Understanding Students Strengths and Struggles

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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. 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...
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