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Published: June 19, 2019
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By: Faith Walter, Columbia College Chicago
Expanding my knowledge around the different perspectives of identifying at-risk and diverse youth has greatly improved my capacity to assist the students and youth that I come in contact with directly and indirectly in my experiences as a special educator, a curriculum writer, a tutor, and an advocate for at-risk and diverse youth.
In artifact 1, I was able to apply my knowledge of different methods for identifying students as at-risk. I identified several students that I worked with as at-risk based upon criteria such as not meeting standards, environmental conditions, and characteristics of the individual. I discussed the pros and cons of identifying students as at-risk. As a special educator in a self-contained classroom, all of the students in my classroom are at-risk due to not meeting standards. If they met academic standards, then they would not be in a self-contained special education classroom. Looking at the other criteria for being identified as at-risk allowed me to understand that some of my students could also be categorized as at-risk for other reasons as well. By understanding these other ways of classifying my students as at-risk, I was able to better understand their needs as they related to the other ways in which they could be classified as at-risk and the strategies and techniques that I could employ that correspond with these areas, not just a failure to meet standards. In artifact 2, I was able to analyze situations using a sociological and a psychological approach to identify at-risk behavior. Recognizing both of these approaches have allowed me to understand the different ways that people can approach identifying youth as at-risk. By understanding the reasons why students are defined as at-risk, I am better able to understand the strategies and methods by which I can help them develop resilience and deal with the problems associated with being at-risk.