Teaching “at Risk” Students: Meeting Their Needs
Among the many responsibilities of teachers, one which is becoming increasingly significant to the communities they serve is student welfare. Although the welfare of all students is of concern, there is a group who create a particular need. These are students who have been identified as being “at risk.” Traditionally student welfare has mainly been relegated to parents, churches and cultural groups rather than seen as a responsibility of the classroom teacher. In the present climate however, it is argued that the teacher's role increasingly needs to encompass welfare strategies (Mitchener & Schmidt, 1998).
Reasons for particular concern with students “at risk” not only relates to the extent of their need but also to the observation that their issues often manifest as challenging behaviors at school, including withdrawal, truancy, disengagement, resistance and disconnection. How teachers respond to such behavior will likely depend upon their knowledge of management strategies, the prevailing discipline paradigm and personal philosophy. This chapter identifies factors related to whether or not a student should be considered at risk before providing a discussion of how teachers may respond productively to at risk students. In examining how to help such students to engage in education and schooling, the chapter focuses on teacher behavior, curriculum and cocurricular programs.
KeywordsInappropriate Behavior Teacher Behavior Student Welfare Personal Philosophy Risk Student
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