Posted by Kathy Bryant on Jun 28, 2018
While recently working at Taita College one of the teachers lent me a book to read A Framework for Understanding Povertyby Ruby K. Payne.
Many times, I have heard people say, “there is no poverty in New Zealand”. However, poverty is not just about money it is about access to resources.
Everyone has eight resources which greatly influence achievement:
  1. Financial: the money to purchase goods & services
  2. Emotional: the ability to choose and control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations, without engaging in self-destructive behaviour. This is an internal resource and shows itself through stamina, perseverance, and choices.
  3.  Mental: the necessary intellectual ability and acquired skills, such as reading, writing, and computing, to deal with everyday life.
  4.  Spiritual: a belief in divine purpose and guidance.
  5.  Physical: health and mobility.
  6.  Support systems: friends, family, backup resources and knowledge bases one can rely on in times of need. These are external resources.
  7.  Role models: frequent access to adults who are appropriate and nurturing to the child, and who do not engage in self-destructive behaviour.
  8. Knowledge of hidden rules: knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group.
It is these hidden rules that interest me, the how to behave, in certain situations. Below is a table of some of the Hidden Class Rules:
Generational Poverty
Middle Class
The driving forces for decision-making are survival, relationships, and entertainment.
The driving forces for decision-making are work and achievement.
The driving forces for decision-making and are social, financial, and political connections.
People are possessions. It is worse to steal someone’s girlfriend than a thing. A relationship is valued over achievement. That’s why you must defend your child no matter what he or she has done. Too much education is feared because the individual might leave.
Things are possessions. If material security is threatened, often the relationship is broken.
Legacies, one-of-a-kind objects, and pedigrees are possessions.
The "world" is defined in local terms.
The "world" is defined in national terms.
The "world" is defined in
International terms.
Food is valued for its quantity.
Food is valued for its quality.
Food is valued for its presentation.
Physical fighting is how conflict is resolved. If you only know casual register, you don't have the words to negotiate a resolution. Respect is accorded to those who can physically defend themselves.
Fighting is done verbally. Physical fighting is viewed with distaste.
Fighting is done through social
inclusion/exclusion and through lawyers.
You laugh when you are disciplined; it is a way to save face.
◆ The noise level is higher, nonverbal information is more important than verbal. Emotions are openly displayed, and the value of personality to the group is your ability to entertain.
◆ Destiny and fate govern. The notion of having choices is foreign. Discipline is about penance and forgiveness, not change.
◆ Tools are often not available. Therefore, the concepts of repair and fixing may not be present.
◆ Formal register is always used in an interview and is often an expected part of social interaction.
◆ Work is a daily part of life.
◆ Discipline is about changing behaviour. To stay in the middle class, one must be self-governing and self-supporting.
◆ A reprimand is taken seriously (at least the pretense is there), without smiling and with some deference to authority.
◆ Choice is a key concept in the lifestyle. The future is very important. Formal education is seen as crucial for future success
◆ The artistic and aesthetic are key to the lifestyle and included clothing, art, interior design, seasonal decorating, food, music, social activities, etc.
◆ For reasons of security and safety, virtually all contacts dependent on connection and introductions
◆ Education is for the purpose of social, financial and political connections, as well as to enhance the artistic and aesthetic.
◆ One of the key differences between the well-to-do and the wealthy is that the wealthy almost always are patrons to the arts and often have an individual artist(s) to whom they are patrons as well.

Students from poverty are no less capable or intelligent. They simply have not been mediated in the strategies or hidden rules that contribute to success in school and at work.