Jo Boone Sofia Dimitriou What Classroom Teachers Should Know About Poverty
Defining Poverty Government defines it as certain income levels. Statistics reflect people on assistance. What about working poor? Two or three jobs! What is poverty in one geographic region can be almost middle class in another. New displaced and homeless – are now in poverty, but not included in statistics.
Education – Demographic achievement mirrors local poverty Poverty, race, and schooling are very highly correlated with location. African-Americans are the most racially segregated, but segregation is declining. Second most segregated group is Latino. No changes to ratio of segregation. Overall, neighborhoods are more integrated. Most children in same economic status. School racial composition affects academic, social, and economic outcomes.
Other Poverty Issues Children of immigrants 22% of poverty cases Immigrant rates are increasing New Poverty Group: Great Recession Homeless Not included in research Different issues in classroom May manifest learning issues in different patterns
More Poverty Issues Poverty limits school achievement but effect of actual income does not affect number of years of school completed Extra-familial environments begin to matter as much or more for children than family conditions once children reach school age School related achievement depends on both ability and behavior
Adverse Childhood Experiences Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Impairment Adoption of Health Risk Behaviors Disease, Disability, and Social Problems Early Death Conception Death Adverse Childhood Experiences Model
Poverty Effect on School Children Poverty associated with delayed language development and other cognitive skills Lower literacy rates and poor numeracy skills Higher rates of behavioral and emotional disorders Higher percentage of students in Special Education and/or needing support services
Poverty Effects on Cognitive Development Short attention span because thinking about food Lower academic support – poor quality school Low motivation to learn – always thinking about something else High dropout rate because think they are not smart enough Developmental delays because of poor nutrition or not enough support Learning disabilities Illiteracy and low achievement in schools Little participation in extracurricular activities Duration of poverty affecting cognitive development
Behavior Disorders Chronic stress disorder No safe-haven or stress reducing outlets Exposure to violence in neighborhood or home No caring or dependable adult Greater impulsivity Acting before gaining permission Poor short-term memory Forgetting what to do next
Emotional Keyboard HardwiredTaught Sadness Joy Disgust Anger Surprise Fear Sympathy Patience Shame Cooperation Gratitude Humility Forgiveness Empathy Optimism Compassion
Education Impact The relationship between income and schooling appears to be related to a number of confounding factors such as: parental education family structure neighborhood characteristics Many families in poverty don’t take the time to have conversations. They have arguments. Result: St udents can’t learn appropriate social skills outside of school.
Lack of Parent Involvement Don’t get involved in school functions or activities Don’t contact school about academic concerns Don’t attend parent-teacher conferences Children in poverty are more likely to lack (and need) a caring, dependable adult in their lives. Teachers may be only adult offering any support
A Common Problem with Poorer Students High tardy rates and high absenteeism Attendance problems often indicate negative parent attitudes towards school Parents may actually discourage participation in school
Challenges for failing public schools extreme socioeconomic stratification high population of poor children legacy of underfunded schools in urban and rural communities
What can a teacher do? How well and how quickly we help kids adapt to school forecasts long-term school outcomes How do we create the ‘SMARTER KIDS’? Stuff more content? – This doesn’t work! Children need more capacity.
Academic Operating system for the brain Ability and motivation to defer gratification and make sustained effort for long term goals Auditory, visual, and tactile processing skills Attention skills that enable students to engage, focus, and disengage when needed Short-term and working memory capacity Sequencing skills (knowing the order of a process) Champion mind-set and confidence These skills form a foundation for school success and can give students the capacity to override the adverse risk factors of poverty
Ways to change IQ Home environments and living conditions Quality of nutrition Early childhood experiences and early educational intervention Amount and duration of schooling A good teacher for three to five years would eliminate the average gap between economic groups and between ethnic groups
Children need a Fluid IQ Students need the ability to rapidly adjust their strategies and thought processes from one context to another ex. Child is taught how to cross the street. They may use this knowledge with their bike or skateboard, or in a new neighborhood. A method of teaching this is with graphic organizers, etc. Adjusting their knowledge to another context.
Brain processes can be improved through variety of activities Physical activity - produces new brain cells helping with learning, mood, and memory Arts improve attention, sequencing, processing and cognitive skills Computer aided instruction and programs increase attention and improve working memory within weeks!
