EDPO 578: Teaching Children of Poverty: Why Culture Counts

September 30, 2024 - December 8, 2024

Instructor: Sadie Shaw


This course will help educators understand the complex challenges that poverty imposes on children’s capacity to learn and provides strategies for differentiating classroom instruction and providing opportunities to inspire and engage these students. Our schools are becoming more and more diverse, and educators are faced with economic, cultural and linguistic challenges in the classroom.  Topics on race, culture, diversity and poverty and the complexity of achievement gaps among racial and socioeconomic groups will be discussed.  An examination of the teacher’s own culture and its impact on student learning will be explored. Finally, educators will learn how to use tools and resources to foster and build resilience. 

“When there is an environment of learning, one demonstrating that all students can really achieve beyond mediocrity, then everyone benefits. Differentiating instruction for all students forces the standard to rise: Students find themselves doing more, and teachers find themselves raising the bar and preparing for success.”

— Rosilyn M. Carroll, Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota.


Poor Students, Rich Teaching: Seven High-Impact Mindsets for Students From Poverty (Using Mindsets in the Classroom to Overcome Student Poverty and Adversity).  Revised Edition, Eric Jensen, Solution Tree Press, Bloomington, Indiana,  2019.

Other Reading Materials will be provided.


  • At the end of this course, participants will:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the role of culture and poverty on learning.

• Understand and apply strategies to differentiate context, product and process for economically and culturally diverse learners.

• Build resilience in children of poverty and students from diverse cultures.

• Learn practical strategies for raising achievement.

• Create a plan for sustained teaching practice to diverse learners in their classroom.