What Social Problems Affect Today's Students

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What Social Problems Affect Today's Students

  1. 1. WHAT SOCIAL PROBLEMS AFFECT TODAY’S STUDENTS? by Dr. Paul A. Rodríguez
  2. 2. <ul><li>Severe poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Homelessness </li></ul><ul><li>Teenage parenting </li></ul><ul><li>Child abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol and Drug abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Adolescent suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Violence and Vandalism </li></ul><ul><li>School dropout </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive societal problems do not occur in isolation, but rather tend to cluster or overlap </li></ul><ul><li>At-risk students—will have difficulty getting an adequate education </li></ul><ul><li>The child is not living wit two parents </li></ul><ul><li>The head of the household is a high school dropout </li></ul><ul><li>Family income is below the poverty line </li></ul><ul><li>The child is living with a parent or parents who do not have steady, full-time employment </li></ul><ul><li>The family is receiving welfare benefits </li></ul><ul><li>The child does not have health insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Risks multiply with each added factor </li></ul><ul><li>Many children from families with these risks overcome the odds to succeed in school and in life. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>No “typical family”—there no longer a typical family pattern. Rather, a number of economic and societal trends have resulted in families that come in many forms and, in turn, have a pervasive influence on children in school. </li></ul><ul><li>Family Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Single-parent Households—an increasing number of children are being raised by single parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching implications—single parents may have a very heavy workload and may be unable to attend parent-teacher conferences at the usual times </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers need more sensitivity in daily interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Family Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Family compositions—affects the amount of time children and their parents have to spend with one another and can also affect the quality of that together-time. </li></ul><ul><li>Working parents—many mothers now go to work or return to work when their children are very young </li></ul><ul><li>“ Latch-Key” children—80% of today’s students live in families in which either both parents work or the only parent works full time. Often times, children come home to empty homes or apartments after school. </li></ul><ul><li>Does your own family background reflect traditional or emerging family patterns? How do you think your upbringing will affect your ability to teach students from different family situations? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you prepare to work effectively with a variety of parents and caregivers? </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Socioeconomic status (SES)—is the term used by the U. S. Bureau of the Census to classify economic conditions of people using a family’s occupational status, income and educational attainment as measures of status. </li></ul><ul><li>The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer—people in socioeconomic status are seen as being lower-class people who have little prestige or power </li></ul><ul><li>Who Are the Poor? </li></ul><ul><li>One in six children is poor </li></ul><ul><li>America is losing sight of its children. In decisions made every day we are placing them at the bottom of the agenda, with grave consequences for the future of the nation </li></ul><ul><li>--Ernest Boyer, Former U. S. Commissioner of Education </li></ul><ul><li>Homelessness—for families in or close to poverty, the threat of homelessness is very real. Poor families often pay more than one-half of their annual incomes in rent. </li></ul><ul><li>Obstacles for homeless schoolchildren—are often on their own, having run away from home or been thrown out by their families </li></ul><ul><li>Have been physically or sexually abused </li></ul><ul><li>Suffer from drug or alcohol abuse, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, exposure to the elements and lack of health care </li></ul><ul><li>School can be a stabilizing force in the lives of these children, but it can also exacerbate their problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Homeless children require teacher’s support—and understanding from you. Some may be malnourished or physically dirty because they lack access to shower or tub facilities </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>School and Teacher Responses </li></ul><ul><li>Schools are not designed to serve poor children. The schools in the U. S. were created and continue to be supported by the middle class to perpetuate the middle-class way of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Middle-class people want their children to be like themselves or possibly somewhat better, so they have built and continue to pay for a school system that reflects their values and supports their way of life with which they feel comfortable. </li></ul><ul><li>Eradicating the ravages of poverty and its withering effect on children should be at the top of our agenda as citizens of this nation and as educators. Although, there are many important and solvable problems to work on, we cannot afford—in justice—to ignore this need for change. </li></ul><ul><li>Social classes have hidden rules—unspoken clues that individuals in different socioeconomic groups use in decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Generational poverty—(being in poverty for two generations or longer), the driving forces are survival, entertainment and relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to permanently abandon the belief that race and poverty determine how much students can and will learn </li></ul><ul><li>--Kati Haycock, Director of The Education Trust </li></ul><ul><li>What are the challenges in teaching poor children? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you interested in teaching children from poverty situations? Why or why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you thin it is so difficult for schools to overcome the effects of poverty on the academic achievement for poor children? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Teenage Parenting </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship of teen pregnancy and poverty—the poverty rate for children born to a teenage mother who has never married and who did not graduate from high school is 78% </li></ul><ul><li>Four-fifths of teenage births occur out of wedlock, male parents often feel little responsibility for their children </li></ul><ul><li>Steps taken by schools—schools are permitting young mothers to bring their babies with them to school </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching implications </li></ul><ul><li>Sex education programs </li></ul><ul><li>Some schools operate clinics where students can obtain birth control information </li></ul><ul><li>Sex Education </li></ul><ul><li>Controversies about sex education—are prevalent. Courts have also supported the right of state boards of education and local school boards to offer sex education in the curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Goals of Sex Education </li></ul><ul><li>Dropout problem—many teenage mothers dropout of school. This drastically diminishes their job and career opportunities as adults </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of sexually transmitted diseases—sex education helps to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Sex Education </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive sex education and abstinence programs delay the onset of sexual activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of district policy </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Abused and Neglected Children </li></ul><ul><li>Many cases unreported—physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment and maltreatment </li></ul><ul><li>Effects of abuse—the toll that abuse and neglect take on children’s physical, emotional and psychological development is difficult to assess. