What Can Schools Do to Address Poverty? | Edutopia

Strategies for teaching children of poverty

Teaching Strategies / August 16, 2020

You can do more good than you ever thought possible

Teaching strategies for children in poverty are based on the fact that we now know that the brain is designed to change. If it can change for the worse (exposure to the elements of poverty), it can change for the better (exposure to enrichment). It’s no secret that kids from poverty have below average IQ scores, too. But we also know, that as a result of better environments, that IQ can be raised significantly. In fact, the worse off a student is, the greater the “upside” in their IQ. What you’ll learn in your Jensen Learning workshop are the factors which drive IQ up, and do it quickly and reliably.

What is teaching to poverty and what is the difference?

The effects of poverty on any human being are truly staggering. In short, the kids are different because their brains are different. Our neurons are designed by nature to reflect their environment, not to “automatically” rise above it. Areas of the brain that are affected by chronic exposure to poverty include those responsible for working memory, impulse regulation, visuospatial, language and cognitive capacity and conflict (Noble, et al. 2005).

Here are a few basics that every school from poverty ought to be doing:

  1. School staff needs collective “will” and belief that they can work miracles.
  2. Staff needs to be fabulous at data analysis and learning to collect and use meaningful, relevant data. They have to use formative assessments with on-going blending of instruction and assessment. They use a school-wide rubric to evaluate student progress fairly.
  3. Staff needs to link their instructional strategies to the standards to get credit for the work they do and changes have to be targeted based on clear data that will meet standards.
  4. Staff needs high expectations.
  5. School need to have clearly-defined, shared mission and school goals.

Chances are, you already do those; they’re in every book and article out there. Now, here’s what’s not in those articles that you must know. At Jensen Learning, you’ll get the real insider knowledge that can skyrocket your achievement scores.

If it doesn't start in the home, it has to start in the classroom

Something has to be done to change the trend and skilled, enlightened teachers are the only ones up to bat. Teachers need to develop better strategies and plans for overcoming the specific obstacles that arise in this large and growing group. Do you have them?

One of Jensen Learning's specialties is developing strategies to defeat the issues that block learning in children in poverty. There are some efforts you can adopt that begin to alter the trend and there are many, many more we can teach you and your fellow faculty members through workshops, seminars and in-service training right at your school.

What must you begin doing differently?

Out of all the strategies used by high-performing schools, this one is the most fundamental. The best metaphor comes from your own computer. Years ago, the early computers like Commodore 64 or Apple IIE had such primitive operating systems that they were mostly glorified typewriters. An operating system is a cohesive set of sub-systems that work as a whole. In today’s computers, the operating system is expected to have a memory capacity, processing and sequencing capacity, stability and flexibility.

In the human brain, kids from poverty typically have a substandard operating system. Their operating system was not developed properly because of a suboptimal upbringing. Low-income kids have an ineffective “operating system” that is weak in “the big five factors” that regulate how their brain deals with academic material.

This operating system is the academic resource kit that makes school success possible. Without it, not matter how much or how little content you offer, kids will struggle. When we teach the core components of our brain’s academic operating system, students perform better. Each day of our lives, our brain adapts to our experiences. This newly changing brain now influences us. There’s a “chicken and egg” effect happening; we change our brains and our changed brain then change us. You’ll learn about this amazing “operating system” at your 4-Day “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” workshop. We’d love to give you a ton of strategies right here, but teachers like you learn something best when you see it, hear it and experience the strategy actually used. For that, you may want to attend one of the upcoming Jensen workshops that teach you strategies for students from poverty.

How do I learn more about how to do it?

Jensen Learning provides three methods for you to become a better teacher to children in poverty. First, you may want to attend one of only two “Teaching with Poverty in Mind workshops. Click on the link to see greater details about Teaching Strategies for Children in Poverty workshops. These workshops provide the time and practice you need to adopt these life-changing strategies into your teaching every single day! You will find these workshops to be life-changing, invaluable assistance to what you can do for this growing segment of your student population for the rest of your teaching career.

Source: www.jensenlearning.com