Student learning can be identified as seven types of learning which are competence, self-regulation and control of behavior, sharing, individuation, goal planning, challenge, and self-change, may function at different times where and when appropriate, and serve to balance and reinforce student learning (Sharon, Coulter). Significance of Study Students who live in poverty need instruction that leads them toward constructing knowledge, first through their strength of observation and then from their strong sensory background.
Because students rely heavily upon how they have been socialized in their culture, during the learning process at school, student engagement might look as though it is lacking. Instruction for these students needs to be centered on their strengths and attention given to their weaknesses in regards to providing an accepting atmosphere for learning. The greatest cause of failure with students in generational poverty is the attempt by many teachers to remain seemingly neutral and accepting of the noticeable failure rates with regards to the student’s inability to connect with the curriculum and learn as other students are able to do.
How can we understand why so many students fail to learn what the mainstream schools think they are teaching unless we can get a perspective from the learners and see the world through their eyes? The intentions of this study were to provide educators with an understanding of student learning in generational poverty. Finally, the results have provided a framework for understanding what types of instructional practices are effective with impoverished students.
Teacher education programs, educational leaders and policy makers that are in the market for tested strategies that increase the academic prowess of impoverished students can utilize this framework to bring about significant changes in how educators, policy makers, business people and the general public view the ability of the disadvantaged to learn. Chapter 2-LITERATURE REVIEW One goal of education is to ensure that every student has a chance to excel both in school and in life. There are factors that prevented education from serving this role. Too many children enter school with significant barriers to achieving their full potential.
According to Lee and Burkam (2002), children from poverty may especially have early educational lags. They describe students from families of low socioeconomic status with significant gaps in school readiness as they began kindergarden. These economically disadvantaged children lagged behind their more advantaged peers in skills and exposure to language (University of California, 2002). In fact, economically disadvantaged children score significantly lower on reading, math, and vocabulary tests when compared with otherwise similar non-poor children (Sherman, 1998).
As a result, there is an increasing number of children in school who face challenges, such as coming to school hungry, sleepy, depressed, abused, or angry. These conditions affect their engagement in the learning process which can ultimately affect their academic progress (Lawson & Briar-Lawson, 1997). In Clark’s (1983) intense study of ten poor African-American families and their children, he discovered that neither family income level, nor family educational level determines a child’s school performance. He concluded that “ . . .
it is the overall quality of a family’s life style, nor the composition, or status, or some subset of family process dynamics, that determines whether children are prepared for academically competent performance in the classroom” (p. 1). According to Lawson and Briar-Lawson (1997), students of economically disadvantaged parents experience challenges in school. Specifically, these children usually do not reach their full potential in school because they disrupt classrooms and are eventually labeled at-risk. This can lead to a transfer to special classes.
Their issues have the potential to get progressively worse as many students become truant, suspended, and eventually drop out of school. According to the Children’s Defense Fund (2005), there is little relief in sight. Since reaching a low point in 2000, the number of children living in poverty in the United States has grown by 12. 8 percent exceed 13 million. Poor families and children are being left behind as the benefits of a steadily growing economy fail to trickle down. Poverty is officially measured by the family’s annual income.
The determination of the poverty thresholds is based on a model created during 1960s that estimates the cost of an adequate family food budget. Poverty can result in several disadvantages for children, including alack of health insurance, inadequate education, and poor nutrition (Children’s Defense Fund, 2005). The negative influence that low socioeconomic status has on academic achievement can be devastating (Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997, Duncan, Yeung, Brooks-Gunn & Smith, 1996). This impact may be strongest during children’s earlier years (Duncan, Yeung, Brooks-Gunn & Smith, 1996), Bradley, Corwyn, Burchinal, Pipes-McAdoo and Garcia-Coll, C.
2001) According to the National Center for Education Statistics, (2000), only 19 percent of children from families of low socioeconomic status have the requisite pre-literacy skills when entering kindergarten. Of fourth-graders from the same socioeconomic background, only 2 percent scored as advanced readers and 12 percent as proficient readers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (2000) evaluation. Numerous factors contribute to the connection between low socioeconomic status and educational outcomes including birth weight, nutrition, and access to health care (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002).
These factors can also impact a child’s cognitive functioning an, in turn, educational achievement (Brody, G. H. , Flor, D. L. , & Gibson, N. M. , 1999). Children from low-income families struggle academically, especially with early reading skills (Tivnan & Hemphill, 2005). On the most recent national assessments of fourth grade reading, 54 percent of children who were eligible for free and reduced lunch scored at the lowest performance level in comparison to 23 percent of non-poverty children (Grigg, Danne, Jin, & Campbell, 2003).
A press release, The State of Children from The Children’s Defense Fund, attempted to articulate the growing development poverty and demonstrated the lack of progress in this area. In his January 20, 1937 inaugural speech, President Francklin Roosebelt stated,”I see a great nation, upon a great continent, blessed with a great wealth on natural resources. But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see millions of families trying to live on income so meager that pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day” (The Library of Congress, 2005).
According to the Children’s Defense Fund (2004), over 37 million people, including over 12 million American children, live in poverty. The State of Children from The Children’s Defense Fund (2004) indicated that there are too many poor and minority students who confront significant barriers to achieving their fullest potential. Several examples of the disparity between children with opportunity and without opportunity based upon poverty include: in writing, only 15 percent of those fourth graders eligible for free and reduced lunch can write at grade level compared to 42 percent of those who are not eligible (U.
S. Department of Education, 2003b). The Condition of Education 2004 (U. S. Department of Education, 2004b), reported “In addition to being more likely than White students to be from low- income families, Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be concentrated in high-poverty schools” (p. 4). In 2003, as the proportion of the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch.
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