Workshop (8)

Lost Prizes: Recognizing and Nurturing the Talent of At-Risk Students
Ken W. McCluskey
Dean, Faculty of Education, The University of Winnipeg, Canada
If we expect students to communicate and behave in positive ways in our schools and elsewhere, there must obviously be rules, order, and organization. And clearly, educational environments should be consistent and stable for all children and youth. However, when overly rigid, punitive regulations are put in place, many kids – especially those who do not respond positively to inflexible reactions and approaches – may be harmed instead of helped. Indeed, under certain conditions, teachers may inadvertently say and do things that essentially drive nonconforming, relationship-resistant young people from our system. Even with the best will in the world, educators can sometimes make unfortunate choices, draw lines in the sand, and push marginalized students over and out. This session will identify some pitfalls to avoid and review Lost Prizes projects that have used Creative Problem Solving and Mentoring to identify and develop the talents of troubled youth at risk for alienation, academic failure, and gang involvement.