BPY importance to consider the constraints that poverty,

BPY 3093

Learning and Education

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Psychology Issue: Poverty


Prepared by Dayang
Nur Sharmila binti Mohd Yusof

BPSY 1502-5634







of Learning and Education uses numerous psychological theories and apply them
in teaching and learning to ensure an effective learning and overcome classroom
challenges and misbehaviours among other things. In this assignment, the task
is to identify, explain and discuss an issue relevant in education. I have
chosen the issue of poverty in education. I chose this issue specifically
because I think that poverty plays a critical factor in a students’ academic


Poverty in


is defined as the state or condition of having little to no resources, money,
or means of support, it is a condition of being poor and deficient from
necessary or desirable items (Dictionary.com, n.d.). Some may find the word
poverty to be uncomfortable or even humiliating, but it is important as an
educators to understand the importance to consider the constraints that
poverty, that often present in the children’s life, and how these conditions
can influence their learning and academic performance.

in poverty, like other socioeconomic groups have their own values, beliefs,
experiences, background, and life opportunities. Although it is also known that
people across the socioeconomic statuses have many overlapping values, but if
poor people experiences are exactly the same, cognitively, socially,
emotionally and behaviourally as those from the other groups, then the exact
same teaching provided would bring the exact same result, but unfortunately it
does not work that way (Jensen, 2013). Students who live in poverty went to
school daily without proper tools as the others, and most commonly are left
behind their classmates in their studies.



Effects of Poverty
to children


are three main dimensions that poverty affected in children’s education which
are their physical readiness, social-emotional readiness and their cognitive


Physical Readiness


development in a child life is important but their health and nutrition are
most commonly affected by poverty. This is due to people who are poor are
rarely to take up exercising, seldom get proper diagnoses when they get sick,
and usually do not receive appropriate treatment or will not be prescribed with
appropriate medications or interventions. Some research suggested that
intelligence is linked to health, children living in poverty rarely get
treatment for diseases or infections and these can affect their attention,
reasoning, learning and memory (Jensen, 2013).

also play an important role as children are exposed to food with lower
nutritional value more frequently as compared to the other socioeconomic
groups. This is because fresh foods are more expensive than pre-packaged foods.
The parents working conditions leave little time to supervise their children
eating habits and these improper nutrition will lead to poor health. Children
became more susceptible to a number of illnesses when they do not eat a
well-balanced and regular meals. When children are malnourished it is harder
for them to concentrate, listen and learn. Improper nutrition can also affect
students’ behaviour where they will either appear lethargic or hyperactive.

than that, poverty also places constraints on the family in procuring material
resources for the children to learn such as unable to provide a private or
quiet environments conducive to studying or they may not own a computer and
other resources necessary to complete outside classroom assignments or projects
(Parrett & Budge, 2016).


Socio-Emotional Readiness


plays a significant factor in poverty and education of students. The students
who came from a poverty-stricken families can encounter numerous situations
that can affect them socially and emotionally. Studies shows that many of these
students live in a single-parent households (LSU Online, 2017). The single parent suffers a great deal
of stress as the burden of two parent have to be carried by a single parent to
provide their children needs. The stressors are most commonly from their
financial struggles, stressing about health care, housing and food, moreover they
often get inadequate rest and personal time which will be very straining for an

            These negative
and unstable environments will in turn manifests in student’s behaviour at
school. The student’s often became insecure, uncertain and stressed by their
chaotic and absences or instability of their parents involvement in their
lives. The effects of negative and unstable environments manifest in children’s
behaviour at school. Different students act in different ways. While some
students are more aggressive, impulsive, being disrespectful and talk back to
teachers using inappropriate language, other students disengaged themselves and
became passive and they became reluctant to respond to peers or teachers. Students
who lose hope that their situation in life will never change may give little or
no effort to succeed.


Cognitive Readiness


cognitive performance are determined by the physical and socioemotional
factors, and living in poverty have a detrimental effects. Most commonly,
students show short attention spans, some have high level of distractibility,
and some cannot effectively monitor the quality of their own work (Jensen, 2013). These issues can
make schooling harder for these students and many who struggles either act out
or shut down. Students who struggle with reading, math, and following
directions may have weak vocabulary, poor working memory, or poor processing




Suggestions to overcome
some of the problems caused by Poverty in School.


are numerous suggestions on things that we can do as an educator to help the
students coming from poverty.


Overcoming Physical factors


affects the physical readiness of students through their physical activeness
and nutritional intake. An educator should remember that the two primary source
of energy for the brain is oxygen and glucose and these can be provided in
school without any costs (Jensen, 2013). Students should be
taught to practice stretching and small exercises in class to increase their
oxygen intake.

recess and physical education can help with increasing the oxygen intake, as
evident that children that are more involved in physical education are able to
perform well in academic as compared to those who doesn’t. The usage of games,
drama, and movement will trigger the release of stored glucose in the body. A
proper level of glucose are shown to be related with stronger memory and
cognitive functions. Therefore, introducing physical activities for students
can reduce some of the issues that came from poor nutrition and also help build
up student health.

Malaysia, the Government had initiated the Rancangan Makanan Tambahan (RMT)
which provided food for primary school students from rural areas and lower
socioeconomic groups. The RMT is an incentive for the students to attend school
and improve their academic performance through improving their health, nutritional
intake and eating habits (Kementeriaan Pendidikan Malaysia, n.d.).

than that, the school can provide a place accessible for students to study
after school hours such as a study hall, library and also a computer lab which
are equipped adequately to accommodate the students. These can help provide a
conducive and quiet place to study and provide informational resources for the
students. The teachers can also take initiative to give extra lectures in
weekends and after school hours to help students who perform poorly.


Overcoming Socio-emotional factors


living in poverty faces numerous challenges that can affect their
socio-emotional stability and are particularly in need of strong, positive and
caring adults. An educator should bridge the gap and increase            


Based on evidence and opinions





Malaysia, the Government had taken measures to reduce poverty through creating
employment opportunities for all Malaysians, an expanded labour force and also
the accelerated programme for education and training for the Bumiputeras. These
initiatives has had a dramatic and positive effects in reducing poverty in

Malaysian education system offers primary, secondary and tertiary education
which are funded by the Government and other private educational initiatives,
but the Malaysian way of teaching still structured to support students with higher
academic achievement through a heavy weightage on examinations (Mannikar, 2017).

education system was supposed to be used as a way for future generations to
escape poverty, but these view on teaching, where only the top students are
given priorities will cause students that perform lower to be de-prioritized in
the educational system which can lead to a poverty loop . The quality of
education and resources available between rural and urban schools also
influences the average marks on the international tests.

            Most people
who faces poverty only send their children to primary and secondary education
as it is government funded, but rarely any progress to a higher education even
though there are positive benefits to gain from continuing study past schooling.

is important as it not only provide skills and experience needed for
employability, but it also prepares the individual to face social situations
and decision making. It is needed to help reduce poverty by improving living
standards and income, and also to reduce issues such as crime and corruptions.
Research done has suggested that an early education and development of mental
health can help prevent crime related behaviours in the future as individuals
will be able to make smart decisions for themselves.

the tertiary education is beneficial, the high costs of tuition fees made most
poverty stricken families reluctant to invest the little money they have.



Articulate my view

Justification through evidence (theories/research)







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