Educating the Culture of Poverty

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Feb 5, 2013 (4 years and 4 months ago)

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EDU 508 Challenges Affecting Children Today:
Educators Managing Adolescent Societal
Issues



Dale Laughner


Joyce Meixner


Aaron Seiser


Petra Glaze


The United States has one of the lowest
poverty rates in the industrialized world.



Fact: At about 17 percent, the U.S. actually has
the third
-
highest poverty rate of all the OECD
countries, coming in only slightly ahead of
Turkey and Mexico, Denmark boasts the
lowest poverty rate, an inspiring five percent.


Income inequality isn’t a big problem in
America.



Fact: The U.S. still has above average income
inequality joining the likes of

偯污湤Ⱐ
Portugal, and, once again, Mexico and
Turkey.


Due to our exquisite health system,
Americans live longer than residents of other
countries.


Fact: The average life span of an American is
below the OECD average, right above the
Czech Republic.


Due to our exquisite health system, the U.S.
has a lower infant mortality rate than other
countries.


Fact: We rank third to last in terms of infant
mortality. Mexico and Turkey joins us.


At least Americans don’t have to spend as
much money on health care as people from
other countries.



Fact: The truth is quite the opposite.
Americans spend substantially more on their
health than people from any other OECD
country.


The U.S. spends more money on helping the
poor than any other industrialized nation.


Fact: The United States ranks fourth to last in
public social expenditures as a percentage of
GDP, beating only Turkey, Mexico and
Korea.


Persons with income less than that deemed
sufficient to purchase basic needs such as
food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials
-
are designated as poor.


The Risk Factors of Poverty


Nature or Nurture?


Genes, DNA accounts for 30
-
50% of our
behaviors (genes can be turned on and off by
environmental factors, such as stress and
nutrition)


Environment, the remaining 50
-
70% of behaviors
(prenatal care, exposure to toxins & STRESS)



Socioeconomic status forms a great part of the
overall mix of our individual behaviors. The
most significant factors being:



E

Emotional and Social Challenges


A

Acute and Chronic Stressors


C

Cognitive Lags


H

Health and Safety Issues


Each of these factors will be discussed.


The challenges exist because poor families tend
to have higher rates of teen motherhood,
depression, and inadequate health care which
leads to decreased sensitivity toward the
infant. Children don’t get the attention they
need to thrive.


Also, the infants don’t have access to healthy
learning and exploration which is required for
optimal brain development this can later result
in poor school performance and (perceived)
poor behavior on the child’s part.


Attachments formed at birth between parent and
child predicts the quality of future relationships with
teachers and peers.



At birth, brains are hardwired for six emotions:



Joy, anger, surprise, disgust, sadness, and fear



Additional emotions that need to be
taught

include:
humility, forgiveness, empathy, optimism,
compassion, sympathy, patience, shame, cooperation
and gratitude.




Students might display “acting
-
out” behaviors,
impatience & impulsivity, gaps in politeness & social
graces, inappropriate emotional responses and less
empathy for others’ misfortunes.




Impoverished students not having the full
range of emotions at their disposal might be
considered rude or disrespectful, but the truth
is they just don’t have the full repertoire of
emotions to work with.


Like playing the piano with only a few of the
keys!


Acute stress resulting from trauma or abuse



Chronic stress resulting from exposure to
high stress sustained over time



Living in crowded, substandard housing or
unsafe neighborhoods; enduring domestic
violence, separation or divorce, or the loss of a
family member and financial stress.



Studies show that caregivers disciplinary
strategies grow harsher as income decreases


The frequency and intensity of both stressful
life events and daily hassles are greater among
poor families.



For example
-

in any given year, more than 1/2
of all poor children deal with evictions, utility
disconnections, overcrowding, or lack of a
stove or refrigerator, compared with only 13 %
of well
-
off children.


Chronic stress…


Linked to over 50% of all absences


Impairs attention and concentration


Reduces cognition, creativity, & memory


Diminishes social skills and social judgment


Reduces motivation & effort


Increases likelihood of depression


Socioeconomic status is strongly associated
with a number of indices of children’s
cognitive ability, including IQ, achievement
tests, grade retention rates, and literacy



This holds true from infancy through
adolescence and into adulthood


The five key systems of the brain that students
operate with are:



Executive system
-

create plans, make decision, and hold
thoughts in mind



Language system
-

the foundation of our reading,
pronunciation, spelling, and writing



Memory system
-

allows us to process and store learned
material



Spatial cognition system
-

important for organizing,
sequencing, and visualizing information (math & music)



Visual cognition system
-

pattern recognition and visual
mental imagery


If all of these systems aren’t nurtured, there will be
lags in cognitive development.



One example of this relates to language, which is
the area with the largest gap



-

a

child’s

vocabulary

competence

is

influenced

by

the

mother’s

socio
-
demographic

characteristics,

personal

characteristics,

vocabulary

and

knowledge

of

child

development
.

