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At-Risk Students Concept Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020

Introduction

In academic institutions, students have different intellectual skills depending on their socioeconomic backgrounds and understanding abilities. Remarkably, the at-risk students demonstrate various challenges that make them vulnerable to failure in their classrooms, as well as in their daily lives. Some of the main factors that predispose students to failure include family setup, societal structures and institutions, school structures, psychological elements, and behavioural factors (Withers, & Russell, 2001).

In Australia, the at-risk students are mainly from aboriginal communities, who earn low incomes, are subject to discrimination, have limited information on the importance of education, and suffer geographic isolation. Therefore, the essay explains the concept of the at-risk students and the role of the government, society, and teachers in empowering the at-risk students, and further examines the essence of the programme in the empowerment process.

At-Risk Students

As a story to ascertain the challenges experienced by the at-risk students in Australia, the Australian education board devised a plan that integrates communities in improvement of education of the at-risk-students. Some of the policies employed by the board include the constitution of committees, advisory bodies, awards like Rob Riley, and employment of individuals from the communities. According to Decker, Dona, and Christenson (2007), marginalisation, especially in the case of minority groups, increase the number of at-risk students. In Australia, factors like geographic isolation, racial discrimination, limited information on the essence of education, and inadequate resources to facilitate access to good education lead to the phenomenon of the at-risk students.

In Australia, geographical isolation is the first risk factor that prevents students from aboriginal communities from attending schools and accessing good education as opposed to their colleagues, who do not live in marginalized regions. Withers and Russell (2001) explain that geographical isolation is a challenge that limits access to good education in marginalised regions.

Secondly, the issue of discrimination is another challenge that students from aboriginals communities in Australia experience in their quest to access quality education. Racial and gender discrimination is a factor that predisposes students from aboriginal communities various risks. Brown and Skinner (2007) outline that racial discrimination affects students from several parts of the world. Conversely, the Australian board of education uses the community involvement programme to identify the magnitude of discrimination and the right disciplinary action on the perpetrators.

Thirdly, several parents from aboriginal communities in Australia do not have sufficient knowledge and information concerning the importance of education on their children. According to Withers and Russell (2001), parents are the role models, and thus, children adopt and apply their values in their livelihoods. Therefore, because their parents lack interest in academic issues, they increase the subjectivity of students to the at-risk status as they encourage absenteeism and early dropouts. The fourth factor that increases the challenges of the at-risk students in Australian aboriginal regions is the low incomes. Absence of sufficient funds inhibits access to good education in the aboriginal regions.

Ramifications of the At-Risk Students

Some of the ramifications of the at-risk students include aggressiveness, drug and substance abuse, poor performance in schools and social lives, and low self-esteem. When students experience harsh and unfriendly conditions in society and the locality, they develop negative feelings and attitudes that make them perceive life negatively. The negative perception of life focus elicits retribution and justification, which shows that they deserve recognition and respect in the society.

As a result, several individuals, who are at-risk demonstrate aggressive behaviours and often bully others in various learning institutions. Verlinden, Hersen, and Thomas (2000) assert that a number of cases associated with violence, suicide, and shootings are consequences of risky experiences of students. Moreover, some of the at-risk students plunge into drug and substance abuse in an attempt to look for a place where they could find solace and pleasure. Since most of the students, who have at-risk behaviours feel isolated and lonely, some decide to engage in drug abuse such as alcohol, bhang, and cocaine so that they could fill the void in them.

Poor performance in school and social lives transpire as ramifications or consequences risky circumstances that make students have limited access to good educational resources or develop negative attitudes towards educational development. When students suffer from the challenges related to limited access to resources, low income in the family, deprived parental care, and poor societal relationships, they develop a negative attitude towards the society in terms of norms, values, and principles.

Therefore, some at-risk-students fail to perform well in learning institutions because they look at parents, teachers, and other stakeholders in the education sector as repressive and exploitative people. Unhealthy relationships among students, community members, and teachers lead to poor performance in education and cause a significant number of students to drop out during the early ages of schooling (Porowskia & Passa, 2011). Low self-esteem and self-confidence is an outcome of poor performance and an absence of trust in certain activities.

Role of the Society, and Government in Solution of Ramifications

Stakeholders of the education system such as school, society, and government have very important roles to play in minimising the challenges that the at-risk students experience. Presently, several governments like Australia have programmes that integrate communities in an attempt to improve the quality of education for at-risk students.

Eastman, Cooney, O’Connor, and Small (2007) elaborate that the programme has policies that focus on community involvement in the management of activities that the at-risk students exercise, such as bullying and aggression. By managing bullying, truancy, and aggression, society improves the behaviour of at-risk students and encourages them to develop positive attitudes towards education and life. Essentially, community involvement is a programme that could mitigate the impact of risks because its policies focus on challenges like aggressiveness, truancy, and bullying.

The roles of the government, parents, and society in addressing the issue of poor performance among at-risk-students are very crucial. Parents and society should encourage at-risk-students and create a positive attitude towards education and life. The positive attitude among the at-risk students focuses on the development of a sense of achievement and success. When students receive encouragement from parents and society, they develop a positive attitude because of the realisation that society appreciates them and recognise their position in society (Felder & Brent, 2005).

