Term Paper: Social Problems Affecting Students

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[. . .] Pregnancy, unfortunately, often leads to yet another problem for students and that is delinquency. SEICUS claims:

Pregnant teens and teen parents are special targets for dropout prevention. Effective programs should include basic skills as well as occupational preparation, accurate information and guidance related to sexuality and family planning, prenatal and family life instruction, and support networks of teachers and peers who can assist with low self-esteem, time and stress management, and long- and short-term goal setting. Pregnant teens and teen parents can participate in alternative high school programs or be mainstreamed in regular classrooms. (SEICUS Web site).

Perhaps the most dreaded of the problems teenagers face involves campus violence. Often, there has been made no distinction between the mass shootings of a disgruntled student and the gang-based or socio-economically driven shootings more common in urban areas.

The media has capitalized on the news opportunities in broadcasting constant blurbs on school shootings, but according to a recent article posted on the Edweek.org Web site, mass shootings and the shootings in the urban-area schools evolve from different causes:

While inner-city school violence is fueled by poverty, racial segregation, and the drug trade, write the authors of the National Research Council report released last week, the lethal gunplay in rural and suburban schools more closely resembles "rampage shootings" that occurred during roughly the same period in workplaces in the United States. (Bowan, Darcia Harris)

The researchers found no instances of that type of shooting in inner-city schools, the article claims.

Nel Nodding's book, The Challenge to Care in Schools, suggests teachers focus more on caring for and about their students. If teachers cared more for their students, students would be enabled, and would want to the teacher to be proud of his or her work. "Students will do things for people they like and trust." (36).

Another interesting work that promotes teacher as coach or a "coaching" style to learning is Theodore Sizer's Horace's School, in which he writes, "we learn well only when we are engaged" (85). Sizer claims that hands-on experiences as well as thought-provoking debate and student involvement is key to learning. The teacher's role, like that of an actual coach, is to set the students in motion and give guidance and support on their path.

The successful teacher as coach has several characteristics that work in this type of setting: He or she must motivate the students, set up the requirements of the task at hand, don't evaluate but instead describe and to use side coaching as frequently as possible.

The teacher must establish a sense of the classroom as a place where the students belong, a sense of belonging should be created to retain student interest. There are many cases where students don't even feel a sense of belonging at home, so the successful teacher may want to incorporate this into the classroom setting.

In conclusion, with the use of caring and coaching rather than "telling" and "lecturing," it is possible to establish a non-threatening rapport with students. In turn, this rapport can help keep the troubled students coming back rather than dropping out. A caring teacher can leave an indellible mark on a student that lasts far longer than the ink on last night's homework assignment.

Works Cited

Adolescent Pregnancy," Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United

States Web site, July 22, 2002 http://www.siecus.org/school/preg/preg0000.html

Bowman, Darcia Harris, "Lethal School Shootings Resemble Workplace Rampages,

Report Says," May 29, 2002, Edweek.org, July 22, 2002 http://www.edweek.org/ew/newstory.cfm?slug=38shoot.h21&keywords=delinquency

Teens, Alcohol and Other Drugs," November, 1998, Facts for Families series, American

Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). July 22, 2002 www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/teendrug.htm

Noddings, Nel, The Challenge to Care in Schools, Teachers College Press, Teachers

College, Columbia University, May 1, 1992, 36

Preventing Teen Suicide" American Academy of Pediatrics, July 22, 2002 http://www.aap.org/advocacy/childhealthmonth/prevteensuicide.htm

Sizer, Theodore, Horace's School, Houghton Mifflin, 1997, 85

Steinberg, Lawrence, Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform Has Failed and What Parents Need to Do, Simon & Schuster Trade, 1996 [END OF PREVIEW]

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