Building Cognitive Strategies


Ruby Payne stresses the importance of teaching cognitive strategies as essential to help students from poverty be successful in school and life. Her logic goes something like this:

If an individual lives in a random, episodic and unpredictable environment, he or she has not developed the ability to PLAN.

If and individual cannot plan, he/she cannot PREDICT.

If an individual cannot predict, he/she cannot identify CAUSE AND EFFECT.

If an individual cannot identify cause and effect, he/she cannot identify CONSEQUENCE.

If an individual cannot identify consequence, he/she cannot control IMPULSIVITY.

If an individual cannot control impulsivity, he/she will have an inclination toward ANTISOCIAL AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR.

When family, church or school cannot offer the structure needed, a gang can fill the space. It will provide predictability, consequences, direction and reward certain behaviors. And it will teach counterproductive cognitive strategies. Teaching students to use planning behaviors, control impulsivity, use evaluation strategies, collect and examine data, and communicate with specific language can prepare them to deal with challenges in the chaotic community they have to cope with.

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