A framework for understanding poverty
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A framework for Understanding Poverty. Sheally Engebretson Dr. Kwame Bruce Based on book by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. Key Points to Remember. Poverty is relative Poverty occurs in all races and in all countries Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear-cut distinction

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A framework for understanding poverty

A framework for Understanding Poverty

Sheally Engebretson

Dr. Kwame Bruce

Based on book by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.

Key points to remember
Key Points to Remember

  • Poverty is relative

  • Poverty occurs in all races and in all countries

  • Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear-cut distinction

  • Generational poverty and situational poverty are different


Statistics about poverty
Statistics About Poverty and relationships

  • 7.6 million poor families in 2003

  • Foreign-born population in U.S. has increased

  • Poverty is caused by interrelated factors: parental employment status and earning, family structure, and parental education (Five Million Children, 1992)

Definition of poverty
Definition of Poverty and relationships

The extent to which an individual does without resources


Resources and relationships

  • Financial

  • Emotional

  • Mental

  • Spiritual

  • Physical

  • Support Systems

  • Relationship/Role Models

  • Knowledge of Hidden Rules

Quote and relationships

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

Dr. James Comer

Role of language and story
Role of Language and Story and relationships

Register of Language: every language in the world has five registers.

  • Frozen

  • Formal

  • Consultative

  • Casual

  • Intimate

Hidden rules among classes
Hidden Rules Among Classes and relationships

Generally, in America, the notion is recognized for racial and ethnic groups, but not particularly for economic groups.

Characteristics of generation poverty
Characteristics of Generation Poverty and relationships

  • Poverty for at least two generations

  • Has its own culture, hidden rules & belief systems

  • Prevailing attitude is that society owes one a living.

Family patterns in generational poverty
Family Patterns in Generational Poverty and relationships

  • Family patterns

  • Key roles: fighter/lover, caretaker/rescuer, worker, storyteller, and “keeper of the soul” (i.e., dispenser of penance and forgiveness)


Quote and relationships

  • “The culture of poverty has some universal characteristics which transcend regional, rural-urban, and even national differences…There are remarkable similarities in family structure, interpersonal relations, time orientations, value systems, spending patterns, and the sense of community in lower-class settlements in London, Glasgow, Paris, Harlem, and Mexico City.”

    Oscar Lewis, Four Horsemen

Characteristics and relationships

  • Get mad & quite their job/work

  • Will work hard if they like you

  • Do not use conflict-resolution skills

  • Use survival language

  • Not emotionally reserved when angry

Characteristics cont
Characteristics cont. and relationships

  • Extreme freedom of speech

  • Very independent

  • Time

  • Need emotional warmth

  • Level of integrity

Characteristics cont1
Characteristics cont. and relationships

  • Possessiveness

  • “Space”

  • Favoritism

Characteristics real men real women
Characteristics: Real Men, Real Women and relationships

  • Men socialize with men and women with women

  • A real man is ruggedly good-looking

  • A real woman takes care of her man

Role models emotional resources
Role Models Emotional Resources and relationships




Functional and Dysfunctional Systems

Support systems
Support Systems and relationships

  • Coping Strategies

  • Options During Problem-Solving

  • Information and Know-How

  • Temporary Relief from Emotional, Financial, and/or Time Constraints

Support system cont
Support System cont. and relationships

  • Connections to Other People and Resources

  • Positive Self-Talk

  • Procedural Self-Talk

    Hidden Rules Among Classes handout

Creating relationships
Creating Relationships and relationships

  • Students in poverty

  • Emotional Bank (Covey-1889)

Relationship deposits withdrawals
Relationship Deposits & Withdrawals and relationships


Seek first to understand Seek first to be understood

Keeping promises Breaking promises

Kindnesses, courtesies Unkindnesses, discourtesies

Clarifying expectations Violating expectations

Loyalty to the absent Disloyalty, duplicity

Apologies Pride, conceit, arrogance

Open to feedback Rejecting feedback

Deposits made to individual in poverty
Deposits made to individual in poverty and relationships

  • Appreciation for humor and entertainment provided by the individual

  • Acceptance of what the individual cannot say about a person or situation

  • Respect for the demands and priorities of relationships

  • Using the adult voice

Deposits cont
Deposits cont. and relationships

  • Assisting with goal-setting

  • Identifying options related to available resources

  • Understanding the importance of personal freedom, speech, and individual personality

Conclusion and relationships

It is our responsibility who work with the poor to teach the differences and skills/rules that will allow the individual to make the choice. As it now stands for many of the poor, the choice never exists.