The purpose of this paper is to highlight three different groups within a typical classroom, the identifying characteristics of each, the challenges they pose and ways to accommodate them to advance learning.
Group 1: At Risk Students
Many at-risk students are ones with special educational needs, such as, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral problems. Most at-risk students soon drop out of school but, most have the following characteristics:
• Usually low academic achievers with low self-esteem.
• Most are males and minorities
• From low socioeconomic status families.
• Older age than their peers in the classroom.
• Have disciplinary and truancy problems.
• Exhibit impulsive behavior problems.
• Family problems, drugs, pregnancies, and other problems that interfere with their connection to school. This does not mean that these are the only students that will dropout of school. Some students that dropout of school comes from two-parent, middle income homes, and are actively involved in school and participate in school activities (Donnelly, 2000).
Challenges to teacher
Some of the challenges to teachers are:
• Must overcome the traditional concepts of education.
• Overcome the belief that at-risk students are deficient, and need slow skilled-based instructions.
• Must focus on working together in the classrooms as teams.
• Spend more time on coordinating instructions.
• Develop strategies for engaging students in active listening.
• Teachers must have significant support from administrators, community members, and parents (Ogle, 1997).
• Identifying at-risk students early.
• Regularly evaluate.
• Encourage participation in school and school’s activities.
• Create bridges between students and the curriculum so that students will understand the purposes and value of learning.
• Provide a warm classroom atmosphere and provide extra support
• Teacher should be alert to the symptoms of at-risk students.
• Curriculum should be at a level which includes some of their cultural, values and personal needs (Donnelly, 2000).
Group 2: Student with Behavioral Disorder
Most students that come from socioeconomic statues background are considered as special need students. These students are identified as having cognitive or behavioral problems. Their characteristics are as following:
• Has aggressive behavior toward others.
• Display bullying, threatening, or intimidating behavioral.
• Physically abusive to others.
• Destroy others property.
• Care little about other people feeling, wishes, and well-being.
• Feel no guilt or remorse.
• Blame other for their misfortunate.
• Low self-esteem (West Virginia University, 2007).
Challenges to teachers
• It is recommended that the functional behavioral assessment (FBA) of aggressive and negative behavioral be mandated for students with disabilities according to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997.