Thursday, December 18, 2008

Description of learners: social background, experiential background, developmental level, motivation, knowledge level, and learning style

Through my four years of working with children from the ages of 10-16, I have conducted many formal and non-formal interviews with them about education and life in general. My findings show that the discussions varied as much as the individual. I found one truth to be highly self-evident: everyone likes to learn something new, especially if it is presented in a non intimidating fashion such as through the arts, multimedia displays or humor. No matter what the situation, everyone wants a little better for themselves, particularly if the source of dissemination of guiding ascension is trusted. Who better to trust than themselves with their own education, and that is what college is all about.

The students targeted for this presentation are all grades 6-12th. More specifically, these students are minority groups that include all races and ethnicities predominantly those who are placed at risk. This video will still be highly beneficial to all students any age or category notwithstanding. These learners are placed at risk by any of these factors that are mutually non exclusive: lower S.E.S., lower parental academic achievement and or low standardized test scores in reading, writing, math and science. They all also share in common their humanity: with the same level of fear and hate as well as love and compassion found in the rainbow that is human experience and as such, this video will explore artistically these diverse avenues for them.

After two years of careful observation (my main needs analysis tool) I have concluded that many placed at risk children generally view college as “not for them” either because of some association with their current socio-economic status, possibly in relation to their parent’s education, or through adverse social interactions. Also, possible achievement gaps may affect their own personal interest in continuing education. Many students feel that they don’t study anything interesting in secondary school, so “why keep wasting their time?” Many students have also shown very little knowledge about college and the process of getting into a college or university, as well as financing this life development. The majority know about scholarships, but not about grants, subsidies, funds and other investment tools that exist in society to foster and develop education for everyone, regardless of grades, economic status, social paradigms or any other factor.

Many placed at risk students also come from an environment that not only lacks fostering of educational ambitions4, but in fact and deed, castigates those who show ambition. These students nonetheless are bright, capable and enthusiastic about their futures and with proper guidance and understanding, can in fact not be relegated to a proverbial backseat in life, but to become the captains of their own vessels, in deed admirals of the scholarly seas.

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