Poverty and Discipline


Many of the students we are struggling to reach and find hard to teach are students of poverty. One reason we are often challenged are because of the hidden rules. We are used ot having these kinds of unspoken habits and cues among racial and ethnic groups, but are not used to thinking about them between economic groups - but they exist. Schools are designed around the Middle Classrooms, and because the rules are unspoken, it is human nature to believe that everyone understands them. Understanding the difference between the rules of poverty and the rules of middle class helps teachers understand why they are getting certain behaviors, why certain tried and true strategies don't seem to work, and why tehy might be having a hard time reaching hard to teach students.

Workshop Resources


- Poverty & Discipline - PDF of Presentation Slides
- Hidden Rules Quiz - PDF
- Poverty & Discipline - Enhanced podcast (approx 50-60 minutes)



Additional Resources


Framework for Understanding Poverty
To better understand students and adults from poverty, a working definition of poverty is "the extent to which an individual does without resources.
by Ruby K. Payne

Q&A with Ruby Payne
Dr. Ruby K. Payne, a former teacher and administrator, is the president of aha! Process, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to helping educators better understand how to teach children from poverty. Her first book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” has been used as the basis for hundreds of workshops with educators across the country and internationally.

Understanding and Working with Students and Adults from Poverty - PDF
The hidden rules of the middle class govern schools and work; students from generational poverty
come with a completely different set of hidden rules.
by Ruby Payne, Baytown, Texas

How Understanding Poverty Can Help Low-Income Children Learn
Teachers often come from vastly different social and economic classes than their students, which can lead to culture clashes in the classroom. A new book by Dr. Ruby K. Payne helps educators understand low-income students, and discusses ways to improve their learning. Included: Tips for making lessons relevant to students from all social classes.

aha! Process Complimentary Downloads
Free resources from Ruby Payne and aha! Process. Includes PDFs, podcasts, and video podcasts.