ERIC Number: ED313471
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Mar
Adjustment before Learning: The Curricular Dilemma in Programs for At-Risk Students.
Smith, Gregory A.
This paper argues that programs for at-risk youth tend to overemphasize student adjustment and the mastery of institutional customs at the expense of instilling learning dispositions that might lead to the postsecondary educational training now required to find adequate adult employment. Programs often focus on drawing students into a more embracing educational environment in the hope of improving student self-esteem and encouraging conformity with school regulations regarding attendance, behavior, and work habits. In this process academic and curricular innovation is often slighted. The aim of many dropout prevention programs tends to be limited to high school graduation and the inculcation of behaviors valued in non-managerial employees. This orientation to education, thought at one time to be practical, is increasingly untenable in an economy where jobs that pay a livable wage go only to those who have some advanced training. It is imperative that programs for at-risk youth prepare their students for the necessity of that training and help them acquire the skills, dispositions, and independence required to seek out and master it. A curriculum more thoughtfully tied into the social and pedagogical practices already present in at-risk programs might facilitate this process. The paper includes two references. (AF)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Standards, Behavior Standards, Curriculum Development, Dropout Prevention, Education Work Relationship, Educational Practices, High Risk Students, Outcomes of Education, Postsecondary Education, Secondary Education, Socialization, Student Adjustment, Student Educational Objectives
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Teachers; Practitioners
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.