Successful application of community involvement programme helps the students receive encouragement and equal treatment in the society, a factor, which helps them to work hard, succeed in their lives, and in turn, improve their overall performance in learning institutions. The roles of the government in boosting the performances of the at-risk students lie in the provision of the required resources that facilitate easy access to quality education.

Development of positive attitudes in the minds of at-risk-students helps in reducing issues that hamper the establishment of good interpersonal relationships in learning institutions and in society. When at-risk-students develop a positive attitude towards education and life, they work hard to succeed and learn to present their disagreements in a manner that is respectful and productive. As a result, teamwork and group discussion, which are important in academic success, thrive well (Currie & Stabile, 2006).

The roles of parents and the society in encouraging the development of good relationships between the student at-risk and their colleagues begin with their behaviours. According to Nolen-Hoeksema (2004), parents, who abuse drugs such as alcohol, do not take proper care of their children, but they instil negative behaviours in them. It is, therefore, significant for nations, parents, and the societies to ensure that they employ programmes like community involvement to inculcate positive values and encourage good behaviours among the at-risk students through their participation as role models. Ethical behaviours are very instrumental in the management of criminal activities and other vices associated with at-risk-students.

Teacher’s Role in Resolution of Ramifications

As a teacher, I would employ a number of strategies and initiatives to address the ramifications associated with at-risk students. Empowerment of the students is one of the instrumental tools that I would employ in the quest to ensure that the challenge of aggressiveness reduces. By educating and enlightening the students on the effects of bullying and aggressiveness on the one hand and the benefits of assertiveness and fairness, on the other hand, the development of at-risk behaviours would decline (Spira & Fischel, 2005).

To address the issue of aggression and bullying successfully, I would develop a personal relationship with all students, including those at risk. Muller (2001) explains that teachers, who develop a personal relationship with students, are in a good position to address the challenges associated with the at-risk students in their early stages. Education and enlightenment also incorporate issues of drug and substance abuse and stress management via the enlightenment and education of students to understand the effects of using drugs and the significance of avoiding them. Therefore, the issue of drug abuse among the at-risk students declines, and thus, their productivity improves.

Personal relationship with all the students and the creation of a favourable environment would be very instrumental in my role as a teacher. By developing a good relationship with all the students, especially those at-risk, they would be in a better position to confide in me and in turn, I would understand them better. A good understanding of the at-risk students facilitates easy solutions to some of their problems that include poor performance in education (Bergin & Bergin, 2009).

Through an enhanced understanding of their needs, I would enact personalised strategies aimed at improving their performances and helping boost their academic standing to a higher level. Additionally, through personalised relationships with the at-risk students, I would encourage them to know that they have the capacity to achieve the desired success through hard work and determination. A good relationship between teachers and students facilitates easy understanding of problems and delivery of the correct solutions (Klem & Connell, 2004). Therefore, development of a good relationship between the at-risk students and teachers reduces problems such as poor performance and low self- esteem.

To address the challenge of poor personal relationship, I would empower the students with effective communication and interpersonal skills and encourage them to perform the skills in school and in their communities. Furthermore, I would encourage the school administration to support good coexistence among the staff, students, and the society since students learn from their social environment. Fundamentally, as children develop, they acquire skills and attributes practised by those around them (Barkley, Fischer, Smallish, & Fletcher, 2006).

In addition, I would advocate for the provision of resources that help in improving the education level of the students in an attempt to boost their morale and improve their academic performance. Effective application of a community involvement programme enables me to implement strategies like development of effective relationships, efficient communication skills, and the provision of relevant resources to reduce unhealthy relationships among the at-risk students and minimise their engagement in criminal activities.

Effectiveness of Strategies that Teachers, Societies, and Governments Practise

From theoretical perspective, remediation theory is very important in addressing the problems associated with the at-risk students. Since the theory highlights the significance of community participation, it substantiates its worth in the implementation of programmes like community involvement.

The theory employs a programme of community involvement in ascertaining the remedy of the at-risk students. Felder and Brent (2005) explain that involvement of the community in addressing the challenges of at-risk-students is important in the resolution of their ramification. From the outcomes, it is evident that integration of the individuals from the community has positive results in the remedy of the at-risk students. The theory also clarifies that a good application of community participation is very vital in the remedy of the at-risk-students.

Community involvement programme is very instrumental in enhancing the effectiveness of the strategies employed by parents, teachers, and the government. Some of the issues that the programme strives to address include geographical isolation, discrimination, limited resources, and low incomes that the at-risk children from aboriginal communities in Australia experience. Some of the strategies that teachers, societies, parents, and governments need to undertake include provision of resources, encouragement of the at-risk students, empowerment, education, enlightenment, and acting as role models (Burrus & Roberts, 2012).

The strategies are very crucial in minimisation of the challenges that the at-risk students experience in their daily lives. Through effective encouragement, enlightenment, and empowerment of the at-risk students, the challenges linked to bullying and aggressive behaviours reduce, since the students understand the value of presenting their views and suggestions assertively. Burrus and Roberts (2012) state that by educating the students on the importance of assertiveness and respect for others, their coexistence improves since they receive an understanding on how to relate with each other. Subsequently, the problem of drug and substance abuse among at-risk-students decreases since students occupy themselves with productive activities like group discussions and sports.

