Resiliency Despite Poverty Research Proposal

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Resiliency Despite Poverty

This work intends to examine the various ways that children from poverty excel and are resilient in terms of life cognitive development and academics despite their socioeconomic status.

There are some children that despite living in poverty conditions in their childhood have demonstrated great resiliency and have cognitively developed and academically excelled despite these negative influences in their childhood. What remains yet to be understood is the precise origin of this resilience and the best methods for building resilience in children.

The research questions addressed in this study include the question of what factors present in the lives of children who grow up in poverty results in their resiliency and in their capacity to experience normal cognitive development and academic achievement despite the element of poverty in their lives. Secondly, this research intends to question the physiological and psychological processes involved in this resilience as demonstrated by some children as well as questioning the relevance of environmental impacts on these children and what factors enable some children to withstand these impacts and to excel despite the negative impacts of poverty.

Literature Review

1. Over-Deterministic Theory QuestionedBuy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Proposal on Resiliency Despite Poverty Assignment

The work of Shahin Yaqub (2002) entitled: "Poor children grow into poor adults": harmful mechanisms or over-deterministic theory?" published in the Journal of International Development states that a widely held assumption is that the experiences in childhood are that which "set the stage for lifetime experiences" because childhood "is seen as foundational for individual development, both physiologically and psychologically, and is taken to define lifetime socioeconomic potential." (2002, p.1) Sen (1999) writes that there has been "a rediscovery in the policy world of the role of early childhood as a lifelong determinant…because issues began to be expressed in a credible vocabulary for modern society, the vocabulary of science… to give credibility to notions long held as common sense." (p.4)

2. Three types of correlations -- Lifetime Socioeconomic Opportunities

Yaqub states that three types of correlations are used in providing measures of "lifetime socioeconomic opportunities" which are the following:

(1) intergenerational;

(2) sibling; and (3) interpersonal correlations. (2002, p.3)

In these areas the individual's attainment in the areas of income, class, health, education, and employment "...has been show to correlate, respectively, to attainments of their parents, siblings and themselves at a prior time." (Yaqub, 2002, p.3) the welfare correlations are strong between individuals sharing these socioeconomic backgrounds which serve to "strongly influence lifetime attainments. Sibling correlations are stronger tests to the extent that natural siblings share genes, culture, community and household characteristics, and unobservable factors like parenting, etc. -- although birth order, sex and birth spacing may condition these. All these add weight to views that childhood experiences determine adult poverty." (Yaqub, 2002, p.3)

3. Promotive Effects of Early Head Start (EHS)

The work of Ayoub, et al. (2009) entitled: "Cognitive Skill Performance Among Young Children Living in Poverty: Risk, Change, and the Promotive Effects of Early Head Start" published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly reports a study that examined the associations between risk factors and the cognitive performance of children ages one to three years and who were children living in poverty. As well this study investigated the protective effects of Early Head Start (EHS) on the cognitive skill of children. The study conducted data analysis through utilization of data from the Early Head Start (EHS) Research and Evaluation Project.

Four primary findings arising from the study reported by Ayoub, et al. (2009) include the findings as follows:

(1) Children's cognitive skill scores decreased significantly from one to three years of age in comparison to national norms;

(2) Children whose families were on government assistance, children whose mothers had less than a high school education, children who received lower levels of cognitive and language stimulation at home, and children who had higher levels of negative emotionality evidenced more rapid rates of decline;

(3) Children in families who received government assistance, children whose parents were unemployed, and children whose mothers had less than a high school education had lower cognitive skill scores at three years of age; and (4) Children who were enrolled in Early Head Start (EHS) had higher cognitive skill scores at three years of age than their peers who were not in EHS. (Ayoub, et al., 2009)

4. Neuroscience -- Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement

The work of Noble, Tottenham and Casey (2005) entitled: "Neuroscience Perspectives on Disparities in School Readiness and Cognitive Achievement" published in the Future of Children Journal states that there are three core neurocognitive systems including those of:

(1) Cognitive control -- associated with the "ability to override inappropriate thoughts and behaviors" and known to be "associated with the prefrontal cortex which is located directly at the front of the human brain;

(2) the hippocampus is accredited with being the area associated with memory and learning and can be found deep within the temporal lobe of the human brain;

(3) Finally the temporo-parietal and temporo-occipital cortex, which is located on the brain's left surface is attributed as being closely associated with reading and is a process in the left side of the human brain. (Noble, Tottenham and Casey, 2005, paraphrased)

Noble, Tottenham and Casey (2005) state "Each of these brain regions changes and matures throughout childhood, and researchers are currently trying to understand how children's experiences influence such brain development. Scientists hope that this research will lead to insights that are promising for the design of specific educational interventions." (Giedd cited in Noble, Tottenham and Casey, 2005, p.4)

5. Cognitive Processes Defined

Cognitive processes are inclusive of:

(1) the ability to allocate attention,

(2) to hold something "online" in memory, and (3) to withhold an inappropriate response. (Casey, Giedd and Thomas, 2000, cited in: Noble, Tottenham and Casey, 2005, p.4)

These processes are stated to be collectively known as "cognitive control...developmentally important ... [and underlying] ... cognitive and social skills essential to academic success, such as the ability to ignore distracting events inside and outside the classroom." (Noble, Tottenham and Casey, 2005, p.4) Researchers have designed behavioral tasks in the laboratory that has the capacity to conduct an assessment of the ability of the child to inhibit an in appropriate response. The widely utilized assessment is one that is referred to as the "Go-No Go" task in which a child is presented with many stimuli that are 'go' stimuli requiring a "rote button-press response, along with an occasional 'not go stimulus that requires the child to withhold a response." (Noble, Tottenham and Casey, 2005, p.5)

6. Developmental Milestones

The work of Gupta, de Wit and McKeown (2007) entitled: "The Impact of Poverty on the current and future health status of children" notes the importance of proper health care for children while they are developing and relates that often children of poverty do not receive essential health care services that children from higher socioeconomic homes are in receipt of. Gupta, de Wit and McKeown specifically state: "The first few years of life are marked by development at a scale and pace that is unsurpassed later in childhood and sets the foundation for subsequent growth and development" (2007, p.1) and included are the following developmental milestones:

(1) by six years of age, significant preventable inequalities in development have also emerged;

(2) While many factors influence the healthy development of children, family income is recognized as a key determinant; and (3) Children in families with greater material resources enjoy more secure living conditions and attachments, as well as greater access to a range of opportunities often unavailable to children from low-income families. Given the importance of the early years, young children must be provided with the best possible start in life to maximize their potential. (Gupta de Wit and McKeown, 2007, p.1)

The work of Kitano (2003) entitled: "Gifted Potential and Poverty: A Call for Extraordinary Action" states that data on achievement reveals a "...strong consistent relationship to socioeconomic status. Achievement data show a strong, consistent relationship to socioeconomic status. Yet, evidence exists that societal responses to race may affect achievement independent of income level. " (p.1) the National Task Force on Minority High Achievement College Board (1999) states findings that an extensive body of research reveals that "Black, Hispanic, and Native American students at virtually all socioeconomic status levels do not perform as well on standardized tests as their White and Asian counterparts. This is held to be the outcomes of poverty in its limitation of the Black, Hispanic and Native American students being among the highest achievers due to "...inadequate school resources, racial and ethnic prejudice, families' limited educational resources, and cultural differences" all of which are stated to "contribute to underrepresentation." (Kitano, 2003, p.1)

7. Lower Expectations and Referral Bias

The Task Force found that in the area of gifted education or particularly high academic achievement that "...racial and ethnic prejudice can take the form of lower expectations and referral bias. (Kitano, 2003, p.1) Kitano reports a strong suggestion on the part of researchers that to shift the focus "of underrepresentation from race to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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