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Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It [Kindle Edition]

Eric Jensen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, veteran educator and brain expert Eric Jensen takes an unflinching look at how poverty hurts children, families, and communities across the United States and demonstrates how schools can improve the academic achievement and life readiness of economically disadvantaged students.

Jensen argues that although chronic exposure to poverty can result in detrimental changes to the brain, the brain's very ability to adapt from experience means that poor children can also experience emotional, social, and academic success. A brain that is susceptible to adverse environmental effects is equally susceptible to the positive effects of rich, balanced learning environments and caring relationships that build students' resilience, self-esteem, and character.

Drawing from research, experience, and real school success stories, Teaching with Poverty in Mind reveals

* What poverty is and how it affects students in school;

* What drives change both at the macro level (within schools and districts) and at the micro level (inside a student's brain);

* Effective strategies from those who have succeeded and ways to replicate those best practices at your own school; and

* How to engage the resources necessary to make change happen.

Too often, we talk about change while maintaining a culture of excuses. We can do better. Although no magic bullet can offset the grave challenges faced daily by disadvantaged children, this timely resource shines a spotlight on what matters most, providing an inspiring and practical guide for enriching the minds and lives of all your students.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Comprehensive, Easy-to-Read Book January 28, 2010
Eric Jensen did it again - provided a fully-researched topic that educators need so desperately. Not only is the research relevant for our struggling schools today, but the strategies and action steps in every chapter are easy to apply. Once applied, teachers can really make a difference in a poverty-stricken student's life. So many students in poverty and their teachers have given up - whether because of cognitive lags or behavioral issues - it doesn't need to be this way. Embracing the Mind-Set of Change (Chapter 3) is my favorite chapter and one that all educators should be required to read. We educators are in the business of changing brains for the better. Poor children can experience academic, social and emotional success daily! Thank you Eric for the incredible strategies that can be incorporated easily and inexpensively in the classroom and school-wide.

In Chapter 4, Eric summarizes what high-poverty, high-achieving schools have in common. He synthesizes the most important strategies to give you the top 5 school-level factors that will make a difference. He does this same thing in Chapter 5 for the classroom. I love the SHARE Factors - brilliant!

I am an educator, trainer of educators, and a mother of school-age twins. I work with poverty-stricken schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and some rural schools in Illinois and Texas. I'm passionate about this information, and I am extremely excited to share it with teachers and students around the nation.

This book is not just for teachers who reach the low-SES students, but for all teachers who want to make a difference in their students' lives.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Patty
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brain research is somewhat new and fascinating. Eric Jenssen made it understandable for someone who has no interest nor aptitude in the sciences. As a person who grew up in poverty, I could relate to much of what he said. Because of this book, I am going to change the way I do some things in the classroom. I was running things in much too an authoritative style, but that's not surprising, considering I was brought up in an authoritative household. While the first couple of chapters are kind of depressing, because it tells of the deficits children of poverty will have, the hopeful parts come next. There are things we can do to help these kids be successful. I'm going to make a presentation to my principal about this book and I'm hoping we'll do a study on it. Too many of our staff members don't seem to know how to deal with these kids and tend to marginalize them. Times have changed and they can't continue to do this. I am going to be these children's advocate. I couldn't do that without this book. :)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for ANY Educator March 6, 2010
I am reading this book as part of a project for the district I work in and just a few pages into it, I realized what a great book it was going to be. This author has a real handle on both students and schools that face the issue of poverty. He gives realistic and easy ways to be sure every group of children is receiving the very best education.

