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Introduction to: A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne

Powerpoint adapted by J. Kokoszka from Dr. S. Kathleen Krachs work

Purpose of This Presentation

To start a nine-week/session study group based on the chapters of Paynes book (TEMS has 10 copies) and news features and video clips Ive collectedI also want to hear your thoughts on educating low SES students effectively, as this subgroup tends to score lower on standardized tests.

Are lower income students culturally different? If so, how?

I thought about assumptions related to social class when I was applying to college. I also wondered about this at The Mead School: -teachers were not allowed to speak directly to parents -high focus on encouraging risk-taking -students were to be very direct w/teachers

Paynes book discusses occurrences like these. I started to realize that the culture, or cultures, I was finding myself within were not unique.

So, what IS culture?

Examples of Rules:
Poverty Middle Class Wealth




One of a kind objects or pedigrees Invest it International

Money View of the World

Use it Local

Manage it National

Introduction: Ruby Payne

Poverty is relative; SES is not a clear distinction Poverty occurs in all races and countries. 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.

We must understand the hidden rules of those in different SES for them to be successful. To move from poverty to middle class, one must give up relationships, at least for a time (or have them change?) You need education and relationships to move from poverty.

Nine chapters:

1: Definitions and Resources 2: The Role of Language and Story 3: Hidden Rules Among the Classes 4: Characteristics of Generational Poverty 5: Role Models and Emotional Resources

6: Support Systems 7: Discipline 8: Instruction and Improving Achievement 9: Creating Relationships

Variances of Language

Five different registers, from frozen (memorized language), to formal/casual/consultative and to intimate.
You can go down one register without offending, but not two. Most children in poverty do not use formal at home.

Writing uses formal. A student who only knows casual in L1 (first language) must now learn formal as an L2. When parents use casual and school uses formal, there can be a disconnect.

What does this 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.

Just Some Characteristics of Generational Poverty

Matriarchal Structure Oral-language tradition Survival orientation: Little room for abstract, academic topics. You talk about people and relationships. Identity tied to lover/fighter for men Negative Orientation Background noise, entertainment Polarized thinking: Things are either black or white (few shades of grey). Belief in fate

Moving from low SES 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.

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.

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 dont fight. Hands always on someone else: communication is often nonverbal Cannot follow directions: little procedural memory in poverty. Sequence not used.

Importance of Relationships

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.

Where To Go From Here

Discussion groups based on getting to understand the Framework and viewpoints of other resources Possibly also look into Coveys Emotional Bank Account Model Discussions as to what already works for our students and else may also help increase achievement.