A sad reality in the world today is that many school children suffer academically not so much because of a lack of prowess as because of the various social and economic challenges they face. Countless children suffer economic pressures at home and have little time or energy left to pay attention to school world. More often than not, parental support for school children in these circumstances is minimal at best and non-existent at worst. Many of these children are also from minority groups and sometimes find themselves the brunt of racial slurs and prejudice at school. It is therefore well nigh impossible to classify these children as anything other than "at risk." It is with these students in mind that numerous studies have been conducted focusing on educational strategies and programs that could assist children classified as at risk. This literature review will focus on what educators can learn in terms of strategy from teachers working with at-risk students, researchers investigating the nature of the problems experienced by these children, and programs created to assist children within this population.
Teachers Working With At-Risk Children
The most valuable source of information regarding strategies for any teacher is other teachers. The situation with at-risk children is no different. Raul-Fitzpagrick's (2014) research report, for example, provides an overview of several teachers in this situation. To collect data, the author focused on interviews with the teachers selected for the study. In addition to the strategies the teachers engaged to handle at-risk students in their classrooms, the teachers also shared their frustrations and challenges when working with such learners. From these, the author made several recommendations. These, along with the strategies used, are useful tools for others to apply in their own classrooms and their own situations.
One of the recommendations is to form a school-based team consisting of teachers and various other professionals to provide support to both teachers and learners in the...
In addition, such a team can work together to monitor learners and determine when they need to be referred to additional support services. Early screening and testing is also a useful strategy to identify students who are at risk at a stage during which they are in a better position to be assisted than later in their academic lives. For teachers, the suggestion is to make use of teachers with a background in special education. In addition to offering suggestions regarding how students can be assisted, these teachers can also be involved in team teaching, where special education do team work in mainstream classrooms so that at-risk learners are disrupted as little as possible in terms of the teaching process.
Another important component is professional development. Teachers need to be trained on a regular basis to ensure that they are aware of the most useful and most recent strategies for assisting students in the at-risk situation. It is only with a solid basis of understanding and training that teachers can effectively assist at-risk students.
Finally, Paul-Fitzpatrick (2014) suggests the involvement of parents. As mentioned, parental involvement in the academic lives of at-risk students is more often than not minimal or non-existent. By involving parents in the educational process via education and collaboration programs, and support sessions, they can be encouraged to become a more active part of their children's lives. Furthermore, the author argues for a more parent- and community-friendly school environment to encourage parent participation.
As for strategy, the teachers interviewed used classroom actions such as peer tutoring and positive reinforcement to encourage learner participation and improvement, especially for at-risk students. They also made use of educational programs to gain extra support for…
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