A Framework for Understanding Poverty - BenedictineED515

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Feb 5, 2013 (5 years and 2 months ago)


A Framework for
Understanding Poverty

Book by Ruby Payne, Ph.D.

Overview & Introduction

Presentation by Mary Staley


Key Points in Today’s Presentation

Definitions and Resources

Role of Language and Story

Hidden Rules Among Classes

Instruction and Improving Achievement

Key Points to Remember

Poverty is relative.

Poverty occurs in all races and in all countries.

Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear
cut distinction.

Generational poverty and situational poverty are

This work is based on patterns. All patterns
have exceptions.

Key Points (continued)

An individual brings with him/her the hidden
rules of the class in which he/she was raised.

Schools and businesses operate from middle
class norms and use the hidden rules of the
middle class.

For our students to be successful, we must
understand their hidden rules and teach them
the rules that will make them successful at
school and at work.

Key Points (continued)

We can neither excuse students nor scold them for not
knowing; as educators we must teach them and provide
support, insistence, and expectations.

To move from poverty to middle class or middle class to
wealth, an individual must give up relationships for
achievement (at least for some period of time).

Two things that help one move out of poverty are
education and relationships.

Four reasons one leaves poverty are: It’s too painful to
stay, a vision or goal, a key relationship, or a special
talent or skill.

Definition of Poverty

The extent to which an individual does
without resources

Poverty is more about lack of resources
than it is about money

Eight types of resources

(See Handout)






Support Systems

Relationships/Role Models

Knowledge of Hidden Rules

Resource Scenario

Resource Intervention Activity

The Role of Language and Story

Registers of language

Discourse patterns

Story structure

Registers of Language

Every language in the world has five registers:






Frozen register

Language that is always the same.

Examples: The Lord’s Prayer, wedding vows,

Formal register

The standard sentence syntax and word choice
of work and school.

Has complete sentences and specific word

Majority of minority students and poor students
do not have access to formal register at home.

Consultative register

Formal register when used in conversation.

Discourse pattern not quite as direct as formal

Casual register

Language between friends and characterized by

word vocabulary.

Word choice general and not specific.

Conversation dependent upon non

Sentence syntax often incomplete.

Intimate register

Language between lovers or twins.

Language of sexual harassment.

Discourse Patterns

in Formal and Casual Register

Formal register

Pattern is to get straight to the point


Pattern is to go around and around and finally get to
the point

Story structure

register story structure

Chronological, narrative

Most important part of the story is the plot

register story structure

Vignettes with audience participation

Most important part of the story is the

Demonstration activity


What Can Schools Do to Address Casual Register,
Discourse Patterns, and Story Structure

Permit students to write in casual & translate to formal

Require students to speak in formal when they are facing discipline

Use graphic organizers to show patterns

Tell stories both ways and compare/contrast

Use stories across the content

Teach formal register, discourse patterns, & story
structure directly

Relate need to learn to success in work.

Hidden Rules

Take the quiz while discussing it with a partner.

Discuss the hidden rules as identified by the
chart. How do these manifest themselves in
schools? Be prepared to share.

Hidden Rules/Mental Models

The assumption is that everyone knows what
you know.

We see the world and react to situations through
our own mental models but we really do not
realize this fact.

Hidden rules govern how we assess another
individual and his/her capabilities.

Why do schools need to understand
the concept of hidden rules?

To ensure that expectations do not differ from
student to student

To teach students the hidden rules of middle
class to mastery

To be able to work within a family’s rules when
exploring solutions to problems/not imposing
MC rules

To lessen frustration levels

Where do we go from here?

Faculty Overview

Faculty Study Groups

Designing Your School’s Changes

Making a Difference for Those We Serve Who
Are Living in Poverty