The belief that poverty is a deterrent to learning still persists among those in the education community.
It is ridiculous to believe that parental income, or lack thereof, determines the intelligence of children or their ability to learn. A child enters school at the age of five or six. They know nothing of how much their parents earn or do not earn. Children in high poverty areas come to school with the knowledge of how to survive in their environment just as children in low poverty areas do.
Unfortunately, teachers are taught that the knowledge children of poverty posses is inconsequential to the learning process and, instead of embracing that knowledge they try to replace it with information that will do nothing to help the child survive in the environment to which they must return.
It is also unfortunate that teachers are taught that because children come from an affluent background, they know more than other children and their expectations of those children place undue pressures on these children to succeed where they may lack the developmental ability to do so.
It is natural for any living child to learn. What they learn is dependent upon the beliefs of the individual teaching them. This has been proven time and time again.
If the teaching adult believes that the child is capable of learning and the information taught is important, the child will learn. However, if the teaching adult believes that the child is incapable of learning regardless of the importance of the information, the child may not learn to their full potential. This has also been proven.
It is difficult for most to believe that concentrated poverty is a byproduct of concentrated ignorance. Ignorance on the part of those who believe that a child’s intelligence is linked to their parents financial condition and not society’s attitude towards those who live below an acceptable level of income.
When we change our attitude towards the power of money over intelligence we may begin to believe in the intelligence all children possess and teach them accordingly.
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