In summary, chapters three and four provided a road map for educators to take in an effort to reach all students. Eric Jensen opens the study by addressing and clarifying one of the biggest misconceptions having to do with the circumstances of poverty. Quite simply put, each child’s situation will likely appear to be unique. According to Eric Jensen, the “Bottom Line” is that we need to establish positive relationships with all students. To do so, we must focus on results with an understanding that:
- Kids from poverty are often different
- Brains adapt to suboptimal conditions
- Brains can and do change everyday
- We can facilitate that change
- Students can change, if we change first
- We will have to let go of every single excuse we’ve ever heard
- We can ensure our kids graduate
Jensen’s research based method of effectively addressing the negative impact of poverty on learning is for educators to focus on system-wide relationship building; providing students with additional autonomy in their learning; and teaching stronger coping and stress management skills.
I remain convinced that our volunteer and district book study offerings are a critical platform for all stakeholders to come to the table and share takeaways, experiences and perspectives. I especially appreciate the candidness of the participants and the willingness to take a few risks in discussing critical concepts.