The society plays an important role to the development or demise of an individual. This is due to the fact that the condition of the society has a huge influence in the way an individual thinks and behaves. In relation with this, other important institution within the society is also affected like the family and the educational system. The family is considered as the basic unit of society that is why they are often the ones who are greatly affected by the changes and in turn, also influence other areas of the society.

Some of the areas that the family influences are the educational system because the process of teaching tends to vary according to the needs of the family especially of the children. Being the case, the succeeding paragraphs will discuss the current societal influences that affect students in schools specifically in relation with the American family. Societal influences are identified and analyzed by means of the changing American family and the shifts in demographic as well as in the socioeconomic patters.

These factors have great impact in the challenges that the youth have to face (Kauchak and Eggen, 2008). This includes the effect of societal influences on students in school. As mentioned above, the family is regarded as the basic unit of society because of that they are the primary factor that indicates and affect change. At present, the American family has changed dramatically. The usual traditional family that is composed of the husband as the primary breadwinner and the wife as the caregiver only constitute 6 percent of U.

S. families. Statistics shows that 68 percent of families are made up of married couples. 70 percent of these are women with children work while 32 percent of children live with single parent or some other caregiver. In line with this, the poverty rate for single-parent families is 7 to 8 times higher as compared with the families of married couple (Kauchak and Eggen, 2008). Most critics of American education usually blame the declining performance of students on the deteriorating family structure in the United States.

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It is also argued that the high spending on schools and social programs for the past decades have not been successful due to the situation of the American family. Nevertheless, a research made by David Grissmer, Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Mark Berends, and Stephanie Williamson entitled: Student Achievement and the Changing American Family states that there are several factors that must be consider in the education and teaching of students in relation with their family dynamics.

The study shows that the most important family characteristic, which influences the performance of students, is the educational level of their parents. This could be exemplified by students who perform substantially better with one or two college-educated parents as compared with students whose parents did not finish high school. Moreover, single-parent status was not significant. The findings prove that the performance gap of students is due to other factors such as: family income, family size, or parents’ education (RAND, 1994).

Socioeconomic status also has an impact in the teaching and learning of students. In order for students to actively participate and school and effectively learn from this educational institution they should be fostered in a good home environment. Income plays an important role in the fulfillment of the family’s basic needs, which is an essential factor in the learning of students. Other factors that are also influenced by income are the family stability, interaction patterns at home, and parental attitudes and values.

Most problems that often threaten the decline of these factors are due to financial concerns (Kauchak and Eggen, 2008). Students who are regarded as at risked are characterized as those who have to commute often from geographically diverse neighborhoods. They are often found in urban areas wherein they have difficulty in accessing friendships and extracurricular activities. This kind of students is more susceptible in encountering people who will lead them to harm because of bad influences. They could turn into alcohol and drug users as well as result to crime and violence.

Being the case, teachers have a crucial part to play in terms of the success of students because they function as the major human link between schools and students. Educators should encourage students at-risk to go to schools because these are safe and orderly that give emphasis on the welfare of the community and student responsibility. Teachers should be personal and caring and they should give importance to student responsibility as well as have high expectation for students. An effective way of instruction for students should be interactive together with increased structure, support, and feedback (Kauchak and Eggen, 2008).

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