Against the Odds: How ''At-Risk'' Students Exceed Expectations / Edition 1

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In the next millennium, the already booming numbers of poor andminority children in our nation-often labeled as children "at risk"are projected to dramatically increase. Historically, theseyoungsters have frequently experienced failure in school.

In Against the Odds, Harvard professor Janine Bempechatinsists that history need not repeat itself. But what can we do toensure that today's poor and minority children perform well inschool, reach their full intellectual potential, and, essentially,beat the odds. From an original position that isolates the factorsthat predict academic performance, Bempechat shatters the mythsabout success and failure among poor and minority students. Withsound 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 allour children.

Focusing on the factors that contribute to academic success—rather than analyzing the conditions that lead to failure andunderachievement. Bempechat's book is a unique contribution to theunderstanding of societal and cultural effects on learning. Thisvital resource draws on a six-year study that closely followedhigh-achieving poor and minority students in order to uncover thekey behind their academic accomplishments. More than one thousandhigh-achieving fifth and sixth grade African American, Latino,Indochinese, and Caucasian students in both public and privateschools were studied to discover the answers to the fundamentalquestions at the very heart of this important work: What goes on inhomes where children are doing well in school when so many othersfalter? How do these homes differ from those where children areperforming poorly? Against the Odds reveals that high-achievingchildren, no matter what their ethnic or cultural background, havesimilar perceptions about their parents' educational beliefs andpractices.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Against the Odds, Janine Bempechat shines a spotlight on theways in which parents affect their children's motivation to achievein school. But, unlike previous work that disparages parents oflow-achieving students-particularly those from low-income or ethnicminority backgrounds-Bempechat focuses on families whose childrenare succeeding, often despite poverty, racism, and inadequateschools. Written in an engaging, accessible style, Against the Oddsis a valuable resource for all teachers, parents, and scholarsinterested in how families can promote children's achievement inschool." —Susan D. Holloway, adjunct professor of education,Department of Education, University of California, Berkeley

"Bempechat's well-written book takes a fresh look at vitalquestions about the academic achievement of minority children. Herexamination of academically successful children within severaldifferent 'at-risk' ethnic groups yields unconventional andoriginal insights about how children are socialized for schooling.A valuable contribution to the literature on achievement andmotivation in multiethnic nations!" —Herbert P. Ginsburg, Jacob H.Schiff Foundation professor of psychology and education, TeachersCollege, Columbia University

"Against the Odds is a wise and practical blAnd of research andexperience written to be understood by teachers and parents. JanineBempechat has written a book we all need to read, one that willstretch us in nurturing the development of ?at risk' children."—Sister Ann Dominic Roach, superintAndent of schools, Archdioceseof Boston

Shatters myths about success and failure among poor and minority students, and gives parents and educators inspiration as they strive for academic excellence in all children. Focuses on factors that contribute to academic success and looks at societal and cultural effects on learning, drawing on a six-year study that closely followed high-achieving poor and minority students in both public and private schools. Concludes that what goes on in the homes of high achievers is the key to their academic accomplishments. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787943851
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/10/1998
  • Series: Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

JANINE BEMPECHAT is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Learning from Poor and Minority Students WhoSucceed.

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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