Low

income

caregivers

speak

in

shorter,

more

grammatically

simple

sentences
.

There

is

less

back
-
and
-
forth
-
fewer

questions

asked

and

few

explanations

given
.

As

a

result,

children

raised

in

poverty

experience

a

more

limited

range

of

language

capabilities




Low income children are often subject to such
health and safety issues as malnutrition,
environmental hazards, and poor health care.


Health and achievement overlap… a body and
brain cannot function with these stressors! The
cells in their bodies are always under siege!


Research shows that the lower the parents’
income is, the more likely it is that children will
be born premature, low in birth weight, or with
disabilities. Expectant mothers living in poverty
are more likely to live or work in hazardous
environments; to be exposed to pesticides and to
smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs during
pregnancy, all factors linked to prenatal issues
and birth defects and adverse cognitive
outcomes in children.



Low income families typically don’t have access
to adequate health insurance


The greater incidence of health issues in low
income families can lead to:


School absences


Longer duration of school absences


Tardiness rates


Increased incidents of illness during class


Higher rates of undiagnosed and/or untreated
health problems or disabilities


Although this information regarding the affects
poverty has on behavior and academic
performance is bleak, there is hope of these
children rising above their situations.



As a child’s behavior adapts to the chronic
situation they are in, it is equally susceptible to
adaptation to positive, enriching effects.



Our next segment takes a closer look at the
differences between the culture of poverty and
the middle class.



Ruby Payne, author of

A Framework for
Understanding Poverty
and founder and
president of aha! Process, Inc., provides
workshops and training to educators and
other professionals to work effectively with
children and adults from that culture.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0WHShsSBjc&feature=related

Handouts


CULTURE OF POVERTY

MIDDLE CLASS


A person living in
poverty is driven by
survival, relationships,
and entertainment. The
individual in poverty
truly values people over
possessions.



Middle class
individuals are driven
by work and
achievement, and the
ability to have things
(possessions).

CULTURE OF POVERTY


MIDDLE CLASS



A person in poverty
tends to believe that
money is to be used on
an immediate need. If
that need is food,
quantity is of most
importance


is there
enough?


In a middle class
environment, money is
viewed as something to be
managed, in order to plan
for upcoming needs.
When it comes to
something as trivial as
buying food, a person in
the middle class will
consider quality over
quantity


do I like it?


CULTURE OF POVERTY


MIDDLE CLASS



For a person in poverty
the future is not so
important, because there
are always present
survival decisions that
need to be made
immediately. The person
in poverty rarely dwells
on the future because they
believe that they can’t do
much to affect it. They
tend to leave their futures’
up to fate.



The middle class tends
to value the future, and
make decisions based
on ramifications. The
middle class also
believes that they can
change their own future
by making good
choices.

CULTURE OF POVERTY

MIDDLE CLASS


People in poverty see the
world in terms of a local
setting, where there is
power in personal respect,
but no power large
enough to stop bad things
from happening to them.
As a result, education is
valued, but not viewed as
truly being helpful to their
reality.



A person of the middle
class sees the world in a
national setting, where
there is power in
information and
institutions. As a result,
they value education
and see it as the way to
be successful and make
money.


The above information demonstrates that a
great discrepancy could occur between how a
students living in poverty view their education
and their school, compared to their middle
class teachers and administrators. In order to
reach these children, school personnel can be
proactive and implement strategies that can
create a caring and loving school environment.


Support the Whole Child

Hard Data

Accountability

Relationship Building

Enrichment Mind
-
Set




High

expectations

are

great

if

all

children

have

high

levels

of

support
.

Children

in

poverty

often

have

social,

emotional,

and

health
-
related

challenges
.

These

challenges

need

to

be

addressed

before

learning

can

occur
.


Schools

should

not

rely

on

state

or

district

test

to

determine

their

sole

measurement

of

success
.

Instead,

schools

should

create

their

own

measurements

to

help

with

the

data

analysis

of

students

living

in

poverty
.


School

personnel

should

work

together

to

create

a

goal(s)

for

children

in

poverty
.

Changes

in

teaching

practices

will

occur

if

everyone

buys

into

the

goal(s)
.



Due

to

their

circumstances,

parents

in

poverty

tend

to

have

a

hard

time

developing

healthy

relationships

with

their

children
.

The

children,

in

turn,

carry

issues

regarding

forming

healthy

attachments
.

School

personnel

need

to

recognize

this

and

take

the

time

to

form

solid

relationships

with

their

students
.


Instead

of

remediating,

think

enrichment
.

An

enrichment

mind
-
set

creates

intellectual

curiosity,

emotional

engagement,

and

social

bonding
.



Schools

must

come

up

with

their

own

specific

plan

as

to

how

to

reach

children

living

in

poverty
.

