Teachers Tackle Learning Gaps Linked to Poverty

Paper Type:  Dissertation
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1776 Words
Date:  2023-03-26

Teachers have expressed concerns regarding the wide learning gaps that exist between the students, noting that many of the students that have difficulties in learning tend to be also dealing with poverty issues. Primary teachers observed that such students were often not ready for the kindergarten, and also need extra support so that they can build confidence and adjust to the classroom setting (Ellis, Thompson, McNicholl, & Thompson, 2016). In this regard, teachers identified that poverty leads to a range of developmental issues, including lack of language fluency and other special needs that are vital for success in the classroom work. Another concern in teachers is the low attendance, which creates a barrier for the students to develop their skills effectively, as they do not participate in the schools adequately (Ellis et al., 2016). Therefore, this study seeks to investigate the perception of the teachers on the poor students, to evaluate how the system can be changed to facilitate better guidance. By understanding the attitude of the teachers towards poverty in children, will enable an understanding of the management framework that should be developed to ensure that teachers have the right mindset and, hence, the right approach to the needy students.

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Context of Research

Poverty is a global issue that impacts significantly on children who are struggling with education. Child poverty, which is the main focus of this study, is the situation children live in poverty, which entails the children from a poor background, and even orphans who are raised with limited resources (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018). Human rights advocates and other advocacy groups have noted that the price that children have to pay regarding poverty is unbelievably high. Each year has seen more and more children being admitted into schools, with massive needs due to poverty, that the schools are not prepared or even able to meet. The problem of poverty means that schools face a hard task to meet their educational goals and mould the young ones successfully to achieve their dreams (Gorski, 2017). Therefore, it has been considered that if the schools were able to identify and even understand the children who are in abject poverty and massive need, they would be able to locate the means of supporting those children regarding their growth and development. To achieve this, the teachers need to establish warm and caring relationships with the children. For example, teachers should explore individual needs of the children, and engage them accordingly. As such, the teachers will be able to detect the warning signs regarding the children who are at risk of failure (Parret & Budge, 2016). It should be noted that academic as well as behavioural problems, could be indicators of failure. Therefore, teachers have raised concerns regarding the delays observed in language development, reading development, and negative behaviours such as aggression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, and irregular attendance, among others. The research will be of significance nationally and beyond regarding suggestions of dealing with poor students, as the situation is experienced not only in developing countries but also in developed countries.

Research Questions

The study seeks to explore the research question: What are the teacher's views on how living in poverty affects children's learning?

The other guiding research questions are:

What is the overall impact of poverty on the learning of students?

How do teachers understand the impact of poverty on the educational achievement of students?

What can teachers do to effect change on their perception towards the needy students in the learning environment?


A good education can be described as an essential means that can be used to break the cycle of poverty for children in low-income families. Therefore, as a prospective teacher, I have a lot of interest in this topic. Understanding the concepts will not only enable me to become a better teacher but also participate in solving a complex societal issue. I feel that as a teacher, I should understand the challenges that poor students go through in order to create a better environment for such students to ensure I assist them in achieving their educational goals. Besides, there is a need to understand the issue so that it can be improved to achieve the desired educational goals.

Literature Review

The issue of poverty in education has been a significant problem, with researchers and educators being concerned about whether teachers understand the effect of poverty on the educational achievement of students. Different studies have illustrated this to be a problematic issue of the teachers' perception of poverty (Ellis et al., 2016). Therefore, the studies suggest that there is a potential power that is observed in a focused intervention to change views on poverty and education (Ellis et al., 2016). A teacher identity framework can be used in considering the interactions that exist between the external factors, such as schools and systems, and the internal factors, such as thoughts, knowledge, and the activities, to understand how the participation can impact, either support or undermine the understanding of a teacher on the poverty effects of children. While researchers like White and Young (2010) have demonstrated that most teachers are positive and understand the situation of their children regarding their economic backgrounds, others like Ellis et al. (2016) have indicated that teachers have a diverse perception of poverty in students, which may affect the educational outcome. Therefore, this review of literature seeks to understand the menace of poverty, its impact on students, and the perception of teachers on poverty in students.