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher’s responsibility—are to be always ethical and follow legality. Look for: </li></ul><ul><li>Repeated injuries such as bruises to the head or abdomen, welts and burns </li></ul><ul><li>Neglected appearance, stealing food, difficulty staying awake, or poor hygiene </li></ul><ul><li>Sudden fall-off in academic performance </li></ul><ul><li>Disruptive or passive, withdrawn behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Secret or furtive behavior when using the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>What can schools, teachers and other social agencies do to help parents and children avoid abuse? </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol and Drug Abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol, a major problem—is the most commonly abused substance, and the first use of alcohol may occur at a young age, sometimes in elementary school. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical and emotional damage—can be long lasting </li></ul><ul><li>The Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act—provides safe, disciplined and drug-free environments conducive to learning by eliminating violence in the and around schools and preventing illegal drug use on school property. </li></ul><ul><li>Which elements of school culture serve to condone or even encourage student drinking and drug use? Which elements could be used to discourage substance abuse? </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Adolescent Suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Suicide is third only to motor vehicle accidents and homicide as a leading cause of adolescent death in the United States. Each year approximately 4,300 people ages 15-24 take their own lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Risk factors—one in twelve high school students attempts suicide, and one-fifth of all high school students report they have “seriously considered” suicide within the last twelve months </li></ul><ul><li>Warning Signs </li></ul><ul><li>Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking access to firearms or pills </li></ul><ul><li>Expressing rage or violent or rebellious behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Expressing no purpose in life or reason for living </li></ul><ul><li>Drug or alcohol abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety, agitation or inability to sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatic mood changes </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork </li></ul><ul><li>Acting reckless or engaging in risky behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities </li></ul><ul><li>Withdrawing from friends or family </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching implications—seek a support network of the guidance counselor, social worker, and/or the school psychologist </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>School Violence and Vandalism </li></ul><ul><li>Costs resulting from vandalism or violence include expenditures for building repairs, skyrocketing premiums for liability insurance, human costs in terms of injuries to students and teachers, and, in extreme cases, even deaths. </li></ul><ul><li>School crime statistics—serious violent crime constitutes a small percentage of the total amount of school crime, and homicide is extremely rare. </li></ul><ul><li>However, many students still fear going to school because of threatened violence. Many high school students report not going to school at some point because of safety concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Gangs </li></ul><ul><li>Gangs are often stereotyped as belonging to the lower class, some are children from middle-class, suburban families who commit acts of vandalism, robbery and drug dealing out of boredom or feelings of alienation from family or friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Combating gang influence: </li></ul><ul><li>Establish and enforce clear codes of school conduct that stress the unacceptability of gang behavior and the prohibition of weapons </li></ul><ul><li>Establish programs that stress positive youth involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Assimilate gang-oriented students into the mainstream—academically, socially and through extracurricular activities </li></ul><ul><li>Create school programs that focus on nonviolent conflict resolution and gang prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Take quick, decisive actions when instances of gang activity occur on school grounds </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibit gang “colors” insignia, and other signs of gang membership </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Bullying </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone who has attended school most likely has memories of themselves or friends of theirs being frightened by a bully </li></ul><ul><li>Cyberbullying—is of growing concern. This refers to bullying through information and communication technologies such as mobile phone text messages, email messages, Internet chat rooms and social networking websites such as My Space, Facebook and Twitter. </li></ul><ul><li>Zero-Tolerance Policies—for aggressive behavior, under which they automatically suspend any student who harasses another student. </li></ul><ul><li>Measures adopted by schools include the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Enacting zero-tolerance policies regarding weapons—tha3t is, carrying a weapon to school will automatically result in expulsion </li></ul><ul><li>Creating alternative schools for students with a history of violence </li></ul><ul><li>Requiring students to wear uniforms </li></ul><ul><li>Employing security measures such as visitor sign-in requirements and use of metal detectors </li></ul><ul><li>Having police or other law enforcement officials stationed at the school </li></ul><ul><li>Offering students and staff various types of violence prevention programs </li></ul><ul><li>Developing good relationships reduce violence </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>For the schools: </li></ul><ul><li>Establish common goals </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a firm, fair and consistent system </li></ul><ul><li>Establish high expectations for the behavior and performance of students and staff </li></ul><ul><li>Create a curriculum that supports the values of honesty, integrity, kindness, and respect for others. </li></ul><ul><li>Create alternative schools for serious offenders </li></ul><ul><li>Provide students and teachers with training in effective communication </li></ul><ul><li>Develop intensive skills in classroom management </li></ul><ul><li>Student Cheating </li></ul><ul><li>What to do : </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t give the same test over and over again </li></ul><ul><li>Separate students so they can’t see one another’s papers </li></ul><ul><li>Make it clear to students that cheating is unacceptable behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Establish an honor system using student input, so that students will be invested in the system </li></ul><ul><li>Require students to sign a pledge that they have not received or given unauthorized aid on tests, papers and assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Forbid students from carrying electronic devices, including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones, when taking test </li></ul><ul><li>Most importantly, institute character education programs that can help students to establish a moral compass </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>I am often asked whether I approve of compulsory education, and I usually reply that I do and that I wish we had it; we only have compulsory attendance </li></ul><ul><li>--John Bremer, Former Superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can discourage students from dropping out by showing interest and care in their students and by talking to and encouraging the. Knowing your students well can help detect changes in their attitudes and work habits. </li></ul><ul><li>Can a secondary-level teacher, who may have 150 students each day, get to know them all well? </li></ul><ul><li>When you were in high school, did you know any students who dropped out? If so, what were their reasons for doing so? </li></ul><ul><li>Key Terms </li></ul><ul><li>At-risk students </li></ul><ul><li>Cyberbullying </li></ul><ul><li>Generational poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Socioeconomic status </li></ul><ul><li>Zero-tolerance polices </li></ul>

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