Looking for name/website of the woman who gives lectures to teachers about how to relate to students of a different social class?
March 21, 2008 2:17 AM   Subscribe

Looking for name/website of the woman who gives lectures to teachers about how to relate to students of a different social class?

A while ago I read an article, maybe linked from here, about a woman who had studied class differences in the US and now gave lectures to mostly middle-class teachers on how to better relate to their mostly lower-class students (in school districts where this was the demographic). Her website had several articles about class differences in behavior, values, etc., including how they sometimes affect romantic relationships.

My Google-fu is failing me -- I have done extensive searching on what I'd think the relevant keywords would be and remembered snippets from these articles and I still cannot find her site or name. Does anyone know whom I'm talking about, her name, and/or have a link to her website?

My main interest in finding her site again is actually the content about romantic relationships and class, so if you know of any other resources about that topic I'd appreciate those links too.

posted by Jacqueline to Education (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Ruby K. Payne should provide a starting point. My Google-fu is failing on her work on relationships and class, though.
posted by thisjax at 2:29 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yup, that's her! Via that link I was able to find my way to her book, Crossing Tracks for Love, which is the main thing I was looking for. Thanks, thisjax!

Thisjax answered my main question but if anyone has any other good resources on the general topic I'd still appreciate pointers to them. Thanks!
posted by Jacqueline at 2:45 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just finished reading some of her work and I also found that there are the beginnings of a counter movement to Ruby Payne that I found interesting. It should be noted that her books and public speaking engagements are a massive business in the educational "self help" field.
Another view of her work:
posted by pazoozoo at 5:20 AM on March 21, 2008

As H2O said, it's Easy to be Anti.
The challenge with her is that, because she's actually talking about DIFFERENCES between social groups, (gasp!) people easily take offense to some of the things she says. Also, lots of things are generalizations, but that doesn't mean they're not generally true.

Example: She says that people in poverty generally don't learn a second or third language unless they're immigrants. I grew up broooooke ass poor and took lots of foreign languages. (Most of my cohort did not.)

She says that in poverty, discipline is often the removal of attention moreso than a removal of privileges. If you're bad, mama ignores you for a day or two. She'll do this to anyone, including papa. BUT, when you get back in her social graces, the reunification usually always involves food, and that food holds a significant value for families in poverty.

I like Ruby, because that's something I KNEW, but didn't know I knew. Her discussions on metre of speech and flow of conversation are amazing. I first read her book and it was like she had personally observed my life growing up. It's not like she gives you magical pixie dust so that you can talk to people---she gives you a framework for understanding where they're coming from.
posted by TomMelee at 7:22 AM on March 21, 2008

I'll have to point that link out to my wife, who happens to be a middle-class white woman teaching in a primarily lower-class, black and hispanic school. She seems to do pretty well, but she could probably use pointers from another source.
posted by Doohickie at 8:07 AM on March 21, 2008

I don’t want to be the bearer of Bad news. But Ruby Payne while popular as a lecturer since no child left behind is seen not only as a joke, but dangerous in fields studying stratification or education. I have heard a quite a few times of her lack of research and her structural ignorance. Here is an article that links to some critiques of her.
The "Hidden Rules" to Ruby Payne's Success and here is the summery of another article Miseducating Teachers about the Poor: A Critical Analysis of Ruby Payne's Claims about Poverty. Mind you, because education is not my main focus in stratification theory I have not done extensive research on her myself, nor do I know of a good text that talks about mate selection or romantic love in or across social class. I do want to make sure that there is someone who is giving the academic critique that is due of Ruby Payne because it is a topic that is brought up with exasperation at least once a month in the hallways when talking about class and education.
posted by elationfoundation at 8:46 AM on March 21, 2008

Thanks for all the interesting links! I appreciate interesting links/discussion on the topic of class, even if they don't directly answer my specific question, because I am interested in the subject in general. So is "stratification theory" is the academic name of the field that studies this?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:38 AM on March 21, 2008

Sorry, Stratification is the study of how groups are distributed across the different layers of economic and social life. It is closely related to theories of class but more specifically focused on what forces interact upon those individuals to keep them in one place or another or help them move between areas. This element is what Ruby seems to be missing. I also looked for some articles on class and romantic pairing, it really does seem to be sparse as I could not find anything.
posted by elationfoundation at 11:59 AM on March 21, 2008

(for example) Basically, it is one thing to say that in regions of joblessness there is a low rate of marriage. It is entirely another to look at research in areas of joblessness in Chicago and how as "employment prospects recede, the foundations for stable relationships such as marriage give way to temporary liaisons that result in broken unions, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and, to a lesser extent, separation and divorce." (William Julius Wilson: Jobless poverty) <- in my library the only thing I could find. Basically knowing what is happening is one thing (Ruby does this) but understanding why it is happening allows for true understanding and in some cases the ability to enact change.
posted by elationfoundation at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2008

Thanks. I'm specifically interested in relationships across class boundaries (my husband and I occasionally encounter differences in our worldviews of what we think "everyone" thinks or does, and I suspect they may be class-based, so I'm trying to learn more about what the most frequently encountered differences are), but again, I'm also interested in the general topic, too.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:53 PM on March 21, 2008

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