Child poverty can be described as the situation children live in poverty, which entails the children from a poor background, and even orphans who are raised with limited resources. Such children tend not to meet the minimum acceptable standards of the nation. Their impact can be extreme in the society, and devastating for the children, as they develop to build their future. According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2018) on child poverty of the United Kingdom, it was noted that the rates of child poverty are low in families where both parents are working, with at least one of the parents being in a full-time job. On the contrary, the families that constitute a single earner or with parents who are only part-time workers tend to face a high risk of poverty (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018). Also, the report indicated that the families that have lone-parents have high poverty rates even when the parent is employed in a full-time job. The statistics indicated that the poverty rates increased from 13% in 1997 to 23% in 2017 for the lone-family parents who worked full-time (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018). However, for the ones working part-time, the rates decreased from 46% to 23% in 2010, although they increased again to 38% in 2017 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018).

For the single-earner couples in the country, poverty rose from 29% to 34% from 1997 to 2017 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018). The report also indicated that the number of children plays a role in poverty rates. Families that have children more than three tend to face more challenges than families with fewer children. According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2019) on child poverty in Scotland, one in every four children is living in poverty. The poverty rate is predicted to increase in the coming years, with an expected rise to 29% by 2024 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2019). Such measures have necessitated the Scottish government to suggest means of introducing a new Scottish Child Payment in order to alleviate poverty by helping low-income families with children under six years.

Poverty affects academic achievement negatively in different ways. According to Moyo (2013), poverty tends to retard human development in mental, social domains, and mental language development. The study found that students in poverty do not have access to enough resources and educational materials that are vital for academic achievement. Besides, poor students tend to suffer from poor health care, which impacts the quality of life and their ability to perform well in schools (Gorski, 2017). Poor nutrition to these students leads to malnutrition, which impends the proper mental as well as physical development (Bergeson, 2006). In this regard, it is evident that the poverty noted in the educational sector has numerous educational disadvantages, which lead to poor attitudes in schools among the students. Therefore, such students tend to have low academic skills and less interest in formal lessons. Moyo (2013) noted that poor motivation among the students leads to academic incompetence among the students since the parents also do not offer enough parental support due to the challenges that they undergo. Therefore, these studies indicate that poverty is an impediment to academic success, as it deprives the students' physical, mental, and social needs.

Similarly, Taylor (2013) noted that poverty has devastating effects on children regarding their academic performances. According to the researcher, the impact of poverty on the academic achievement of students is significant and starts early. Young children who are growing up with poverty challenges also experience challenges of cognitive and literary ability and tend to begin their school academically and socioeconomically behind their peers from the higher-income backgrounds (Considine & Zappala, 2002). In this regard, the study demonstrated that beyond the educational-related deficiencies, the low-income children tend to experience the cognitive and physical development, and other disparities regarding access to better health services, which help to ensure success. In this regard, the study demonstrated that students from poor families are up to five times likely to drop out of school than the ones from high-income families. Besides, the students are thirteen times less likely to graduate in high school. In this regard, the students who face massive economic challenges, attend the under-resourced K-12 schools, which negatively affects their potential to succeed in postsecondary education. Therefore, poverty impedes academic success.

In their analysis, Parret and Budge (2016) found that people in poverty are diverse just like the people in any other socioeconomic class. Such families tend to demonstrate a wide array of values, dispositions, beliefs, experiences, and life chances. Therefore, children from such backgrounds require considerations from educators, to understand the constraints that the population faces and how they influence their overall learning process. According to Parret and Budge (2016), poverty among the students affects numerous intervening factors that, in turn, affect their outcomes. The study, just like many other researchers considered health and wellbeing as the major outcomes that influence the academic success of the students living with poverty. For example, Winters and Cowie (2009) highlighted poor families are characterized with inadequate medical care, substandard housing, and a higher rate of insufficient diet and poor nutrition. Such disadvantages affect the physical and cognitive development of the child, thereby leading to reduced motivation in learning. Another factor that the researchers considered is poor literacy levels and language development delays (Shaffer, 2009). It should be pointed out that poor students attend school behind their affluent colleagues, implying that the students will face massive challenges regarding the acquiring of the imp...

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Teachers Tackle Learning Gaps Linked to Poverty. (2023, Mar 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/teachers-tackle-learning-gaps-linked-to-poverty

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