A former teacher and principal, Ruby Payne gives advice on teaching poor kids that makes sense to educators, reports Education Week.
To survive in poor communities, Ms. Payne contends, people need to be nonverbal and reactive. They place priority on the personal relationships that are often their only significant resources and rely on entertainment to escape harsh realities. Members of the middle class, in contrast, succeed or fail through the use of paper representations and plans for the future. They value work and achievement.
. . . teachers must recognize that children from poor families often benefit from explicit instruction and support in areas that could be taken for granted among middle-class students. Those include the so-called unspoken rules, mental models that help learners store symbolic information, and the procedures that it takes to complete an abstract task.
A teacher attentive to the needs of her low-income students fills the day with pointers and checklists. She puts tools for organizing information into her students’ hands, and helps them translate it from its “street” version to its school one. She spells out reasons for learning.
Critics say Payne’s views aren’t backed by research and stereotype poor people.