October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty—first observed in 1993. The United Nations has designated this year’s theme: Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.
Teachers regularly plan and deliver instruction to leave no one behind while knowing that wealth and poverty impact our families, our communities and our schools. We asked the Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board (TTAB) to share with us how they teach their students about wealth and poverty. We want to share what they said and invite you to add tools and strategies from your classroom.
“What resources and strategies do you currently use to teach about wealth and poverty?”
- Paul Gorski’s work
- “The Poverty Myth”
- Living on One Dollar
- Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed
- The Story of Stuff Project
- Encourage young children to share solutions to the unfairness they observe.
- Compare historical fiction excerpts about poverty to current fiction excerpts and ask students: What’s the same? What’s different?
- List resources and organizations that support awareness around (in)equity and invite guest speakers to the classroom.
- Encourage colleagues to explicitly discuss implicit bias related to wealth and poverty, specifically the difference between looking at those in poverty with empathy or scorn.
“How do you include your community and families when teaching about wealth and poverty?”
- Use picture books that depict how communities have resisted and grown in poverty.
- Invite speakers to discuss human rights violations with students.
- Look for opportunities to engage in joint projects instead of community service with students.
- Take students on a local labor history walking tour with labor organizers.
- Ask families for input; build home-to-school connections.
- Generate and maintain a dialogue between the student and his family around topics related to wealth and poverty.
- Leverage community resources.
- Offer service-learning that forges partnerships between students and members of the community.
- Identify gaps in resources locally—and then examine economic systems of injustice more broadly.
As we continue to produce materials that help you reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and provide equitable school experiences for our country’s children, the topic of wealth and poverty remains one we must address.
We want to hear from you!
How do you leave no one behind? Let’s think, decide and act against poverty together.
Wicht is the senior manager of teaching and learning for Teaching Tolerance.