Hidden Rules

Friday Focus: Hidden Rules Among Classes
Hidden rules are the unspoken cues and habits of a group. Distinct cueing systems exist between and among groups and economic classes. Generally, in America, that notion is recognized for racial and ethnic groups, but not particularly for economic groups. There are many hidden rules to examine. The ones that are examined here are those that have the most impact on achievement in schools and success in the workplace.
POSSESSIONS People. Things.
One-of -a-kind objects, legacies, pedigrees.
MONEY To be used, spent. To be managed.
To be conserved, invested.
PERSONALITY Is for entertainment. Sense of humor is highly valued. Is for acquisition and stability. Achievement is highly valued.
Is for connections. Financial, political, social connections are highly valued.
SOCIAL EMPHASIS Social inclusion of people he/she likes.
Emphasis is on self-governance and self-sufficiency.
Emphasis is on social exclusion.
FOOD Key question: Did you have enough? Quantity important.
Key question: Did you like it?
Quality Important.
Key question: Was it presented well? Presentation important.
CLOTHING Clothing valued for individual style and expression of personality.
Clothing valued for its quality and acceptance into norm of middle class. Label important.
Clothing valued for its artistic sense and expression. Designer important.
TIME Present most important. Decisions made for moment based on feelings or survival. Future most important. Decisions made against future ramifications;
Traditions and history, most important. Decisions mode partially on basis of tradition and decorum.
EDUCATION Valued and revered as abstract but not as reality. Crucial for climbing success ladder and making money.
Necessary tradition for making and maintaining connections.
DESTINY Believes in fate. Cannot do much to mitigate chance. Believes in choice. Can change future with good choices now. Noblesse oblige.
LANGUAGE Casual register. Language is about survival.
Formal register. Language is about negotiation.
Formal register. Language is about networking.
FAMILY STRUCTURE Tends to be matriarchal. Tends to be patriarchal.
Depends on who has money.
WORLD VIEW Sees world in terms of local setting Sees world in terms of notional setting.
Sees world in terms of international view.
LOVE Love and acceptance conditional based upon whether individual is liked.
Love and acceptance conditional and based largely upon achievement.
Love and acceptance conditional and related to social standing and connections.
Survival, relationships, entertainment.
Work, achievement. Financial, political, social connections.
HUMOR About people and sex. About situations.
About social faux pas.
Source: Ruby Payne, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Fourth revised edition. Highlands, TX: aha! Process, Inc., 2005, pp. 37, 42 – 43.
What do the hidden rules of the classes mean for you as a teacher at GHS? Have you witnessed these hidden rules playing a role in a student’s behavior or achievement?

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