This paper will report on a qualitative study that sought to examine the perceptions of ‘at riskiness’ from the viewpoint of those educational professionals who worked directly with students ‘at risk’ in a variety of capacities within the educational setting. Interviews with staff that were directly involved with students identified as being ‘at risk’ were conducted to ascertain their understanding of factors that contributed to students being ‘at risk’, and how we as educators might best attempt to address students’ unique and varied needs. The overriding questions for the investigation were twofold. At one level the researchers were investigating the perceptions of what it means to be considered ‘at risk’, in essence, asking the proverbial question of “at risk of what”. On a deeper level, the present research sought to explore the nature of being ‘at risk’, and how ‘at risk’ is understood by personnel in the school environment who work closely with this particular group of students. The researchers conclude with a presentation of at risk ‘profiles’ which help identify a cluster of contributing factors and needs of students at risk. With these profiles, researchers and educators can identify students with similar academic, social, emotional, or psychological traits that may in turn assist them in developing and delivering appropriate services and programming. Although not completely individualized, such profiling and clustering may in some cases allow educators to more appropriately develop interventions to address the needs of groups of students with similar needs within the educational setting.
|Keywords:||At Risk, Deficit Thinking, Marginalized, Risk Factors, Student Engagement, Student Needs, Resiliency, Wraparound Services|
Professor, Faculty of Education, Education and Schooling , Special Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Professor, Science, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
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