*NEW* Column: At-Risk Kids by Bill PageBy Bill Page
Question of the Month
Will teachers be more effective this year than they were last year? Answer: No, unless they are offered opportunities to reflect, evaluate, and dialogue with colleagues. Reflection involves stepping back mentally to analyze, examine, and share dimensions of the experiences, with reactions, attitudes, and assessments.
Quote of the Month
“Attitudes are defined as a tendency to react even though the reaction does not take place. Attitudes are strong influence upon overt behavior and also strongly influence the kinds of satisfactions and values individuals choose.” (Ralph W. Taylor) Thus my mention of “a test” may cause you to react–“turn up your nose”—even though nothing has occurred, yet, except mention of the term.
At-Risk Problem of the Month
Attitude is always present in some degree in every lesson and in every student and teacher. But it cannot be changed through external demands. Attitude is changed by a change in personal reflection, meaning, and new or different perceptions.
Teachers Can’t Hide Their Attitudes toward Troublemakers
An At-Risk Kid Can Recognize a Bad Attitude from 40 Paces.
Ninety percent of emotional communication in school is via nonverbal cues. Teachers can’t hide their feelings and attitudes towards at-risk kids. Teachers may not realize they are showing disdain, disappointment, or rejection. A principal told me his third grade son came home after the first day of school complaining, “Ms. Adams hates kids.” The principal replied, “I have been in that school with Ms. Adams for six years; she loves kids.” To which the son questioned, “Then why doesn’t she tell her face that?”
Teacher Study Groups Can Improve Efficacy
Teacher study groups can take the “risk” out of “at-risk”. Teachers need “How-to-do-it ideas” for working with at-risk kids, but what they need even more is collaboration with colleagues to examine and discuss ways to increase efficacy and to reduce failure, dropping-out, non participation—not because teachers can solve the problems best, but because teachers, together, are the only ones who can solve the problem at all.
Attitudes Are Overriding
At-risk kids respond immediately to teachers’ attitudes, which, because of these kids’ lack of involvement, are most often negative. Teacher study groups have emerged as an effective and highly desirable procedure for helping teachers examine their attitudes, feelings, and empathy toward the kids who don’t or won’t even try to learn. Attitudes are the one part of teaching kids recognize and respond to unerringly. For teachers to work effectively with kids known for misbehavior and failure, teachers must change their attitudes before effectively offering new and different teaching procedures.
Teachers cannot change their attitudes without challenging their underlying beliefs and assumptions. That takes in-depth analysis, examination, and discussions with other teachers’ thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Faculty focus groups, in lieu of traditional in-service can begin changing the entire school’s daily struggle with the demoralized, defiant kids who “never have a good day”. Study groups with common goals and reciprocal interaction help everyone and make good teachers even better.
The Emotional Component of Teaching Requires Reflection
Group Study impacts teachers at an emotional level, where real change begins. Teachers gain new insights and meanings by reflecting on daily experiences. Reflection is at the heart of teacher improvement. Meaningful learning comes as teachers share, critique, ponder, explore, review, analyze, question, exchange, and compare experiences.
“At-Risk Students”, with its 31 chapters “skip and select” format, is ideal for moving teachers from mere intellectual acceptance of at-risk problems to emotional and empathetic actions. With colleagues involved, the initial ”How to do it” interest, quickly becomes a “Let’s do it” attitude as Individual teachers identify specific students and plan together for improving their interactions and relationships.
With joy in sharing, Bill Page www.At-RiskStudents.com
Quantity Discounts for Book Study Groups
Educators considering teacher study groups are invited to request an examination copy of At-Risk Students: Feeling Their Pain and group discounts up to 40 percent. Send request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Remediation Doesn’t Work
(At All for Anyone Ever, Period)
If remediation works, why don’t we take all of the kids who are behind,
catch them up and be done with it! Why continue to remediate and
flunk the same kids year after year? Remediation doesn’t work!