Through encouragement and the provision of relevant resources that facilitate easy access to quality education in schools, at-risk-students improve their performance in learning institutions. Therefore, problems such as reduced self-esteem and negative attitude towards education and teachers diminish. The government encourages and promotes good relationships between the teachers and students, as well as among students, teachers, and the parents, who become impressed with the positive results.

The main strategies employed by parents in the improvement of the at-risk students’ performance are monitoring and encouragement (Marilyn, 2004). Through effective monitoring, supervision, and encouragement, the at-risk students realise that their parents value their education and want them to succeed. Additionally, the at-risk-students enhance their understanding of the skills they acquire both in schools and at home during supervision (Martin & Cohen, 2000). Encouragement and monitoring of the students’ development are very practical in promoting their academic levels and their self-confidence.

Education of students on the significance of good communication skills is a strategy that the teachers, parents, and the society need to execute. By infusing good communication and relationship skills, the students understand the significance of relating well with others in school and in the community. Since parents and teachers are among the immediate role models for the at-risk students, they instil values, principles, and ethics in students.

Therefore, it is essential for teachers, parents and other individuals in the society to behave in a way that demonstrates modesty and integrity. When elders behave in a modest way, students acquire positive values and employ them to advance their relationships and teamwork with others (Christenson & Thurlow, 2004). The programme of community integration is one of the programmes that are essential in ensuring that the employed strategies become effective and address the challenges of the at-risk students.

Conclusion

The at-risk students experience various challenges that hamper their academic performances in schools and in the society. Low-income status, discrimination, geographical isolation, and limited resources are some of the factors that initiate the at-risk status of a child. From the study, it is evident that low-income earners in the society and poor family structure are among the main factors that contribute to at-risk state of students.

Additionally, the study reveals that the solutions to the challenges experienced by the at-risk students require the participation of parents, teachers, society, and the government. Several children, who come from low-income earning families, are at risk since they fail to access quality education and resources that facilitate augmented performance in learning institutions. Thoughtfully, the government, teachers, parents, and the society need to employ programmes like community involvement in combination with strategies that alleviate the predispositions of the at-risk students in learning institutions.

References

Barkley, A., Fischer, M., Smallish, L., & Fletcher, K. (2006). Young Adult Outcome of Hyperactive Children: Adaptive Functioning in Major Life Activities. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45(2), 192-202.

Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the Classroom. Review Article, 21(1), 141-170.

Brown, D., & Skinner, D. (2007). Brown-Skinner Model for Building Trust with At-Risk Students. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 20(3), 1-7.

Burrus, J., & Roberts, R. (2012). Dropping Out of High School: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Remediation Strategies. Research and Development Connections, 18(1), 1-8.

Christenson, S., & Thurlow, M. (2004). School Dropouts: Prevention Considerations, Interventions, and Challenges. Current Directions in Psychological Science 13(1), 36-39.

Currie J., & Stabile, M. (2006). Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation; The Case of ADHD. Journal of Health Economics, 25(6), 1094-1118.

Decker, D., Dona, D., & Christenson, S. (2007). Behaviourally At-Risk African American Students: The Importance of Student: Teacher Relationships for Student Outcomes. Journal of School Psychology, 45(6), 83-109.

Eastman, G., Cooney, S., O’Connor, C., & Small, S. (2007). Finding Effective Solutions to Truancy: What Works, Wisconsin. Research to Practice Series, 1(5), 1-15.

Felder, R., & Brent, R. (2005). Understanding Student Differences. Journal of Evaluating Education, 94(1), 57-72.

Klem, A., & Connell, J. (2004). Relationships Matter: Linking Teacher Support to Student Engagement and Achievement. Journal of School Health, 74(7), 262-273.

Marilyn, C. (2004). Identification of “At-Risk” Students for Prevention and Early Intervention Programmes in Secondary Schools. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 14(1), 65-77.

Martin, A., & Cohen, J. (2000). Adolescent Depression: Window of (Missed?) Opportunity (Editorial). American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(1), 1549-1551.

Muller, C. (2001). The Role of Caring in the Teacher-Student Relationship for At-Risk Students. Sociological Inquiry, 71(2), 241-255.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2004). Gender Differences in Risk Factors and Consequences for Alcohol Use and Problems. Clinical Psychology Review, 24(1), 981-1010.

Porowskia, A., & Passa, A. (2011). The Effect of Communities in Schools on High School Dropout and Graduation Rates: Results from a Multiyear, School-Level Quasi-Experimental Study. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 16(1), 24-37.

Spira, G., & Fischel, E. (2005). The Impact of Preschool Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity on Social and Academic Development: A Review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(7), 755-773.

Verlinden, S., Hersen, M., & Thomas, J. (2000). Risk Factors in School Shootings. Clinical Psychology Review, 20(1), 3-56.

Withers, G., & Russell, J. (2001). Educating for Resilience: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Young People at Risk. Sydney: ACER Press.

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