“Teaching With Poverty in Mind: what being poor does to kids’ brains and what schools can do about It” by Eric Jensen was one of my favorite books that I read for the after-school ministry project I lead this past semester because of its comprehensive analysis on neurological science for the common person, and the application for each set of issues that Jensen presented.
Eric Jensen is a former school teacher and current Ph. D. candidate in human development. Jensen is a leader in the brain-based movement for human learning and author of 26 books and 10 journal articles. In Teaching With Poverty In Mind (ASCD. Alexandria, VA. 2009.), Jensen supplies readers with an understanding of the nature of poverty, how it affects student behaviors and academic performance, what can and has been done to be successful in teaching and improving the educational process and future of students in poverty, and hope that student’s habits and brains can be changed for the better. The effects of poverty on a child’s brain can be detrimental, but reading this book gave me a better understanding of some of the ways to better interact with students who have lots of fear of losing or being lost in large groups at school, church, and sports. The amount of pages that were spent highlighting the factors of successful teachers and methods for positive brain growth and development were slightly overwhelming, but very helpful in making the point that schools should make the best staff choices possible. In my own context, I want to do good at picking staff that will relate, interact, and care for the students who attend our program so that they will grow as well-rounded people academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.