How Does Poverty Influence Learning?

People in poverty are diverse as people in any socioeconomics class. They present, like other groups, a wide array of values, beliefs, dispositions, experiences, backgrounds and life changes. As educators, in order to be responsive to the needs of our students, it’s helpful to consider the constraints that poverty often places on people’s lives, particularly children’s, and how such conditions influence learning and academic achievement. Poverty affects intervening factors that , in turn, affect outcomes for people.

These are the following factors: health and well-being, literacy and language development, access to physical and material resources and levels of mobility.

-Health and Well-Being: These factors are interrelated, and one factor can compound another. For instance, substandard housing, inadequate medical care, and poor nutrition can affect the rate of childhood disease, premature births and lower birth rates, all in which affects a child’s physical and cognitive development.

-Language and Literacy Development: Children who live in poverty often come to school behind their more affluent peers in terms of literacy and language development. A significant body of literature also points to differences in accessing to reading materials by students from low-income families in comparison to their more affluent peers.

-Material Resources: Poverty often places restraints on the family’s ability to provide other material resources for their children as well. For example, they may have limited access to high quality health care, access to before or after school programs, physical space in their homes to create private or quiet environments conducive to studies. They may not own a computer or have fiscal resources necessary to complete out-of-class projects.

-Mobility: Poverty often places another kind of constraint on families, the ability to provide stable housing. students often move from one location to another because their parents are in search of work or are dealing with other issues that require them to move.

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