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3 Impactful Ways to Support Economically Disadvantaged Students

October 19th, 2022 | 3 min. read

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With the population of low-income or disadvantaged students growing in public schools, more and more educators are baffled and frustrated with trying to understand how to best serve this growing student population. In this blog, iCEV will share 3 strategies for supporting disadvantaged students to help them find success and their place in your classroom.

Create a Positive Classroom Culture

Having a positive classroom culture is one of the most important elements of a successful learning environment and thus teachers should actively work towards creating a classroom culture that encourages participation and success for all students. Relationships are foundational to a welcoming and inclusive classroom. Teachers need to know who their students are in order to support and motivate them in meaningful ways, so it’s important to get to know each student individually. Disadvantaged students often are under a lot of stress, so it’s important to make the classroom a place where they can seek support and feel understood.


Meet Students' Hierarchies of Needs

Abraham Maslow, esteemed American psychologist, is best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory developed to explain human motivation through fulfilling needs. In order to better understand what motivates human beings, Maslow proposed that human needs can be organized into a hierarchy. This hierarchy ranges from more concrete needs such as food and water to abstract concepts such as self-fulfillment. According to Maslow, when a lower need is met, the next need on the hierarchy becomes easier to meet and should become our focus of attention.

For disadvantaged students in your CTE program meeting their hierarchy of needs can mean the difference between your course being another area of struggle in their life or being an academic experience that motivates and prepares them to reach their goals. Stay in tune with your students and truly understand them including what their lives look like outside of your classroom. Keeping these needs in mind will help you better understand student’s behavior and how you can meet their needs and motivate them to effectively engage in their education. To learn more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the role it plays in your classroom visit this website for more resources.

Integrate SEL into Everyday Teaching

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a vital framework through which students or individuals of any age obtain skills to better work toward their goals, comprehend and manage their emotions, nurture positive relationships and make more informed decisions. For disadvantaged students in your CTE program, exposure to SEL offers many benefits students can use throughout their academic journey and beyond the classroom.

From an academic standpoint, students who participated in SEL programs saw an 11 percentile increase in their overall grades and better attendance. On a more individual level, the skills learned within an SEL program have been shown to help students better cope with emotional stress, solve problems, and avoid peer pressure to engage in harmful activities. Oftentimes, students who come from disadvantaged homes lack the social and emotional skills to set themselves up for success in the classroom. By implementing SEL in your classroom you’re ensuring all students regardless of their situation are equipped to deal with the problems and challenges that affect them and are better able to navigate life. Download iCEV’s SEL Guide for FREE to learn more.

Discover New Strategies in the SEL Toolkit