Using the Lens of Economic Class to Help Teachers Understand and Teach Students from Poverty: A Response
by Ruby K. Payne - May 17, 2009
This is a response by Dr. Ruby K. Payne, author of A Framework for Understanding Poverty, to “Miseducating Teachers about the Poor: A Critical Analysis of Ruby Payne’s Claims about Poverty” by Bomer et al. The lens of economic class is used to help teachers understand and teach students from poverty; Framework was never intended to be “an exhaustive tome on stratification in society”—whether that stratification pertains to race, gender, or ethnicity. The work is developed to build human capacity and assist with the intergenerational transfer of knowledge. Payne cites scholarly studies on multiple settings throughout the United States where her techniques have been implemented the past decade. She explains that “hidden rules,” a linchpin of her philosophy, are based on patterns—and all patterns have exceptions. Framework takes a cognitive approach to class based on “situated learning.” The work is at the micro level, not at the macro level of systems.
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