credential or endorsement to teach impoverished learners

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Jul 1, 2014.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I'm trying to find out if any state has a program that trains teachers specifically to handle the needs of poor kids. Any information out there?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I've never heard of such a thing beyond a school- or district-specific professional development opportunity.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  5. KinderCowgirl

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    I've never heard of it either, but I think that would be very interesting. There is certainly enough literature out there to support it.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

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    I've not heard of it either.
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I agree. Since 25% of our students are living at or below the poverty line, it would seem a necessity. We're working on this in my state, but I was wondering if other states were doing something to add training and prestige to the difficult job of teaching poor kids.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is something that should exist if it doesn't already. At the very least, it would be a fantastic professional development workshop.
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    It's an interesting concept, but could be dangerous to start requiring such an endorsement and formally labeling a child as "poor" as an educational status. Not that I think anyone here is negatively discriminating - quite the opposite. And, not that I don't think there aren't legitimate needs that tend to be more prevalent with kids who are poor.

    I think one reason I'm hesitant to like the idea is that I think there are other endorsements that might be more specifically helpful than a general "poor kids endorsement," such an endorsement in reading intervention or behavior management. I think those would more specifically address the common needs that kids who are poor often have, rather than trying to speak directly to the poverty variable itself.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    I've attended two poverty workshops as mandatory PD. Both were epic fails according to everyone I spoke to. One was a simulation which was so cliche' it was infuriating. The presenter said it was good that we were frustrated because it would make us more understanding. But we were frustrated because it wasn't realistic, there was no way for anyone to have any success, no matter how small.

    I would like to attend a good program on this subject, one that was geared to my age group of students. And went beyond "don't assign homework" and "hungry students can't learn"
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    There is a large university program in my area that features "urban education" as a major. The student teachers specifically work in inner city schools for practicums and student teaching placements and supposedly get special training for working with that population. Not quite the same thing, but obviously most inner city schools have a large "impoverished" population. My last school had a partnership with this program and we had about 10-15 practicum students/student teachers in the building at all times. I will say that if they worked in that building and still wanted to go into teaching in an inner city school, they'd definitely at least be going in with their eyes wide open!
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I completely agree with this. If such a program existed, I think there would be too much over generalizing the low income population. The mentality would be...questionable, I think. Not all families in poverty are exactly the same. As ed ed mentioned, there are areas that would be good to focus on for these populations - behavior and intervention, as he said, or English Learners come to mind - but the idea of a "poor kids" endorsement or focus doesn't sit too well with me. Too many opportunities for stereotyping. I've worked in several different low income schools, and all areas, schools, and families are different.
     
  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    The concerns expressed about a "poor kids endorsement" are really interesting to me. The two main concerns are that the training could end up stereotyping low income students and that the training could be a waste of time. Does anyone have another concern?

    We are designing the program right now, so I really want to make sure we don't screw it up.

    So far we are looking at a program that requires at least three years teaching in a school with a low income population (based on free/reduced lunch percentage), university-sponsered bi-weekly meetings to offer readings and conversations that support teachers in these schools, special classes in the unique learning needs of low income students, and a track to become a mentor for new teachers in the program.

    Also, we are hoping for a Hall of Honor for low SES schools to tout their number of endorsed teachers. One of our goals is to make teaching a low income population an especially honored position.
     
  14. kab164

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    Learner's Edge has an online continuing ed. Course called Teaching in the Face of Poverty. A friend took it and said it's a great class, I want to take it.
     
  15. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    So this is for teachers who are already teaching? That does make more sense than making it a program for people still in school.

    When I was in my master's program, my final project was actually about the way low income students/families are viewed and how that detrimentally impacts their education. I read several articles criticizing Ruby Payne's work, specifically. Her book is FULL of stereotypes. Yes, there are special challenges to teaching impoverished students, but not every single student in a low income community comes from a broken home, knows people involved in shady dealings, etc. I guess that kind of view is what disturbs me. I don't like it when people view students from low income communities as needing to be "saved" and as that exclusively. These kids are so much more than the labels they're saddled with.

    I can see where you are coming from, and I agree that we need to put more focus on teaching in these types of schools and areas, but I am just very wary of this idea.
     
  17. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I have heard of some universities allowing Ed students (usually at the grad level) to "create" their own program where their degree focuses on teaching urban/inner-city youth. Michigan had this option, but you had to already be in the Ed grad program to know about it. It mostly included sociology courses.
     
  18. EdEd

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    I think my concern is less about stereotyping and more about actually addressing the needs of poor students. The main problem with addressing poverty directly is that it rarely, if ever, is the direct cause of educational problems. It is mediated by variables such as environmental stress, poor nutrition, poor home supervision, etc. To the extent that your program said, "Kids who are impoverished often face certain challenges, and we want to provide resources to teachers to meet those challenges," that might make sense provided you specified those challenges and directly addressed them.

    So, for example, it might make sense to say, "Kids from poor backgrounds often experience environmental stress, which leads to lower levels of concentration in the classroom. Here are some ways to deal with that." However, it would not make sense to say, "Kids from poor backgrounds often have lower levels of concentration in the classroom," because it overgeneralizes and doesn't name the actual problem.

    Along those same lines, I'd say stereotyping is less a concern than overgeneralization.

    Finally, I might consider using "person first language," which involves saying the condition or disability after the person - so, not "ADHD kids" but "kids with ADHD" - or, not "poor kids," but "kids are poor" or some variation. This has become a bigger deal with some groups of folks, and sounds a bit more professional. You may already be doing this and were just being informal in this thread, of course.
     
  19. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Well said, and I would agree with you. Maybe stereotyping wasn't the best term.

    I've heard of "urban" programs, but not all low income communities are urban. That's the thing, to me...I guess a lot of the challenges faced by families in low income communities are the same, but there is such variation between regions. For example, my mom's school has a lot of students whose parents are farm workers, because she works in a rural community. My former school is in more of an urban/suburban setting. We both taught students who live in poverty, but there are important differences between types of communities.
     
  20. EdEd

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    Jul 4, 2014

    yellow daisies to add to what you are saying, I think maybe internships or field placements - with reading & study - are an effective way of approach how to work with a particular population. I suppose that may end up not being very practically different from what Tyler is suggesting, though.

    Tyler, in either case, I should have started off by commending you for wanting to go the distance with furthering teachers' understanding and effectiveness with kids in difficult situations. There are too many teachers who don't have those sets of skills, and I appreciate that you're not just talking about it, but doing something about it.

    Happy 4th everyone by the way!
     
  21. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    This thread reminds me of conversations I had my first year teaching. I had a week of district orientations. It was a rough school district and we discussed challenges facing some of the students in that week. When school started it was easy to see there was a big issue with gangs at my school. I knew nothing about gangs but it was something that a teacher needed to be aware of. For example, you couldn't allow certain things to be said in class or there was a time a Scholastic magazine had a an article with one of these words in it that I couldn't use in class. Another new teacher was saying to the veteran teacher that a crash course in some of this would have been really helpful during the orientation. The veteran teacher agreed but said the ones giving the orientation really didn't understand the stuff themselves.

    As someone mentioned earlier, there are so many different types of low income students maybe it is too hard to discuss all of this. I also do think a lot of times people turn a blind eye or don't understand things that children of poverty go through.
     
  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    There's a great deal of evidence that poor kids have a different brain than other children due to early childhood stress. This would imply they would benefit from a different approach to teaching.

    Studies have shown the poverty affects brain development.

    . . . there is new biological evidence that a high-stress environment for very young children does not simply affect cultural and psychological conditions that predispose the poor to failure; it can also affect the architecture of the brain, changing the actual neurological functioning and quantity of brain matter. - Jeff Madrick

    I think we can help these kids develop to their full potential with the right pedagogical approaches.
     
  23. schoolteacher

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  24. EdEd

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    I would respond that I don't think poverty is expressed equally by all kids, and that all kids are different starting off so even if poverty were experienced similarly, the end result (each child's brain) would be different.

    For example, one child may have a strong within-home role model, but live in a neighborhood with poor peer role models. Another may have positive friends, but no within-home support. Another may no adult support and negative peer influences, but strong support from older siblings. Each of these situations, all potentially affected by the variable of poverty, would lead to different effects. Even more so, each child would experience each of those situations differently.

    Back to my original point, knowing a child is poor doesn't predict the intervention. So, you wouldn't use reading intervention x4 because a child is poor. You'd need to do a reading assessment to figure out which reading intervention would be needed. If the reading assessment indicated intervention h6 were needed, that wouldn't change just because of the child's level of family wealth.

    So, studying typical clusters of problems and respective solutions does make sense (e.g., many kids who are poor struggle with phonemic awareness because there is a relationship between early reading support and family income level, so learning more about phonemic awareness interventions than other teachers may make more sense).
     
  25. Tyler B.

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