Category Archives: Issues

Understanding Children from Lower Income Homes

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It is a well common fact that the home life of students often affects their school lives. This is an issue that many teachers may find difficult to address because home life is not something that an educator can easily fix, or even not fix at all. Many different issues can be brought into the classroom due to the home life including, lack of homework, lack of assistant from the parents or even lack of motivation from the students. Often, some of these issues are more predominant in lower income areas/homes due to the lack education from the parents and sometimes the lack of assistance due to lower funds. It is often a teacher’s jobs to provide as much assistances to children to avoid the home life taking over too much of the classroom.

The first problem that many children from lower income family experience are a lack of support from the home. Strauss (2013) mentions how a common stereo type for lower income homes is that not only do the parents, not value education but are often lazy. Strauss (2013) however goes into details about how that these facts are often not true and the parents frequently do not have the resources to help rather than not wanting to. The biggest reason why this is important to understand as teachers are because the lack of education and resources these families have usually affected the child’s education. If a child is sent home to do homework and doesn’t understand the work themselves, then asks their parents for help, but do to their own lack of education they cannot help, the child is put into an awkward position of not being able to complete their work. This may have larger effects on the student’s education because they may no longer want to do homework at all, they may possibly put themselves down and assume they will be just as uneducated as their parents no matter how hard they try.

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The other big issue many children face is the digital divide and the income divide of parents not being able to afford certain things for their child. Gorski (2013) mentions both of these issues, including how over half of the students in a very low-income area did not have both computers and internet access; he also talks about how some parents are not even able to afford crayons and cardboard paper for assessments.

The problem that this brings in the classroom is that teachers can only do so much to help. Within a school environment, it is well known that there are often an only certain number of computers and resources for students to use and a teacher does not have the power to change this. It is also well known that teachers are often not majorly in control of the assessment either, but rather are told what the students must do by the Department of Education. However, there are some things that a teacher can do to help; some of these things may include:

  • Allowing children as much computer time as possible for assessments
  • Providing as many resources as possible for assessments (including paper, pens, crayons, etc.)
  • Having one-on-one time with the children at the beginning of the year to understand who may need more help due to financial problems
  • Trying to make assessments as affordable and accessible as possible for all students

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Marginson talks about how firstly, exclusion both socially and economically have become more common in the past two decades and secondly some about some of the efforts made to make the difference smaller. Some of these included:

  • Better facilities in early-education
  • Developments for those who are underprivileged
  • Better options for early school leavers
  • Better opportunities to get a higher education
  • Payment to students who need help

Many of these options are great for those students who are deprived of finances that affect their schooling.

When it comes down to it, as a teacher, there are going to be many different types of students within a classroom. Although low-income students are a type of students that teachers do not have a huge control over, there are little things that can be done to make education better for those children. It is also very important for teachers to know and understand as best they can what it would be like to do a student from a low-income family; many students feel worthless, don’t receive as much help and often follow in their parent’s foots, yet want more. It needs to be clear to teachers that sometimes these students do misbehave or do not put as much effort into school as they should, but it is not necessarily their fault and therefore these students need to me nurtured more.

Diversity in Teaching: Real Life Issues

Understanding children are probably the most important part about being a teacher, however, it is also a part that many educators forget. Each induvial child is very different and not everyone is going to understand a subject equally. It is also very important for a teacher to understand that children are actually very smart, regardless of how well they perform in class and often, students do want to learn about different things. The biggest problem that many students and teachers face is relevance. Children tend to relate better to subjects when they are based on real life and tend to not be interested in things if there is no sense of realism to a subject.

According to a video by Learning for the 21st Century (2012), they talk about how children find learning much more meaningful when it is not only related to real life experiences but also when the child can interact with a problem. As educators, it is important to understand children and how it is also important that there is nothing wrong with a child inquiring as to why something is relevant. Like adults, children find that when information is presented to them in a way they can not only understand but relate back to something in their own lives, this allows the information to sink in and often be more interesting.

There are many different ways in which a teacher would be successful in relating an educational topic to a real life scenario. Some of these topics may include:

  • Asking the children if the topic relates to something in their life
  • Relating topics such as mathematics to things like money
  • Using things such as video games and television as examples
  • Asking the students how key events in history may impact the modern day
  • Allowing the students to make examples of how cultures are different to their own

Of course, when it comes to the actual classroom and being a teacher, there would be endless amounts of ways in which a teacher can relate a topic to something in real life. Sometimes, however, teachers need to understand that relating a topic is not always about relating things to real life, but instead relating things that the children/teens find enjoyable.

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Teachers can try and plan their lessons appropriately by trying to think of situations that subject could be relatable to for the class at hand. Krahenbuhl (2016) mentions how things such as instructions, policies and all items of education should be designed based on how they are going to effect the students. This statement is very important because choosing an applicably relevant subject may be tricky since not all students may find the relatable subject entertaining, some students may not relate to that subject at all and some student may even be offended by it. Even though it is insane to be able to relate education to real life things, it is still important for a teacher to understand how the real life subjects will affect different children.

Teachers must understand that even though many students do genuinely want a good education, some students find school boring and therefore can’t relate to the topics given. It is important for teachers to try and make education as fun and relatable as possible to give all children a chance at a good education. Some students most definitely do enjoy working off of a text book and processing information, but some students need more of a reason to learn and as teachers, we must give them the reason.