Teacher Tips > Who Are At-risk Students? How Do We Help Them?

Who Are At-risk Students? How Do We Help Them?

Teacher Tips

It is unfortunate to think that there are any students who struggle incessantly with education. In a perfect world, all students would be delivered with entirely equal opportunities. Sadly this is not the case. However, if a student is flagged as 'at-risk', there are methods in which to help. So what are they?

As much as labeling at-risk students is not something that is particularly enjoyable, it is necessary if there is any hope for them to be placed onto a path of correction. At-risk students are those who are deemed as unlikely to graduate on time. It is perceived that they lack the skills required in order to move on to the next level of education successfully.

Obviously, the modern education system does not lie down and accept that these students are beyond repair; in fact it is the complete opposite. Schools and teachers dedicate a vast amount of time, money and resources so as to best help these students.

Before any help can be offered though, a student must be correctly identified as at risk. To do this, teachers are provided with resources themselves, so they are best able to identify those who require extra help. For an at-risk student to be identified there is a criterion of emotions and characteristics that will help highlight whether or not they are indeed at-risk.

In a handbook written for teachers by author Jerry Conrath, these different characteristics were described. For example, an at-risk student can be identified as someone who has very low confidence in themselves and their self-worth. This in turn creates a mass of avoidance from any sort of class participation or active learning.

Furthermore, at-risk students have a much reduced, pessimistic and generally bleak view of a future. They lack any desire or direction as to where they want to take their education or indeed their lives. This is made worse by their lack of belief that they are capable of fulfilling their phenomenal potential as young people. In lacking an optimistic imagination, they are therefore not encouraged to even try, believing they are powerless.

Combating this is by no means an easy task. Teachers face a mountain to climb. They must keep their composure and consistently remind the student just how incredible they can be. By continuously encouraging the child, it gradually offers them a foundation that consists of not only a mentor, but a source of ever-lasting belief and support.

It is important that the student is made to feel like they belong. If they are feeling like outsiders in a world that is theirs as much as it is anybody else's is hardly beneficial. Teachers must never give up on encouraging the student forward into participating whenever possible. However, the student must not be pressured to the point that participating begins to appear as something negative.

Overall, by instilling a sense of real self-belief and developing a student's own recognition of just how worthy they are, at-risk students can begin to ascend to the heights that they are undoubtedly capable of.

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