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Against the Odds. How "At–Risk" Students Exceed Expectations

  • ID: 2215424
  • Book
  • 192 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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In the next millennium, the already booming numbers of poor and minority children in our nation?often labeled as children "at risk"?are projected to dramatically increase. Historically, these youngsters have frequently experienced failure in school.

In Against the Odds, Harvard professor Janine Bempechat insists that history need not repeat itself. But what can we do to ensure that today?s poor and minority children perform well in school, reach their full intellectual potential, and, essentially, beat the odds? From an original position that isolates the factors that predict academic performance, Bempechat shatters the myths about success and failure among poor and minority students. With sound analysis and practical advice, Bempechat gives parents, educators?and anyone interested in the well–being of children?hope and inspiration as they strive for academic excellence in all our children.

Focusing on the factors that contribute to academic success?rather than analyzing the conditions that lead to failure and underachievement?Bempechat?s book is a unique contribution to the understanding of societal and cultural effects on learning. This vital resource draws on a six–year study that closely followed high–achieving poor and minority students in order to uncover the key behind their academic accomplishments. More than one thousand high–achieving fifth and sixth grade African American, Latino, Indochinese, and Caucasian students in both public and private schools were studied to discover the answers to the fundamental questions at the very heart of this important work: What goes on in homes where children are doing well in school when so many others falter? How do these homes differ from those where children are performing poorly? Against the Odds reveals that high–achieving children, no matter what their ethnic or cultural background, have similar perceptions about their parents′ educational beliefs and practices. And, surprisingly, Bempechat′s research counters the commonly held view that academic success is tied primarily to an individual?s belief in effort.

Written for teachers, psychologists, counselors, mentors?anyone interested in the welfare of children?Against the Odds is a guide to help create policy and curricula that will foster excellence and enable children?rich, middle–class, poor, minority, nonminority?to achieve their full potential.

Hope and Insights to Encourage Academic Success In Children
Against the Odds follows over one thousand poor and minority students who?despite the odds?achieved academic excellence. Shedding light on the common factors that contributed to their success, this important book is a valuable guide, presenting parents and educators with an eye–opening perspective and practical advice that offer hope and inspiration to anyone interested in the well–being of children.

"In Against the Odds, Janine Bempechat shines a spotlight on the ways in which parents affect their children′s motivation to achieve in school. But, unlike previous work that disparages parents of low–achieving students?particularly those from low–income or ethnic minority backgrounds?Bempechat focuses on families whose children are succeeding, often despite poverty, racism, and inadequate schools. Written in an engaging, accessible style, Against the Odds is a valuable resource for all teachers, parents, and scholars interested in how families can promote children′s achievement in school." ?Susan D. Holloway, adjunct professor of education, Department of Education, University of California, Berkeley

"Bempechat′s well–written book takes a fresh look at vital questions about the academic achievement of minority children. Her examination of academically successful children within several different ′at–risk′ ethnic groups yields unconventional and original insights about how children are socialized for schooling. A valuable contribution to the literature on achievement and motivation in multiethnic nations!" ?Herbert P. Ginsburg, Jacob H. Schiff Foundation professor of psychology and education, Teachers College, Columbia University

"Against the Odds is a wise and practical blend of research and experience written to be understood by teachers and parents. Janine Bempechat has written a book we all need to read, one that will stretch us in nurturing the development of ?at risk? children." ?Sister Ann Dominic Roach, superintendent of schools, Archdiocese of Boston

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1. Introduction: Learning from Poor and Minority Students Who Succeed.

2. Misguided Notions About Underachievement.

3. The Critical Roles of Parents.

4. Children′s Understanding of Success and Failure.

5. Success in Mathematics.

6. Overall Success in School.

7. Lessons for Parents and Teachers.

8. "To Seek Mind Where it is Mindful".
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Janine Bempechat
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