and he figures he has about five minutes before he should leave for his appointment. He continues to talk and glances at the clock now and then. Suddenly, as he is looking at the clock one time, he realizes that it has not moved. It still says 2:00. Tom looks at his watch and discovers that the time is really 2:30. What should he do?

  4. Susan needs help with her chemistry homework . After class she tells her teacher, Dr. Smith, about her need and he suggests that she come in to see him during his office hours that afternoon between 1:00 and 2:00. Susan agrees to do that. Susan goes to a meeting of a club she is an officer. When the meeting is over, she glances at her watch and discovers that it is 1:55. It will take at least five minutes to walk over to Dr. Smith's office. What should Susan do?

  5. Paul has a job interview at 10:00 for a jab he really wants. He gets up and gets ready in plenty of ti me. However, at 9:30 when he goes out to his car to leave, it won't start. He tries everything he knows how to do, but the car will just not start. It is now 9:40 and Paul knows that it will take at least 15 minutes to drive to where the job interview is. What should he do?

  6. Mr. and Mrs. frown are invited to a barbecue at the home of Mr. White, Mr. Brown's boss, at 6:00. Mrs. brown takes the car to go get a babysitter for their children at 9:00 She gets stuck in a traffic jam on the way home and doesn't arrive there until 5:45. It will take about five minutes to get the babysitter and the children oriented and then it will take at least twenty-five minutes to drive to the Whites' home. What should the browns do?

SITUATION: John and Mary have been dating at the university which they both attend. In the process ot dating, they have become very close. Now the time for the biggest dance of the year is approaching. John asks Mary to go with him. Mary buys a new dress and shoes and is excited about the dance. John orders a corsage and looks forward to a really nice evening on Friday. However, on Thursday before the dance, John receives word that his uncle who lives in the university town has died unexpectedly. Plans are being made for the funeral to be held in the town on Saturday.

What should John do about the dance on Friday night?

SITUATION: Akiko has been the United States for about two months attending a university. She lives in the dorm with an American girl, Debbie, who comes from a nearby town. Debbie invites Akiko to come home with her to spend a weekend with her family. Akiko is concerned because she isn't sure what kind of expenses she will have if she goes on the trip and because she wants to do what will be polite to Debbie's family.

What should Akiko do?

SITUATION: Eve has only been in the United States for a short period of time. In that time, however, she has met Jack, an American boy that she really likes. He seems to be friendly towards her. She also has met Tom, another American boy that she likes as a friend but is not so interested in dating. On Tuesday, Tom asks Eva to go to a show with him on Saturday night. Eva says that she will go. On Thursday, Jack calls and asks Eva if she would go to a dance with him which is also on Saturday night.

What should Eva do?

SITUATION: Dr. Jones gave an assignment in his Geography 300 class which he said was to be turned in on Friday. Tuula has worked diligently on the assignment but has only been able to complete about 80% of it by the time of class on Friday.

What should Tuula do?

SITUATION: Mr. and Mrs. Smith have five children between the ages of 10 and 20. Mr. Smith's mother has lived in the same town as the Smiths all of their lives. Mr. Smith's father died several years before. Mr. Smith's mother has an accident and breaks her hip. She needs to have care everyday. The Smiths have a very small home but they could grandmother if some of the children double up in the bedrooms.

What should the Smiths do?

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1998 © Dr. Lynn E. Henrichsen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Saturday, January 24, 1998