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FUNDS OF KNOWLEDGE

Michaela G. Schnetzer Many Farms High School EDU 551 December 6, 2016

Funds of Knowledge are the “historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills essential for household or individual functioning and well-being;” in essence, the “knowledge students gain from their family and cultural backgrounds” (Lopez, 2006).

Examples of Funds of Knowledge include:

Surface culture: food, holidays, clothing Shallow culture: child-rearing strategies, personal conduct, unspoken rules Deep culture: community, spirituality, world view (Hammond, 2015)

Funds of Knowledge are the “historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills essential

WHAT ARE FUNDS OF KNOWLEDGE?

CULTURAL

VALUES

According to Webster’s Dictionary…

cul·ture (klchr) n.

The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought; These patterns, traits, and

products considered as the expression of a particular community, period, class, or population; The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

values n. Beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment

Therefore, cultural values are:

“The commonly held standards of what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable, etc., in a community or society;” in essence, individual beliefs shaped by the beliefs of one’s culture.

COMMUNITY BACKGROUND

Community background, or community cultural wealth, are the resources, skills, and abilities learned not only in the home, but through the community as a whole, and how the community impacts learning (Saathoff, 2015).

COMMUNITY BACKGROUND Community background, or community cultural wealth, are the resources, skills, and abilities learned not

Community background includes:

-economic status -employment opportunities -housing -provided healthcare (or lack of) -impact of violence -youth programs (or lack of) -language

The bodies of knowledge and skills brought to the classroom are developed through cultural values, both

The bodies of knowledge and skills brought to the classroom are developed through cultural values, both inside the home and by other community resources, or “lifeworlds” (Zipin et al., 2012). Both influence cognitive development and can be utilized by educators to connect new learning to prior knowledge, which is critical to retaining information within the brain. Therefore, the use of Funds of Knowledge and cultural values in order to drive curriculum development is not mutually exclusive, but instead, vitally harmonious and mutually beneficial.

AN EXAMPLE:

MANY FARMS HIGH SCHOOL AND THE NAVAJO NATION

Funds of Knowledge

  • - Bilingual (English and Navajo, some Hopi)

  • - Ndaa, Yeibichii ceremonies

  • - Heavy Mormon influence

  • - Matriarchal society, women and young girls are held to higher standards

  • - Some families refuse modern medicine, especially for mental illness, and prefer traditional treatments

  • - “Horse people” – proficient in animal management

  • - Childcare is a family/community effort

  • - Many families have no running water

  • - School are viewed with skepticism due to the “white washing” of indigenous peoples during the age of Indian Relocation and Indian Removal

  • - Often one family member will provide for not only the nuclear family, but extended family members as well.

  • - Dependence on welfare, WIC, and other sources of income is prevalent due to an over 50% unemployment rate

  • - Collectivist society

Cultural Values
Cultural Values

For the Navajo, food is a cultural staple that extends beyond simple nourishment. Food acts as a symbol of prosperity and generosity, and is also used to bond families, community members, and welcome strangers in to a very closed society. When someone is invited in to the home, food is offered. If food is not offered, or not accepted by the visitor when offered, it is seen as rude and a display of misery or conceitedness. Therefore, it is crucial that when events or meeting with parents are held at the school, food be offered.

Community Background

Many Farms, Arizona, as well as the Navajo Nation as a whole, exists in extreme poverty due to the high unemployment rate and lack of career opportunities. Because of the economic strains on most families, participation in a child’s schooling is often neglected. For example, vehicles are not available for long distance travel and work schedules do not allow for flexibility and therefore consistent attendance. Schools must take the initiative to instigate active participation of families because multiple studies have shown that the “more parents encourage and support their children's efforts in education and the higher the

A student’s world-view, which is defined by cultural values and community backgrounds, influences choice, behavior, and cognitive development. It is crucial that educators use this information as a guide to creating meaningful learning experiences. These experiences can range from simple modes of conduct to entire units of instruction.

