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Framework for Understanding Poverty

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1 Framework for Understanding Poverty
Ruby Payne: Framework for Understanding Poverty

2 Introduction: Ruby Payne
We must understand the hidden rules of those in different SES for them to be successful. Teach and provide support, do not scold for their hidden rules. To move from poverty to middle class, one must give up relationships for achievement. You need education and relationships to move from poverty. Poverty is relative: Poverty occurs in all races and countries. SES is a continuous line, not a clear distinction. Generational poverty is different from situational. These statements are patterns not absolutes. Each SES level has its own hidden rules. Schools and business follow middle class rules.

3 Chapter 1: Resources Financial: Money to purchase goods and services.
Emotional: Able to choose and control emotional responses. Mental: Having mental abilities and acquired skills to deal with daily life. Spiritual: Believing in divine purpose and guidance. (Payne, 2005)

4 Chapter 1: Resources Physical: Having health and mobility.
Support System: friends, family, and backup resources. Relationships/ role models: access to those who are nurturing and not self-destructive. Knowledge of hidden rules: knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group. (Payne, 2005)

5 Role of Language and Story
Language consists of registers (type of language). Discourse patterns (how one organizes information). Story structure (how one goes about telling a story or recalling an event).

6 Registers of Language Frozen: Language is always the same (e.g., Lord’s Prayer, wedding vows). Formal: Standard in work and school. Complete sentences, specific word choice. Consultative: Not quite as direct as formal and used in conversation. Casual: Language b/w friends and limited to about words in total vocabulary. Strong use of non-verbal cues. Intimate: Language b/w lovers, family members, and sexual harassers.

7 Register: Impact on Interaction
You can go down one register in a conversation w/out offense, but not two. Most children in poverty do not use formal register at home or know how to use it. Formal register: middle class “hidden rule.” Writing does not use non-verbal cues, thus MUST use formal register.

8 Discourse Pattern Getting to the point
Formal: get straight to the point. Casual: go around and around to get to the point. Primary & Secondary Discourse Primary discourse: L1 Secondary discourse: L2 A student who only knows casual in L1, now has to learn casual in L2 and formal in L2.

9 Discourse: Impact on Interaction
When parents use casual and school uses formal, there can be a disconnect. When a child has to write a story, then casual register impacts the child as does discourse patterns. What is the average teacher looking for out of a writing assignment?

10 Group assignment: Chapter 2
Discuss the impact of language differences in an IEP meeting with a parent from poverty. Register Discourse Pattern Story Structure. Describe how the parent and the educators feel. What are some ways to ease any tensions?

11 Comparing: Generational Poverty
Decisions made based on needs of entertainment and relationships Ability to fight or have someone who is willing to fight for you. Money is for entertainment and relationships The world is what is locally around you. Comments are usually made about you before you are introduced to others.

12 Comparing: Middle Class
Decisions are made related to work and achievement. Able to use words as tools to negotiate conflict. Money is for security. The world is your own nation. You introduce yourselves to others

13 Comparing: Wealth Wealth:
Ramifications of the financial, social, and political connections. Money is for security. The world is international. Someone in the group formally introduces you.

14 What does that mean for schools?
Assumptions about IQ and approaches to school work may relate more to hidden rules than to actual facts. Students need to be taught the hidden rules of middle class. Work w/in the attitudes and hidden rules of the students and parents whenever possible (instead of forcing middle class rules). If you understand their values, then you will be less frustrated in your interactions. Poor students may not see themselves as “poor.”

15 Group Project: Apply the Theory
In your groups, discuss the following: 14 y/o girl from poverty has been given an assignment from her home ec. teacher to balance a household budget for 4 on $3000/ mo. She is to list all “necessary” expenses, prioritize them, and assign different people in the family to be in charge of different parts of the family budget (grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc.). The teacher comes from a middle class family with little experience of families from poverty. Describe the responses given compared to the teacher’s expected responses from the student. How might that impact the student’s perceived ability?

16 Characteristics of Generational Poverty
Background “noise”: Almost always the TV is on, people talk over one another in conversations. Importance of personality: You bring your personality, because it is what you have. If you have a good, entertaining personality, then you are valued. Significance of entertainment: It is important to get away from basic survival for awhile and entertainment is a for of escapism. Importance of relationships: Since you depend on others, you need to get along with them.

17 Characteristics of Generational Poverty
Matriarchal Structure: The mother is the most important (caretaker) Oral-language tradition: You say things instead of read or write them, and you use casual language. Survival orientation: Little room for abstract, academic topics. You talk about people and relationships. Identity tied to lover/fighter for men: Men are expected to work hard physically. Idea of the “sensitive male” is not valued.

18 Characteristics of Generational Poverty
Identity tied to rescuer/ martyr for women: Be a care taker and put the family first. Importance of non-verbal/ kinesthetic communication: Touch, space, and gestures are used to communicate. Ownership of people: People are possessions. You don’t betray them and you take care of one another. Negative Orientation: Failure at anything is the source of stories and being made fun of.

19 Characteristics of Generational Poverty
Discipline: Punishment is about penance and forgiveness, not change. Belief in fate: Destiny and fate make or break you… not choices. Polarized thinking: Things are either black or white (few shades of grey). Mating dance: Use your body to attract others or complement others on their body (not their mind, personality, etc.)