Experienced-based brain changes Video games – develops attention skills Intensive language training evokes measurable physical changes in auditory brain maps Spatial navigation abilities correlate with the brain area responsible for explicit learning and memory Learning music results in improved attention, sequencing, and processing Learning new skills increases brain speed
Previous skills help students Focus on…. Capture…… Process…… Evaluate and prioritize…. Manipulate….. Apply…. Present…. …. Information in a meaningful way
Practical intelligence Students with practical intelligence are able to self-assess and self-correct during learning process, not afterward Knowing why Knowing self Knowing differences Knowing process Revisiting
Quality enrichment programs Improve language fluency, IQ, and other cognitive processes Reduce school problems and academic failure in both elementary and high school Improve social, academic, and emotional intelligence when implemented in early childhood The quality and duration of interventions along with smaller, customized, age-appropriate activities that continue over time is needed. They can take four to six years
Visible or measurable enrichment results Improved reading, verbal, writing and tutoring skills Better overall school performance Stronger interest in class material Higher grades Improved attendance
What does not work. Focusing only on basics (drill and kill) Maintaining order through show of force Eliminating or reducing time for arts, sports, and PE Increasing and intensifying classroom discipline Decreasing interaction among students Delivering top-down lectures
High performing schools don’t make these mistakes Overdoing pep talks and hot air Planning endlessly Putting kids first, staff last Creating climate of fear Measuring improvement solely through test scores Treating symptoms, not causes Counting on big wins, quickly
How to Achieve Classroom Success Match curriculum and instruction to standards Turn standards into meaningful units Pre-assess students’ background knowledge (at least a week before the lesson) Adjust pre-planned lesson plans Practice hope building – learned optimism changes brain chemistry must be pervasive and felt by all hopeful kids try harder, persist longer, get better grades Remove learned helplessness and feelings of inadequacy. (Prevents passivity and feelings of lack of control over circumstances (as early as 1 st grade)
Arts, athletics, and AP Don’t dumb-down or pace slower for students with less background knowledge The arts build attention and processing skills (sequencing and manipulation of procedures and data), strengthens memory skills, and builds life-long transferable skills (reading) Performance arts foster emotional intelligence and help with social status and friends Arts has stronger impact for students in poverty than other groups Mastering music skills alters the brain Athletics reduces stress and improves behavior Mastering motor skills helps students in poverty improve cognitive systems through sensory platforms How to Achieve Classroom Success (cont.)
How to create Hope Daily affirmations Asking to hear students’ hopes and offering reinforcements of those hopes Telling students why they can succeed Providing needed academic resources (paper, pencils, computer time) Helping students to set goals and build goal-setting skills Telling true stories of hope about people to whom students can relate Offering help, encouragement, and caring when needed Teaching life skills in small daily chunks Avoid complaining about students’ deficits. If they don’t have it, teach it! Treating all the kids in your class as gifted Building academic, emotional, and social assets in students
Engagement Strategies Switch up social groups Incorporate movement Ask more questions (avoid rhetorical ones!) Appreciate and acknowledge every response Use energizers and demonstrations Be passionate about subject –draws students into emotional drama of content
Schools that work do these things Standards to design curriculum and assess student work and evaluate teachers Lengthen instruction time in reading Spend more on professional development Engage parents in their children’s education Monitor student progress and get extra help for those who need it
FYI…… Students score higher on reading tests when teachers felt able to use a variety of assessment tools Gains in vocabulary and comprehension skills when teachers gave them reading material a paragraph or longer in length, and reading in core subject areas, and use of computers, workbooks and skill sheets
Eight Kentucky High-Performing High-Poverty Elementary Schools High expectations Focused instruction and assessment Positive school climate Teachers believed all students could learn and were willing to work to make it happen Consistent use of varied and individualized assessments allowing staff to pinpoint learning needs and address them Teachers aligned throughout the school what was taught and what students outcomes were expected Bottom line: high expectation learning needs got need attention not the socioeconomic status of students
BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Hanushek, E. A. (2010). How well do we understand achievement gaps? pp. 5–12, National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) (http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc272c.pdf)http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc272c.pdf 2. Jensen, E. (2009). Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It. ASCD 3. Manning, J. P., & Gaudelli, W. (2006). What Teacher Educators Should Know about Poverty and Special Education. Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 29(4), 236-243 4. http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/ http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/ 5. http://ddmt.vaniercollege.qc.ca/~s0330431/ece/effects.htm http://ddmt.vaniercollege.qc.ca/~s0330431/ece/effects.htm 6. http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_New_Research_High/ http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_New_Research_High/ 7. http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm?do c_id=72167 http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm?do c_id=72167 8. http://www.ed.gov/pubs/startearly/ch_3.html http://www.ed.gov/pubs/startearly/ch_3.html 9. http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/prdyc/ch7.html http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/prdyc/ch7.html