Understanding Students Strengths and Struggles

Understanding Students Strengths and Struggles

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF AN ARTICLE POINT: What are the main points or arguments the author(s) make in the article? What are the key inferences and conclusions the author(s) make? The article I chose is entitled “Understanding Students’ Strengths and Struggles. ” Overall, the main points of the article focus on the importance of teachers building strong relationships with students. Students come from all walks of life so it is critical that teachers take the initiative to recognize their unique challenges and situations.

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Many teachers do not know the strengths and struggles students are faced with on a daily basis so it is vital for them to have an open-minded relationship with their students so that they will remain engaged in school. Moreover, some students may feel as if they are stereotyped by society in general, which can have negative effects from a behavioral aspect and most importantly from an academic standpoint. Students that come from higher income families tend to do better in school as opposed to students that endure tough circumstances in and outside of the school atmosphere.

Disadvantaged students are less likely to succeed in school as well as in life, so those meaningful connections they develop with their teachers give them a sense of value within the classroom and can ultimately foster academic success. Students are ardently aware of how teachers distribute the most precious resource of all; their time and general interest in the students. Society as a whole needs to cultivate constructive environments to adapt to the importunate social and economical preconceived notions that can potentially hinder students from being successful.

EVIDENCE: What evidence or information is given to support the points, inferences, or arguments? Is the evidence a fact or measurement about something that has actually occurred? Are data or measurements presented? If so, what are they? The author presents evidence to support the main point of the article through conducting various studies regarding students from diverse backgrounds in building positive teacher/student relationships. “Relationships are a key element of that persistent hope”, in which the author revealed in a study of low-income students.

The study revolved around how they made the adjustment to middle school from elementary school. “In an ethnographic study that focused on the transition from 6th to 7th grade, the author explored how 30 students from economically diverse backgrounds adjusted to their new school socially and academically (San Antonio, 2004). ” These students were entering into a larger area middle school from their small-town elementary schools. The students either came from the community of Hillside, where many families struggled to pay the necessities, or the wealthier community of Lakeview.

The author used several outlets as well as observations to investigate the degree to which students interacted with their peers and teachers and how these relationships played a consistent role in their performance and success in school. The students constantly mentioned the need to have good relationships with fellow students and teachers in their new school. Students definitely take notice when teachers take a genuine interest in their overall well being. The students the author interviewed expressed that they needed their teachers to help them become more interested about performing well in the classroom.

The students also wanted the teachers’ assistance when it came to being valued by their classmates. Hillside students alleged that for some of their classmates, these relationships were already present. One particular student mentioned that the teachers tend to know the families of higher income students. This could possibly be true because those particular teachers may frequent the same places as the higher income families. He went on to say that some of the teachers may even give more time and interest to the Lakeview kids because they are from the same town. They actually know the student on a name by name basis as well as their families.

They have more in common so they take more interest in them. Another student added that she would like for her teachers to make a conscious effort to get to know more about her as a whole: “They just see me as someone who is really quiet and doesn’t really talk a lot. ” Students were convinced that student relationships across various income ranges partially impacted how their teachers’ interacted with all their students. “Social class lines often become more visible in middle school as a result of ability grouping, selective sports teams, and elected positions, such as student council. As placement decisions play out, low-income tudents face serious barriers. In economically and racially diverse schools that use ability grouping, students from low-income backgrounds and students of color are disproportionately left out of advanced classes (Brantlinger, 2003; Oakes, Adam, & Page, 1992). ” The author noted, it was also evident in the study, the four Hilllside boys with consistent math test scores who were ranked around the 85th percentile — and only two Hillside girls — were enrolled in higher level math courses in 8th grade, while all of the nine Lakeview students in this category were already current students in the upper level math courses.

RELIABILITY: What is the source of the information or evidence? Does the evidence have an identified source (for example a specific person, organization, publication, web site, journal, or book)? Is the source a primary source (original author) or is it secondary or further removed (textbook)? If authorities are cited, what credentials do they have? Do you think the source is credible? Why or why not?

The source of the evidence comes from Donna Marie San Antonio who is a lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Executive Director of the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Other outlets include several websites, publications, books, and organizations. There are a couple of references that were cited in the article, in which they are credible in their own right.

Credentials range from a variety of education backgrounds which include Johns Hopkins University, Center for the Social Organization of Schools, the Economic Policy Institute, and Albany, NY: SUNY Press, etc. PERSUASIVENESS: Is the evidence consistent with the argument? Is the argument convincing? If yes, explain why. If not, explain why not. Is there another way to interpret the evidence? If there is insufficient evidence for you to judge the argument, what specific additional evidence would be needed for you to judge the validity of the claim? Overall, the evidence is clear and concise in comparison with the argument.

The argument is convincing because students experience academic as well as social inequalities on a daily basis. I actually experienced many hardships/stereotypes when I was in school. Being and African American female student in the 60s and 70s in Birmingham, Alabama was very difficult. Economic hardships were evident within my household as well as throughout my community. I lived in a small town called Mulga, which was a coal mining community. My father worked in the mine and my mother worked for a nearby doctor’s office, where she was a maid. She actually cared for the doctor’s children and took care of other duties within the household.

Although both my parents worked, I had six siblings, so with that said, having to care for seven children oftentimes made it difficult to for them to make ends meet. Those economic hardships played a huge role in our performance at school. I will say that some of my teachers took a genuine interest in my academic success no matter what my background was. There were students from all walks of life, similar to the students in this article. You had your high income families as well as your low income families, in which other teachers took more interest to some rather than others.

Stereotypes of the students by the teachers were definitely evident which played a major role in building positive relationships with the students as a whole. WORLD VIEW: What general assumptions does the author have underlying their thinking? What are they taking for granted? What World view does the author have? Is there another World view or point of view that the author should consider? From a worldview perspective, the author talks about “what resources students need in order to experience academic and social success at school — things like nice clothing, a place to study, high-speed Internet connection, and summer sports camps.

If I’ve done my job well, by the time this exercise is over, students have a different level of awareness about attitudes, values, and the mind-boggling inequalities around us that often remain unexamined. ” (San Antonio, 2004). In my opinion, I don’t think the author is taking anything for granted because she has a World view that it is extremely important for teachers to build positive relationships with their students in order for them to become successful citizens of society. There is another World view that should be considered, in that regard, I think teachers who actually care about their students should be recognized more.

Oftentimes teachers who foster positive environments for their students are overlooked. There is no way a teacher can teach a student if they don’t know them. It would be like talking to a brick wall. I definitely think that having a strong teacher/student relationship enables at-risk students to make life altering changes. YOUR TAKE: What do you agree and disagree with in the article? In conclusion, I agree with the entire article because it definitely revealed how important it is for teachers to give their students time and attention.

No matter what background they come from, all students deserve the same respect from a teacher who truly cares about their overall well being. In my opinion, most people who choose teaching as their profession have a passion for helping others succeed. However, you have those teachers who just show up to school to get a paycheck. Teachers have the opportunity to truly impact the lives of their students, so it should be their ultimate goal to ensure that each student reach their full potential both in and outside the classroom.

References San Antonio, D. M. (2004). Adolescent lives in transition. How social class influences the adjustment to middle school. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Brantlinger, E. (2003). Dividing classes: How the middle class negotiates and rationalizes school advantage. New York: Routledge Palmer. Oakes, J. , Adam, G. , & Page, R. (1992). Curriculum differentiation. In R Jackson (Ed. ), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 570-608). New York: Macmillan


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