How Play Helps Students Learn About Poverty

By Sandra Alber, Karen Bolak, Ilene Ingram and Erin Howe.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This session provides a model for teaching educators and future educators about poverty. The model was designed to deepen understanding of poverty and create empathy for those trapped in poverty. Educators play a board game to vicariously experience poverty. After the game is completed, participants are provided with a “think sheet” to help them reflect on their experiences. A structured discussion concludes the activity. The game and follow up activities will be conducted in this session.

This active learning segment has been effective in graduate and undergraduate courses and in staff development sessions. Preliminary data suggests that educators better understand the difficulties in escaping poverty; are more empathic; and are less likely to make comments such as “They should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Keywords: Poverty, Social Justice, Active Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 13, Issue 11, pp.127-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 820.246KB).

Dr. Sandra Alber

Associate Professor, School of Education and Human Services, Oakland University, USA

Sandy Alber works with poor urban families. She focuses on building parent advocates and helping parents become effective first educators. Sandy also does staff development in the United States, Germany and Canada. Her focus with educators is mathematics education for young children, diversity training, and culturally and developmentally appropriate practice. Sandy serves on 4 Association of Teacher Educator (ATE) committees, participates in the ATE Leadership Academy, and frequently presents at ATE conferences and wrote in 2 ATE publications. She is President-Elect of the Michigan Association of Teacher Educators, Professional and Student Teacher Conference Co-chair, and Journal Editor. She writes on advocacy, parent education, diversity, action research and staff development.

Dr Karen Bolak

Assistant Professor, Teacher Development and Education Studies, Oakland University, USA

Dr. Ilene Ingram

Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership, Oakland University, USA

Erin Howe

Doctoral Student, Educational Policy, University of Michigan, USA


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