Studies of children growing up in poverty describe increasingly devastating effects on many areas of development (e.g., cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, affective, psychomotor). Teachers need to be aware of these findings; they also need to develop empathy for their students living in poverty. One way to do this is to experience a poverty simulation wherein participants (i.e., teachers) learn what it is like to “walk in their students’ shoes.” This report describes the history of a poverty simulation in southeast Georgia. Analysis of quantitative data, collected via surveys administered before and after recent poverty simulations, revealed the following findings: increased teacher understanding of poverty, increased teacher recognition of their own biases toward their students and their families who live in poverty, and increased teacher empathy toward their students and their families who live in poverty. Findings also showed that teachers plan to apply their new understandings regarding poverty in their classrooms. Implications for practice, especially for teachers working in urban settings with poor children, are offered.

The Poverty Simulation.pdf (90 kB)
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