The Disadvantaged Child: Selected Papers of Martin Deutsch and Associates

The Disadvantaged Child: Selected Papers of Martin Deutsch and Associates

The Disadvantaged Child: Selected Papers of Martin Deutsch and Associates

The Disadvantaged Child: Selected Papers of Martin Deutsch and Associates

Excerpt

The material in this book has been selected to exemplify a particular approach to the problems of the so-called disadvantaged child and the social environment from which he comes. That approach may be characterized as a search for the mediating variables: those which influence or determine the relationship between the background factors on the one hand and the psychological factors on the other. That is, while it may be found reliably that children from disadvantageous environments have poorer school performance records than those from facilitative environments, not too much is yet known about how the environmental influences operate to depress school performance. Similarly, there is little understanding about what environmental characteristics influence what aspects of academic performance. It is, in all probability, safe to say, nevertheless, that there are particular environmental factors which exercise a negative influence both on certain skills which themselves underlie school performance and on such measures as intelligence tests.

Findings from research oriented to this approach are relevant for a theoretical understanding of environment-behavior relationships. They are also closely bound up with practical problems of formulating intervention programs which aim to overcome negative environmental effects on cognitive skills and school performance.

By emphasizing the variables which relate the child's background to his performance, we do not mean to ignore the school's role in the relatively poorer performance of disadvantaged children as compared with their middle-class peers. However, the original problem of failure cannot be placed on the schools; rather it stems . . .

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