Implementing Positive Behavior Support in Early Childhood Through High School
Edited By Chun Zhang, Carlos McCray and Su-Je Cho
Students who are non-native speakers of English, members of racially and ethnically marginalized groups, and/or economically disadvantaged are far too often represented in the education literature as “at risk” for school failure and behavioral difficulties. The concept of risk at the level of the individual has received a fairly thorough examination, but insufficient attention has been devoted to linking important structural and school characteristics to student learning and behavior. However, structural realities that constrain the success of students deemed “at risk” due to their ethnic and racial heritage or their economic circumstances have been evident in the literature for more than three decades. For example, low-income, ethnic minority students who struggle academically are more often seen as unmotivated or conduct-disordered, while struggling affluent, White children receive services (e.g., counseling, tutoring) to improve learning (Bowles & Gintis, 1976). Such services are less often freely available in urban schools serving racial and ethnic minorities and are economically out of reach for low-income parents to purchase independently. How then can we extend our understanding of school practices and policies as well as students’ social circumstances that constrain student opportunities, and how might these understandings promote positive youth development and positive behavior that underpins academic success?
Thinking about the role of school in supporting social and emotional development for any student and reducing disruptive behavior requires an understanding that behavior does not exist solely at the level of the individual but is a product of the...
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