Abused students can return to school and thrive with educator help, researcher finds

Nov 08, 2011

A new study from the University of Missouri shows that children who are abused can return to school and do well academically if teachers can help them control their emotions, pay attention to detail and stay motivated.

"The first step, of course, is for teachers to watch for signs and stop the abuse to the child," said Stephen Whitney, associate professor in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology in the MU College of Education. "My colleagues and I worked with to examine to determine what factors indicate future achievement, and of those factors, what ones actually translate to the classroom. Teachers and counselors can help the student succeed by focusing on daily living skills."

The study compared the duration of abuse with math and reading scores in 702 children, ages 6 to 10. The results indicate that the length and type of abuse had the most effect on the children's , but that students who were successful in daily had the most achievement.

Whitney suggests that teachers or even can help abused children by focusing on the following daily skills:

  • Self-regulation (controlling thoughts and behaviors)
  • Attention to detail (accomplishing tasks with focus on all aspects of the tasks)
  • Motivation (finding challenges that inspire learning, including a focus on strengths)
"The key to a successful response to an unprecedented life event is to control what you can. Children who can translate that skill into the classroom can have an advantage over others who cannot," Whitney said. "Teachers are the gatekeepers to reporting abuse, getting kids the help they need, and then providing crucial support in helping those kids overcome their past."

Explore further: 'Amazing' physics demos to keep practical science alive

More information: The study, "Academic achievement despite child maltreatment: A longitudinal study," was published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

Related Stories

Relationships Improve Student Success

Jun 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful ...

Teacher influence persists in early grades

Jul 27, 2011

Having consistently good teachers in elementary school appears to be as important for student achievement as small class sizes, according to new research by a Michigan State University education scholar.

Keeping kids' minds sharp during summer break

Jun 18, 2007

School is out for the summer, but with parents' help, informal summer learning can be "in" with kids. Simple, low-cost steps like turning off the TV and visiting the local public library or nature center can introduce children ...

Preventing School Violence Needs to Start at Young Age

Mar 17, 2008

By the time a child enters third grade, it may be too late to change behavioral issues that could lead to more serious problems later in life, including violent and aggressive behavior. A University of Missouri professor ...

Recommended for you

Accountancy stereotypes add up to stable profession

6 hours ago

The media is littered with celebrity trainers, bakers, nutritionists, even gardeners. But, one profession is always missing from the roster - the celebrity accountant. The reason is most likely due to the negative stereotypes ...

Volunteers not safe from workplace bullying

7 hours ago

Despite the charitable nature of volunteering, new research from Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University has found one in three volunteers can experience workplace bullying.

The problem with solitary confinement

7 hours ago

It's a practice that has been in the news since the Ashley Smith case first made headlines and, last week, the Ontario government announced it had launched a review of its solitary confinement policies.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.