If you are any educator of any age student, this book is for you. Even in the most affluent schools, there are students that are facing their own isolation. Don't miss out on an amazing resource.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for teachers who teach poor students January 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As usual, Eric Jensen's book is incredibly thorough when it comes to describing the neauropsyiology of students who grow up in generational poverty. It's so fascinating to hear our these students' brains are literally rewired by poverty and it explains much about how difficult it is to encourage resiliance and set high standards of achievment. NCLB tells us all students need to reach high standards, but this book finally showed me why it is so much harder for some students than others.
Where Jensen's books fall short is what to DO about it. This book made me question some of my teaching practices, but did little to "fill the void" with better practices. It did give examples from other schools, but in these short vignettes, it was hard to tell what they really did that was different.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not anything new here... December 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nothing new in the research from the old Ruby Payne material. I was looking forward to practical applications for teachers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful, practical information September 4, 2010
By Susan
As veteran first grade teacher in an area that is transforming into a high poverty area I found this book informative and filled with practical information and strategies to apply in my classroom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
We're not all exactly the same. "Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It" analyzes the effects of poverty on education and states how educators can play a hand in improving the potential of these students. From the emotional and social challenges these students will face, Eric Jensen gives educators a complete and comprehensive look into the challenges of poverty-stricken students. "Teaching with Poverty in Mind" is a solid read for the teacher who wants to understand the challenges their students may be facing in their day to day lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well researched and concise March 24, 2011
A very well written and concise read of the issues students, parents, teachers and administrators need to consider when working with poverty related individuals. Good background referenced research about why poverty students are different than non-poverty students and includes good examples and advice on how teachers and schools can effectively modify their methods to best meet the needs of the poverty mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of insight into the best practices of effective teachers..
Teaching with Poverty in Mind is not just for educators teaching in low performing or low SES schools... It has very effective strategies that will work for ANY student! Read more
Published 3 days ago by nbrown
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast shipping and the product was exactly as described.
Published 5 days ago by Diann Kindsvater
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
thank you!
Published 1 month ago by teerah123
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful look at the many situational aspects that many ...
Very insightful look at the many situational aspects that many students go through. Understanding their situational basis makes communication and strategies for teaching a little... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carla B. Cerillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I would recommend this book for anyone that is either a part of the educational occupation, thinking about being a teacher, or wants to learn more about how teaching should be... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Tatum
5.0 out of 5 stars I ordered this for my wife who is a kindergarten ...
I ordered this for my wife who is a kindergarten teacher. She absolutely loves is and recommends all teacher read this book.
Published 2 months ago by Mark P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for teachers.
Excellent book for teachers.
Published 3 months ago by Karla
4.0 out of 5 stars ... lunch and breakfast and this book helped her to better understand...
Our daughter teaches in a city school district with a very high rate of free lunch and breakfast and this book helped her to better understand how to reach these students.
Published 3 months ago by James P. Corsones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly recommend for anyone in education.
Published 4 months ago by Heather
4.0 out of 5 stars She liked learning about the struggles involved in this book
Another buy for my daughter's course. I helped her with this as courses for teachers are expensive, and she needed more credits. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Diane A. Carenas
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More About the Author


Eric Jensen has always been passionate about learning. As a child, he seemed to read every book he could find from the library to a nearby Boy's Club. He graduated early from high school, has a BA in English, MA in Organizational Development and PhD. in Human Development.

Formerly a secondary teacher, Eric focused on learn to learn skills, reading and study skills. Jensen became adjunct faculty for three universities, serving as a professor for adult learners at the University of California at San Diego, National University and the University of San Diego.

In the workplace, Eric Jensen co-founded the world's largest brain-compatible academic enrichment program, SuperCamp, which now has over 55,000 graduates. Since 1985, Jensen has focused on staff development and has trained over 100,000 educators. These programs introduced the science of teaching and learning to teachers from around the world. Eric Jensen has introduced brain-based teaching to Denmark, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries. Jensen was the co-founder of the Learning Brain EXPO, the world's first conference that linked neuroscience to everyday educational practices.

Jensen is an "brain-junkie" who is currently an active member of the invitation-only Society for Neuroscience, The President's Club at Salk Institute of Biological Studies, NY Academy of Science, American Psychological Association and Jensen is on the Advisory Board for Body, Mind and Child in Barnstead, New Hampshire.

Jensen has become one of the leading translators in the world of neuroscience into education. His best known books are Brain-based Learning, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, SuperTeaching, Enriching the Brain and Teaching with Poverty in Mind.


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