At-risk students discussion

Robin Martin (
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:59:49 -0600

A university student at ISU in education recently posted this message to an
educational discussion list, and I was wondering how educators/staff from a
Sudbury-type school would react to these issues concerning the philosophy
toward interacting with "at-risk" students.



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>Subject: 426: At-risk students
>Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 20:12:59 CST
>From: Maranda J Marks <>
> In class today while we were discussing at -risk students it was
>mentioned that one successful way to deal with these students is to throw
>the entire label of at-risk away and not treat the students as at-risk at
>That solution seems safe as long as teachers remain aware of the backgrounds
>of the students in his/her classroom. It would be foolish to assume that a
>kid's personal life does not interfere with his/her schoolwork. Labels can
>be damaging, and if labeling kid's at risk hurts them then stop it. But
>there will most likely be situations where student's will need special
>attention, need to slow down and take the lessons a little slower, need to work
>independently, need specialists to keep him/her in line through out the day,
>need to study in small groups instead of alone, etc. I find it
>contradictory when in one paragraph we read that we are to recognize and
>respect each and every student's differences but continue to treat them as
>if they were all the same. It is utopian to suggest that the needs of all
>kinds of students can be met in one classroom, by one or two teachers.

>Someone wrote earlier asking how to work effectively with a student who does
>not speak a language she can understand [discussion on ebonics]. Without a
shared means of
>communication, teaching is impossible. Either the teacher must learn to
>speak her language or the student must learn English, until then and without
>a full time interpretor (sp?) I can see no way in which that student's needs
>can be met in that classroom. Is it the teacher's responsibility to learn
>the language when there is no other way?
>Just a thought.
>Maranda Marks