A student’s world-view, which is defined by cultural values and community backgrounds, influences choice, behavior, and

Ex. When a student is spoken to for poor behavior, unlike in most western societies, eye contact should not be demanded. The Navajo see eye contact with elders when being scolded as a display of defiance and disrespect. This simple gesture builds a relationship of

“ONE’S CULTURE…IS PART OF HOW THE BRAIN MAKES SENSE OF

mutual respect and increases the

THE WORLD AND HELPS US FUNCTION IN OUR ENVIRONMENT”

student’s trust in the instructor.

(HAMMOND, 2015).

DIFFERENTIATE D INSTRUCTION

When student populations represented within a classroom are diverse, culturally and otherwise, learning experiences and outcomes must be differentiated in order to accommodate for the needs of each child. Differentiated instruction provides a framework for educators that “addresses learner variance,” with the primary goal being to make certain that “teachers focus on processes and procedures that ensure effective learning for varied individuals” (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006).

It is important to remember that differentiation does not mean that expectations for students vary; it simply means that the process for reaching high expectations and learning outcomes may require a different path for each child.

According to Tomlinson and McTighe, the following teacher characteristics are critical to assisting learners through differentiated instruction:

  • 1. They establish clarity about curricular essentials.

  • 2. They accept responsibility for learner success.

  • 3. They develop communities of respect.

  • 4. They build awareness of what works for each student.

  • 5. They develop classroom management routines that contribute to success.

  • 6. They help students become effective partners in their own success.

  • 7. They develop flexible classroom teaching routines.

  • 8. They expand a repertoire of instructional strategies.

Once educators have completed the footwork necessary to gather Funds of Knowledge, cultural values, and community background information, they are able to create curricula that engages all students, regardless of diversity, through differentiated instruction. Successful learning outcomes can only be reached when educators are aware and knowledgeable of their students, their families, and the communities from which they originate.

Funds of Knowledge Cultural Values Community Background

Once educators have completed the footwork necessary to gather Funds of Knowledge, cultural values, and community

Differentiat

ed

Instruction

Successf ul Learning Outcome s
Successf
ul
Learning
Outcome
s

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

PUTTING IT IN TO PRACTICE

PUTTING IT IN TO PRACTICE Complete the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center’s Funds of Knowledge

Complete the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center’s Funds of Knowledge chart, based on you and your family.

PUTTING IT IN TO PRACTICE Complete the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center’s Funds of Knowledge

Once complete, share the provided information amongst your groupmates, making sure to acknowledge commonalities.

CREATE TWO ACTIVITIES…

Activity 1:

Using identified commonalities between group members, create a content-based learning opportunity that utilizes this similarity.

Activity 2:

Create a content-based learning opportunity that differentiates instruction in order to accommodate diverse needs identified through the Funds of Knowledge chart, but ultimately leads students to the same outcome.

Document your work on large paper, and be prepared to share your learning process with the entire group!

CREATE TWO ACTIVITIES… Activity 1: Using identified commonalities between group members, create a content-based learning opportunity

REFERENCES

Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting

authentic

students.

engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse London: Corwin.

Lopez, J. K. (2006). Funds of Knowledge. Retrieved from

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/939?style=print

Saathoff, S. D. (2015). Funds of Knowledge and Community Cultural Wealth:

Exploring

Mexican

How Pre-Service Teachers Can Work Effectively with Mexican and American Students. Critical Questions in Education, 30-40. Retrieved

December 6, 2016, from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1051078.pdf

Tomlinson, C. A., & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from GCU Library Resources.

Willeto, A. A. (1999, January 1). Navajo Culture and Family Influences on

Academic

Success: Traditionalism is Not a Significant Predictor of Achievement

Among Young Navajos. Journal of American Indian Education, 38(2), 1-24.

Retrieved

December 7, 2016, from GCU Library Resources.

Zipin, L., Sellar, S., & Hattam, R. (2012, May). Countering and exceeding

‘capital’: A ‘funds

of knowledge’ approach to re-imagining community.

Discourse: Studies in the

Cultural Politics of Education, 33(2), 179-192.

doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.666074