An

example

of

how

this

could

look

is

demonstrated

by

Gladwin

Intermediate

School



Based

on

Ruby

Payne’s

work

on

Poverty
.

Gladwin

Intermediate

has

implemented,

or

has

plans

to

implement

in

the

near

future,

the

following

activities
:


Research

shows

that

children

living

in

poverty

aren’t

always

guaranteed

a

proper

breakfast
.

Cost

is

determined

by

free/reduced

lunch

status
.


The

focus

of

S
.
P
.
A
.
R
.
K
.
S
.

is

to

provide

a

safe

environment

that

offers

academic

reinforcement,

enrichment,

and

recreation
.

Staff

works

to

enhance

the

regular

school

day

curriculum

as

well

as

help

develop

character

and

leadership
.

All

of

which

are

areas

that

a

child

living

in

poverty

may

be

lacking
.


Once

a

week,

each

grade

has

a

meeting

in

the

cafeteria

before

the

day

officially

begins
.

The

purpose

of

these

meetings

is

to

create

a

safe

caring

environment,

develop

a

sense

of

community,

and

recognize

achievement
.

The

principal

tells

about

any

special

announcements,

gives

a

mini
-
lesson

based

on

character,

and

leads

them

in

their

grade’s

clap
.

He

then

invites

all

of

the

teachers

to

come

up

and

recognize

students

who

have

achieved

things

inside

and

outside

of

school
.


Teachers

are

encouraged

to

pick

out

a

specific

student

for

the

day,

and

give

that

student

at

least

three

verbal

praises

during

their

time

with

him/her
.

The

purpose

is

to

create

a

positive

relationship,

and

to

show

each

student

that

he/she

is

achieving
.





The

feeling

of

the

staff

at

Gladwin

Intermediate

is

that

some

of

our

students

in

poverty

truly

do

not

understand

what

behaviors

are

expected,

and

why

they

are

important
.

This

class

would

cover

topics

such

as

respect,

bullying,

etc
.

It

has

yet

to

be

implemented
.


Despite

good

intentions,

students

living

in

poverty

do

not

always

have

the

means

to

complete

homework,

study,

etc
.

There

has

been

heavy

discussion

as

to

how

homework

grades

affect

children

living

in

poverty
.

Teachers

have

been

encouraged

to

limit

homework

and/or

limit

it

to

weekly

review
.


Gladwin

Intermediate

is

scheduled

to

move

away

from

letter

grades

on

report

card

for

the

2012
-
2013

school

year
.

Letter

grades

may

not

truly

indicate

what

a

child

knows/does

not

know
.

A

child

living

in

poverty

may

be

unintentionally

penalized

for

things

outside

of

their

control
.

When

these

scores

are

averaged

together

it

often

equals

poor

report

card

grades
.

By

assessing

individual

content

expectations

with

a

score

of

1
-
5
,

the

student,

parent,

and

teacher

can

see

where

the

child

stands

on

in

class

instruction/work
.





Teaching that is best

for children from poverty is teaching that


is best for all students!


Standards
-
Based Curriculum and Instruction


Hope Building


Arts, Athletics, and Advanced Placement


Retooling the Operating System


Engaging Instruction


Turn standards into meaningful units


Pre
-
assess to determine students’ background
knowledge


Adjust your lesson plans


Daily affirmations (verbal and posted)


Telling students specifically why they can
succeed.


Telling true stories of hope about people to
whom students can relate.


Treating all the students in your classes as
potentially gifted.


Teaching students life skills in small daily
chunks.





“The arts and a challenging curriculum
enhance essential learning skills and cognition,
whereas sports, recess, and physical activity
increase neurogensis and reduce kids’ chances
for depression.” p118


Implement a strong arts program


Step up the activity


Implement an AP curriculum

“The better students’ operating
systems are, the better they’ll be
able to handle the complex and
rigorous challenges that school
and life throw at them.” p128


“CHAMP”


Champion’s Mind
-
set


Hopeful effort


Attentional Skills


Memory


Processing Skills


Sequencing Skills


“The best way is to engage them in instruction
that includes them and their interests in the
process.” p134



“Generally speaking, engaging instruction is
any strategy that gets students to participate
emotionally, cognitively, or behaviorally. p134


Switch up social groups


Incorporate movement


Ask more compelling questions; avoid
unanswerable rhetorical questions


Appreciate/acknowledge every response.


Use energizers, games, drama, etc.


Be passionate about what you teach!


The Connecting Link Inc. (2011).
Challengers
Affecting Children Today: Educators Managing
Adolescent Societal Issues
-

Participant Manual
.
Ventura, California: Author.


Jenson, E. (2009).
Teaching with Poverty in Mind:
What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What
Schools Can Do About It.
Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


Payne, R., DeVol, P., & Smith, T. (2001).
Bridges
Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and
Communities.
Highlands, TX: Process Inc.