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ERIC Number: EJ852082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
Redefining "At-Risk" to Meet the Needs of the Contemporary Classroom
Robinson, Nicole
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v3 n3 Dec 2004
Educators face many challenges in the classroom. One of the most difficult challenges is structuring school success for students who do not meet the goals and objectives of the educational system. Enrollment of these students, generally referred to as "at-risk", has dramatically increased (more than 250%) over the past two decades (Franklin, 1994). In effort to find solutions, educators have employed various techniques and implemented several remediation programs to increase the academic success of these students. Some of these initiatives have been deemed successful, some not. Solutions become complicated and elusive particularly since there is no commonly supported definition of what "at-risk" means or which students' should be classified by this label. The term at-risk often has various meanings. Traditionally, "at-risk" definitions are usually examined in three broad contexts: academic achievement, student motivation, and predicting risk. In order to reach and understand "at-risk" students, educators must be compassionate about the students' world and their personal situations. They must become compassionate toward family issues, mental or physical difficulties, and academic and learning deficiencies, which may not be familiar to some personally. They must not generalize at-risk students inaccurately or inappropriately based on preconceived perceptions and judgments. And ultimately, they must remember that at-risk students are not only those in urban/inner-city schools, of low socioeconomic status, and/or who are of minority or ethnic backgrounds. Much work remains to be done before "at-risk students" become "unlabeled students" in schools. The foundation of this change may have to begin with perceptions and attitudes educators possess, resulting from their limited personal human experiences. As educators, they must keep in the forefront of their minds that no child is inherently at-risk, but placed into at-risk situations by external disadvantages: "if the conditions were to be eliminated or their efforts were to be significantly reduced, the children in question would no longer properly be termed at-risk" (Rossi, 1994).
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A