Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lit Review 13

Title: Dimensions of Underachievement, difficult contexts and perceptions of self
Author: Maureen Neihart
Purpose: examine achievment affiliation conflicts in gifted adolescents; offer strategies/interventions/supports to manage and to cope
Methodology: Cites three studies: National Educational Longitudinal Study--25,000 students tracked from 8th to 12th grades
Survey of 193 women graduates from Smith College
Study of 27 boys from low socioeconomic backgrounds attending an elite prep school

Research shows that: Hispanic and poor students drop out of school much more frequently than others
The achievement gap persists between black and white students
75% of affluent students go to college/50% of disadvantaged students do
(only 30% at Grand Prairie High School do)
Achievement/affiliation conflicts are common during adolescence among gifted females, gifted minority students, gifted disadvantaged students and some gifted males--these conflicts act as an eroding influence on their aspirations and self-concept

Academic disidentification is much more pronounced among African American males than any other group
Researchers postulate that peer influence has much to do with this disengagement--associating achievement with betrayal of the cultural group
Pursuit of academic excellence has psychological costs for minority and disadvantaged students--they feel invisible, marginalized, powerless, isolated, discriminated against, rejected by family and friends

In the study from Smith College: women from working class backgrounds reported significantly more social alienation and less academic preparedness

The study of 27 boys showed that they perceived lower expectations for themselves based on their economic status
They were also concerned that achievement might separate them from who they had been

Students with lower socioeconomic status may deny their talent not only bedfcause of conflicting messages, but they are uncomfortable negotiating the crossing of class boundaries. Minimizing abilities avoids discomfort.
Low income families may place more emphasis on marrying young and securing a job than going to college. Some see college as not worth the financial sacrifice; where no one in the family has college experience, they may be unaware of financial aid.

Coping strategies:
student organizations--band together, peer group networks, role models, mentors
Discussion of race, identity, achievement--talk, see, name the issues
Speakers-role models
Teach code switching--what behaviors are valued and acceptable in which environment, i.e. questioning authority and critical thinking may be valued in school, but not at home
Conversations/relationships with adults who do this may help with the coping strategy

Cinematherapy--may both be useful--read and watch people who resoved achievement conflicts--movie suggestions include "Billy Elliott," "October Sky," "Smoke Signals," "Finding Forrester."

Create a welcoming learning environment

No comments: