I have selected the book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” by Ruby Payne. Ruby Payne is the founder of Aha! Process Inc. Since 1972, she has been involved with education as an administrator, consultant, teacher and principal. She has more than 30 years of field experience in educational sector. In 1996, based on her experience and learning, she built her own company Aha! Process Inc. She is a Ph.D., Author, Speaker and Publisher on economic classes and socioeconomic aspects in Education and work. She did her Bachelors, B.A. from Goshen (IN) College; Masters in English Literature from Western Michigan University and Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Loyola University in Illinois. She gained fame by providing career guidance and helping all students irrespective of their economic background to achieve academic success. Since the mid-1990s she has been speaking to audiences around the world about the effects of poverty on students, families, and communities and how to better understand and support people from all economic backgrounds. (Inc)
Dr. Payne is a writer or co-author of numerous book. “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” and “Bridges Out of Poverty” are the some of her famous books. Dr. Ruby Payne’s first book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” sold over a million copies and is a guide for teachers and principals to deal with economically challenged children. In her book, Ruby discusses the hidden rules that govern how each of us behaves in our social class. Those rules, because they are hidden and only known to those within the group, prove to be a major stumbling block for individuals trying to move to a new social class. Students from poverty often languish in classrooms run by members of middle class because those are the rules that govern. (Bureau). She is associated with many organizations in United States, Canada, India, United Kingdom, Australia, etc to fight against the economic class differences across the globe.
The book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” is themed around poverty. Poverty is comparative and come about in all races, religion and countries. The book provides deep insight into the affects of poverty in our societies or communities and in schools. Dr. Ruby Payne defines poverty as “The extent to which an individual does without resources. Poverty is more about resources than about money”. These resources can be outlined as emotional, financial, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems resources, knowledge of hidden rules and relationships or role models. Emotional resources consists of stamina, choices and perseverance and helps people to come out of poverty into the middle class segment by controlling their emotional responses to negative situations. Financial Resources refers to having monetary funds to buy goods or services. Mental resources is defined as having mental ability and skills to deal with daily life challenges and can be developed by reading, writing and computing. Spiritual resource is believing in divine purpose and guidance. Physical resource is related to health and mobility. Support systems resources means availability of friends and family in difficult times or in times of need. Relationship role models resource refers to having a positive role model that helps in nuturing and access to adults who do not engage in self-destruction. Knowledge of hidden rules resource consists of knowing the unspoken cues of a group of people.
Dr. Payne refers to two types of Poverty – Generational Poverty and Situational Poverty. Generational Poverty refers to the people who dwelled in poverty for more than two generations. In this type of poverty, the society is not trustworthy and it owes them a living. Marriages seldom take place resulting in only a few divorces. Instead of that, people are involved in multiple relationships. Children are born out of wedlock and brought up by different fathers. It also happens when parents have been jailed or have abondoned their children. Often grandparents become caretakers of their offspring. This results in formation of gangs which are growing source of support for many individuals in Generational Poverty. Situational poverty is for a shorter period of time. Situational poverty is due to a death in the family or illness or divorce which results in financial problem or crisis. People suffering situational poverty are proudy and do not accept any form of charity. Poverty Rule says “You may need to use your body for survival. After all, that is all that is truly yours…values don’t put food on the table”. There are number od scenarios used to portray both types of Poverty.
According to me, the book provides great insight into understanding poverty. The use of language provides a basis of understanding students in poverty. Students use “Casual register” as a format of spoken language at home. Students also lack the ability of being self-governing as they form gangs to protect themselves, territory or other members. According to me, low achievement is related to the lack of resources as mentioned or described in the book. Through the book, Dr. Payne wants to stress on use of cognitive strategy which includes skills, concepts and contents. Planning is also very important which includes setting of goals, identify steps and work towards it. Controlling emotions is also very important. Dr. Payne states that the most important part of learning is related to relationships. Schools and teachers need to promote support systems and establish strong relationship with their students to bring success to the poverty challenged students. Lot of things depend on the mindset of the students in poverty like to learn cognitive strategy and apply them to come out of poverty. It is important to make students believe that poverty is a situation and they can get out of it easily. Resources, concepts and methods explained in the book is the key to bring success among poor students.