Looking beyond "at–risk" misbehavior


I haven't read this book but it may lend insight to many.

Looking beyond "at–risk" misbehavior

"At-Risk Students," a groundbreaking book by teacher and popular motivational speaker Bill Page, reveals the underlying causes of classroom misbehavior.

Nashville, TN: Why do students behave badly? Often, says Bill Page in his groundbreaking new book, "At-Risk Students," misbehavior stems from their defensive stratagems. "Being bad" is preferable to "being dumb", clowning diverts attention, apathy precludes trying, and defying authority earns respect from peers.

"At-Risk Students" does exactly what its subtitle promises--feel their pain, understand their plight, and accept their defensive ploys. "Students at-risk, compelled to learn inappropriate lessons or reveal their incompetence, live in constant fear--fear of failure, embarrassment, judgment and rejection. They fear being ridiculed and being labeled dumb.Most of all, they secretly fear the truth—that they may actually be dumb," says Page.

"Very often, the notorious behavior of students at-risk is interpreted as rebellious and disrespectful," says Page. "But dig a little deeper, and you'll find that hostility, surliness and delinquency are cover-ups for their inability and humiliation. They are embarrassed, angry, bored and fearful. Pretending that their failure doesn't hurt, they hide behind bravado.No child abuse is more insidious and pervasive than suffering imposed by well-meaning teachers on millions of students shamed and scarred by repeated failure."

Page himself has spent more than 30 years "removing the risk" from students labeled "At-Risk." "The solution," he asserts, "is for teachers to reflect on their part in the relationship, see the problem from the student's perspective, and respond with empathy rather than react with punitive measures."Through 30 vignettes and articles, the reader sees the hapless students through the empathetic eyes of a teacher whose successes with those very students made him an authority and premier speaker in the nation's school districts.

"It sounds arrogant, but it's true. I never met a student I couldn't teach, and that includes troublemakers, who can't, won't, don't, or haven't yet learned," says Page. Educators need to understand, as one chapter shows, Failure is never an option."And with my new book, teachers can improve the diminished lives and dismal futures of millions of at-risk students, abused by failure and neglect, while suffering and languishing year after year in America's classrooms—until they dropout into the 'safety net' of a juvenile facility."

It is up to administrators and teachers to break the tragic failure-punishment cycle—students cannot possibly break it.

At-Risk Students by Bill page, 256 pages, paperback, $15.95, 2006, ISBN #0977386309


Thanks Sheila.

I guess we have a new new generation to educate. I have been saying kids would rather be seen as 'bad" than "dumb" for at least 25 years.

I think inclusion is the main reason that this bit of wisdom, known by all good Special Education teachers, is now presented as something new.

Thanks for the link :smile:



New Member
You think it would be willing to take my son on as a challenge?

What I find frustrating, among many other things, is my inability to figure out the undrlying basis for my son's unwillingness to work in school. If its mood, well, his medications are working pretty well, if it is inability to focus, he is pretty well medicated and managed to do his work reasonably well by his standards for about 6 weeks in the beginning of the school year, he has a reasonably good IEP with support from aides and an awesome Special Education teacher where he goes 1 period a day....and it has been like this for 4 years now (though not as well medicated), if it is that he needs to be in a technical school at age 12, maybe, but don't know how to engineer that (sorry for the pun) cause they don't seem to exist.

I'm tempted to buy the book!


Active Member
Thanks for sharing -
This reinforces my belief in working with approaches

From Alfie Kohn article - Unconditional Teaching - http://alfiekohn.org
the site has great parenting, educational and business articles - all with the same theme

Imagine that your students are invited to respond to a questionnaire several years after leaving the school. They’re asked to indicate whether they agree or disagree – and how strongly – with statements such as: “Even when I wasn’t proud of how I acted, even when I didn’t do the homework, even when I got low test scores or didn’t seem interested in what was being taught, I knew that [insert your name here] still cared about me.”

How would you like your students to answer that sort of question? How do you think they will answer it