Supporting students at risk

Bland, Derek C. (2008) Supporting students at risk. In Tangen, Donna J., Bland, Derek C., Spooner-Lane, Rebecca S., Sedgley, Teresa L., Mergler, Amanda G., Mercer, Louise, et al. (Eds.) Engaging diverse learners. Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW, pp. 143-165.

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The term 'at risk' is used broadly within the education sector to describe a range of situations and behaviours that may lead to negative educational and social outcomes for students. We need, however, to be clear in our own thinking about the type of risk that various situations present in order to give effective assistance to students.

In general, there are two distinct discourses of being at risk applied to school students: firstly, at risk of academic failure includes passive disengagement from schooling and dropping out; secondly, at risk of harm, includes abuse, self-harm and suicide. While the discourses may be discrete, however, there is also considerable overlap at times and resolution may require both environmental and behavioural considerations. Indeed, the consequences of academic failure, such as early school drop-out, may be to place the individual at further risk, jeopardising development as a mentally and physically healthy adult. Failure to complete compulsory schooling, unemployment, unsafe health practices and low self-worth are among the risk factors that may lead to inability to fully develop as an adult (Kelly, 2001).

In this chapter, we will examine both discourses independently, considering the related behaviours, the attribution of responsibility, and ways in which the situations may be addressed. We will also note systemic similarities in addressing the needs of all at risk students and conclude by examining the characteristics of teachers and classrooms that minimise both academic risk and risk of harm.

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ID Code: 13530
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Keywords: at risk students, educational disengagement
ISBN: 9781442501126
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Pearson Education Australia
Deposited On: 09 May 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:44

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