One of the at-risk behaviors of the seventh grader concerns poor reading and comprehension skills. As a rule, students that lag behind the group feel inferior and can experience emotional stress which can become the reason of other emotional-social problems and gaps in behavior.
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The poor reading and comprehension skills can be qualified as unaddressed learning problems or as poor performance in class which can influence a student’s academic progress in other domains. The interventions to cope with this at-risk behavior include the following:
- Clear instructions and more attention can be paid to a student; besides, this individual should be involved into some special programs if other methods turn out to be ineffective.
- Work in groups or with a partner can be effective in terms of improvements to reading and comprehension skills.
- As a student shows interest in drawing, it is possible to visualize instructions to the reading tasks and make the understanding of material more available to this student.
The next at-risk behavior is the daydreaming which can have negative consequences on the student’s social-emotional behavior and academic progress. Such behavior results in lack of attention to the subjects learnt and influence on the overall social-emotional and academic progress of this student.
At the same time, daydreaming can be the result of self-analysis which is considered normal for the age of 13-18 when children start to think about the future and their future roles of adults. As parents of this individual are divorced, it is possible that the student is concerned about becoming an adult and experiencing the same problems as his/her parents. The interventions include the following:
- Removing distractions can be the first step to coping with the problem of not being focused. A student should know the goal and achieve it while a teacher can guide him/her on the way to attaining the goal.
- A teacher might allow movements in class for all students. These would be short breaks for children to think about things that distract them and to get down to learning after that.
- A teacher can make this student responsible for certain activities by assigning a role of a manger in class to this student. So, additional activities can help this student not to be distracted because when a person is responsible for the activities of the entire class, it can change his/her perception of the learning process.
Finally, lack of social skills can be treated as at-risk behavior because it can influence social-emotional behavior and academic progress. A teacher should do everything possible to make a student feel safe in class. Hylen (2008) emphasizes the importance of safe and healthy learning climate for children, especially those with at-risk behavior (pp. 18-20).
Regressive behavior of students can be seen in their academic achievements and their anti-social behavior (Kruger & Maher, 1990, p. 35). Possible interventions to cope with recess and lack of communication skills include the following:
- It is necessary to encourage a student to communicate with classmates. A teacher can introduce more tasks that require a work in team.
- A teacher can structure the class activities in a way that a student should cooperate with classmates before asking for teacher’s help or requiring some additional guidelines.
- A teacher can ask students that lack social skills to monitor the class activities and report about those in the end of every day.
Hylen, M. G. (2008). The impact of a character education based interactive discipline program on at-risk student behavior in an alternative school. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest.
Kruger, L. J., & Maher, C. A. (Eds.). (1990). Promoting success with at-risk students: Emerging perspectives and practical approaches. Binghamton, NY: Routledge.