20 Characteristics of Generational Poverty
Time: Think of the present, not the past or future. Think of time as an emotional event and not actual date/ day. Sense of humor: If you have one, then you are valued. You joke about other people (most often people you know). Lack of order/organization: Many of the homes/apartments are unkempt and cluttered. Lives in the moment: Not a lot of goal setting or planning. Consequences are not often considered.

21 Review the Family Diagrams (pg. 55).
Mother is always at the center in generational poverty. Many times relationships are confused; however, everyone is always aware of the main caretaker “mom.” Many relationships do not result in marriage. Men will often come and go in relationships. Who you depend on on any given day may vary depending on the current situation. Many times teenage parents pass their children back to “mom” and take on a sister role.

22 Generational Poverty @ School
Disorganized Excuses, excuses No homework Aggressive Class-clown, Joker Concrete thinker Can’t get started Can’t monitor own behavior Laugh when disciplined Will work if they like you Tell stories in casual language Don’t know middle class rules Dislike authority Talk back Extremely participatory

23 Moving from poverty to middle class
Emotional memory bank: emotions that are accessed habitually and “feel right.” In poverty, relationships are the most valued. As you move away from placing importance on these relationships toward placing importance on achievement you may “feel wrong.” Emotional resources and stamina: allow the individual to live with feelings other than those in the emotional memory bank.

24 Why take the risk to change emotional memory bank?
Current situation is too painful for the individual to stay A compelling goal or vision of the future drives the individual A talent or skill takes the individual into new surroundings A spouse or mentor provides an emotional comfort level while the individual learns the new skills/ knowledge.

25 Group Project Step 1: Get together in your groups
Step 2: Discuss “Ellie” who is described on pages 63-64 Step 3: Offer up some suggestions of interventions that might have been tried to keep her from dropping out of school. Possible suggestions are on pages 66-67; however, think in terms of what a school psychologist might offer.

26 Penance and Forgiveness
Discipline is not about change. The mother is the disciplinarian. She is judge, jury, and executioner. She determines the amount and price of penance. Once it is complete, she provides forgiveness. Behaviors go back to normal after forgiveness is granted. As mother is in control, self-control is not a requirement.

27 Behavior Related to Poverty
Laugh When Discipline: Saves face. Argue Loudly w/ teacher: Distrust of authority/ poverty is participatory. Angry Response: Anger=fear (loss of face?) Inappropriate comments: Causal Language Physically Fight: do not use language to resolve conflict. May be “less of a man/woman if don’t fight. Hands always on someone else: communication is often nonverbal Cannot follow directions: little procedural memory in poverty. Sequence not used.

28 Behavior Related to Poverty
Extremely Disorganized: Lack of planning scheduling, or prioritizing. Also may not have tools. Complete only part of the task: W/out self-talk, they may only see part of the task. Disrespectful of Teacher: lack of respect for authority Harm other students, physically or verbally: habitual response, way to buy space or distance. Cheat or steal: weak support system, financial need. Talk incessantly: Poverty is participatory.

29 Problem Solving Steps Stop: Take a moment before acting.
Think: Think of all possible options. Choose: Choose the best option. Do: Do that option. Evaluate: How did that work out for you? What would you do differently next time?

30 Group Project: IQ and Poverty
Students in poverty score on average 9 points lower on IQ tests. Payne states that this is due to lack of acquired knowledge consistent with middle class. What are some other possibilities that we find IQ differences b/w different cultural groups and different SES groups?

31 Importance of Relationships
9 out 10 students who have successfully left poverty say that a relationship with another individual (e.g., teacher, counselor, etc.) made the difference to them. A successful relationship occurs when emotional deposits are made to students and emotional withdrawals are avoided. This is true in any relationship.

32 Middle class view of Deposits and Withdrawals
Seek first to be understood Breaking promises Unkindness, discourtesies Violating expectations Disloyalty, duplicity Pride, conceit, arrogance Rejecting feedback Deposits Seek first to understand Keeping promises Kindnesses, courtesies Clarifying expectations Loyalty to the absent Apologies Open to feedback

33 Poverty view of Deposits and Withdrawals
Put-downs or sarcasm about their humor Insistence for full explanations about a person or a situation Insistence on the middle-class view of a relationship Using the parent voice Telling the individual his/her goals Making judgments on the value and availability of resources Assigning pejorative character traits Deposits Appreciation for humor and entertainment Acceptance of what the individual cannot say about a situation Respect the demands and priorities of relationships Using the adult voice Assisting with goal-setting Identifying options related to available resources Understanding the importance of personal freedom, speech, and individual personality

34 90/90/90 Schools At least: 5 Commonalities 90% combined minority
90% free or reduced lunch 90% successful on standardized assessments 5 Commonalities Strong emphasis on achievement Clear and integrated curricular choices Frequent assessment to monitor progress Strong emphasis in writing in all academics External scoring of student work

35 90/90/90 Success through… Ongoing and focused professional development
Modeling of effective teaching and assessment practices Ongoing professional collaboration Effective communication between school staff, parents, and students Visible tracking of student progress on a frequent and regular basis. Work by Douglas Reeves

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