Workshops on poverty to guide agencies, teachers

PLAINVIEW – Understanding poverty and how it affects a city and its residents, both poor and otherwise, is vital to successful education and community work. To that end, Wayland Baptist University’s Community Classroom will be offering two workshops to assist community agencies and educators in dealing with residents in poverty situations.

The first, A Framework for Understanding Poverty for Businesses and Agencies, will be held June 13-14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Van Howeling Education Complex on the WBU Campus. The workshop costs $50 per person and includes a textbook.

The second, aimed at educators at all levels, will be held June 18-20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Van Howeling. The cost is $25, which includes three workbooks for the sessions. Deadline to register for either workshop is June 6.

Based on the work of Dr. Ruby Payne and Phillip DeVol, the workshop provides information on helping clients in poverty develop stabilizing resources. Participants will learn about the causes of poverty and community sustainability, the hidden rules of families in poverty, the role of language, family structure and resource development. Instruction will be provided through small-group activities, PowerPoint presentations, Web site reviews, class discussions and video clips.

The session for teachers deals specifically with issues faced in education when developing intellectual capital in children of the poor.

“We’re missing a lot of that capital in children because poverty issues often hinder their growth and progress in school,” Stennett explained. “Schools build communities by developing that intellectual capital. They’re facing so many other issues at home and then we expect them to step up to learn.”

Teachers will learn about interlocking resources in poverty and classroom implications; the roles of language, story structure, and discourse patterns in poverty; discipline in poverty and classroom interventions; and cognitive and affective strategies for improving performance in students from poverty.

The workshop content is much the same for agencies and businesses, though Stennett notes the shorter duration and the more generalized content. Managers or owners of businesses who deal with residents in poverty situations, whether as employees or as customers, will benefit from the training.

“The poverty framework for agencies is about developing a shared and informed perspective among social service professionals who daily serve the poor. Participants will learn about behavioral patterns common to families in generational poverty that often puzzle the middle class,” Stennett said. “They can expect to learn, too, about building resources within their clients to help them help themselves.”

Stennett said the information is vital as communities work to improve the work force and the commerce of this area.

To register for either workshop, call Stennett at (806) 291-3650.