“people think they know who we are…but they don’t!” “they think dropouts are all the same,...

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  • Slide 1
  • People think they know who we arebut they dont! They think dropouts are all the same, but we are not! We leave school for all different kinds of reasons; sometimes we leave because we just have to. -Magdalena, age 18, who left school at 17 to work and to care for a child
  • Slide 2
  • Washington Student Oral Histories Project: Listening to & Learning From Disconnected Youth [www.wsohp.org] Antony Smith University of Washington, Bothell Barbara Waxman Paragon Education Network Deborah Feldman Paragon Education Network
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  • Purpose Today Briefly tell you about our research study Share interesting/surprising findings Draw some implications from the research 3
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  • Research Questions What can we learn from youth voice about the dropping out process? What institutional characteristics do youth perceive to have encouraged or discouraged their engagement in school? What actions can schools and teachers take to divert paths toward disengagement and dropping out? 4
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  • Unusual Research Approach Context In-depth interviews 45-70 min. Unique focus on history 5 sites in Western WA Diversified sample Participants 53 participants Ages16-22 Dropped out or serious truancy 5
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  • My School Rating Form 6
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  • Surprise #1 Almost everyone really enjoyed elementary school! 7
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  • My School Rating Form 8
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  • Percent of Participants Who Rated School Favorably (N=29) 9
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  • Positive Themes from Elementary The teacher cared School supported me academically I had good friends I loved music, art, hands-on projects and recess! Learning was fun. 10
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  • Surprise #2 Long disengagement Slow Faders 11
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  • Surprise #3 Interventions (or lack thereof) didnt work (for many reasons) 12
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  • Kids Perceptions of Interventions Silly interventions Under the radar for long periods Focus on compliance Kid embraces a skipping identity. 13
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  • Surprise #4 Negative social experiences: Bullying Student Mobility/Isolation 14
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  • Excerpts: Getting picked on every day was what actually caused me to leave the high school. Like Id be walking to go to my locker and someone would just put their foot out and trip me. -Lyle, dropped out at 16 Id try to act like [the girls teasing] didn't bug me But, really, I did care, it's just I didn't want to show everyone else. I'd go home at night and bury my head in a pillow and scream. -Angela, dropped out at 17 15
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  • The beginning of the school year was horrible. I hated middle school And at lunch I hated it [the most]. I would [sit] by myself, and I dont know. It was kinda sad. --Sandra Yeah. We moved to a different area and so, yeah. I wasn't really used to [the new middle school]. It was like [being] an outcast, really. -Shelley 16
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  • Surprise #5 The Math Tripwire: I hated math. Im no good in math. I couldnt do the homework. I started skipping math. 17
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  • Reported Academic Difficulties 18
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  • Learning Difficulties: Girls vs. Boys 19
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  • The Downward Spiral 20 Negative Learning Experiences
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  • Final Thoughts Focus on positive relationships Develop safe & nurturing learning environments Make instruction engaging, interactive, and purposeful Diagnose and address learning issues Foster growth mindset and self-efficacy, esp. around math Rethink math instruction and curriculum 21
  • Slide 22
  • WASHINGTON STUDENT ORAL HISTORIES PROJECT www.wsohp.org THANK YOU!