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Hidden Rules. Hints for Tutors A review by Linda Evans, Based on the works of Ruby Payne, PhD. Notes & info. This is just an overview of some of Ruby Payne’s works Dr. Payne also does workshops for school districts around the country For more information, please check out:

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Hidden Rules


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    1. Hidden Rules Hints for Tutors A review by Linda Evans, Based on the works of Ruby Payne, PhD

    2. Notes & info • This is just an overview of some of Ruby Payne’s works • Dr. Payne also does workshops for school districts around the country • For more information, please check out: “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” and “Hidden Rules of Class at Work,” or on the web: http://www.ahaprocess.com/ Please don’t switch your brain off when you hear the term ‘poverty’…it doesn’t just mean economic standing… it’s much more

    3. Adding to your tool kit • You’ve learned about different learning styles and how they impact teaching… • You’ve learned about technology and how it can assist, or detract, from learning/work… • You may know about personality types from Meyers-Briggs or True Colors, how personality affects relationships, and how we see our world… • NOW, add another tool to your professional toolkit, and see how our cultural values act as lenses and limiters, creating hidden rules of behavior, and more…

    4. It’s like we’re not speaking the same language…

    5. So what do we do with this? • Most educational institutions & employers are of the culture/values of Group 2 • There are increasing numbers of Group 1 coming into those venues without knowledge that there are differences in culture/values • Our job as educators is not to say “Your values are wrong, mine are right,” rather it is to say: “There are different rules for different places – yours are important for your daily world – but let me help you become familiar with these rules too.”

    6. Shouldn’t everyone just conform to my rules? • Discounting the use of another set of rules says: “Your culture is irrelevant and wrong” • Unconsciously insulting someone’s cultural values and coping methods is unprofessional – try instead to be curious, learn about their values & share yours • As an educational institution, we owe it to all of our students to provide the tools to be successful in life; providing education on hidden rules can ease their path to success • This is a two-way street, both people win

    7. More on Levels of Language • What level of language is used in most college syllabi, tests, & texts? • What language level is required for college essays? • What level of language is used for the college catalog or policies? • Can you think of examples of how to help students translate from casual register into formal? • How can you encourage students to build their vocabulary? • Don’t assume students are familiar with parts of texts (glossary, index, test Q)

    8. Hidden Rules in Education • Students must understand the formal language of education and critical thinking. • Students need to put school first. • Work should be arranged around classes. • Students are responsible for learning. • Time management and planning are necessary.

    9. Impact on teaching/learning • Lack of formal register/academic language causes students to (1) fail to ask questions in class, (2) procrastinate on written assignments, (3) commit plagiarism, often without knowing what it is, or (4) cheat, out of desperation • School work tends to come last in priorities: suggest planning ahead, turn things in early • Critical or abstract thought are often not learned previously, need help making that leap • May avoid taking responsibility (blame others) or have lots of personal problems that interfere with learning & assignments

    10. What can I do? • Help Group 1 learn the Hidden Rules of school: • Clarify the need to put school first in order to make things better for their family (rather than for “personal achievement”) • Clarify the need to arrange work around their class times, network with other students to get notes if they are out sick, & contact instructors appropriately • Instructors are not responsible for learning, the students are; help tutees know learning styles/limits • Importance of deadlines, planning the semester in advance, use of calendar & alarm clock • Having plan B (ex. preventive car maintenance) • Refer to Master Student class; or teach planning, goal setting, basic money mgmt skills

    11. Suggestions for tutors • Follow positive tutoring model: • Sit beside, not across from, tutee • Build on the positive • Ask specific questions • Give tips on how this concept would be shown on a test, or how they could display mastery • Model asking for help yourself when you don’t know the answer or process • Model appropriate language use & share ways you have improved your own vocabulary • Help students build their own study skills, tools, peer support systems

    12. More suggestions • Need extra-clear instructions with very clear deadlines – remind about using a planner and asking the instructor for clarification • Break down big assignments into small parts with interim deadlines, ask for rough drafts • Give tours of resources or refer often to library, advising, financial aid, counseling • Refer often to the syllabus, assignment lists • Refer to course or lecture outlines, study guides • Use multiple learning styles, encourage students with awards, positive reinforcement

    13. Parting thoughts… • The Hidden Rules of different environments offer challenges and opportunities to increase understanding • Our different cultural values are not ‘excuses’ for inappropriate behavior, but they may provide explanations for ‘why’ • Accountability first requires explanation of requirements and rules – don’t assume everyone knows your ‘rules’ • Mutual respect should be the foundation of all relationships; it takes effort to build it

    14. References • Payne, R. K. (1996). A framework for understanding poverty (3rd ed.). Highlands, TX: Aha! Process • Payne, R. K. (2008, April). Nine powerful practices. Educational Leadership, 65(7), 48-52. • Payne, R. K., & Krabill, D. L. (2002). Hidden rules of class at work. Highlands, TX: Aha! Process