Title

Teachers’ Experiences Incorporating English Language Learners Funds of Knowledge Within Classrooms

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia State University

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

Strand #1

Family & Community

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This presentation is relevant to strands one and five with an examination of a study that focuses on both instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) and strategies for incorporating students’ funds of knowledge within classrooms. The concept of funds of knowledge may be seen through family labor history such as what types of professions and skills families possess, material knowledge such as labor or economics. These points of emphasis contrasts with traditional views of culture that take a more surface level approach and include things such as folk tales or holidays. This presentation provides an overview of a research based approach of instruction that strives to develop instruction that builds upon students’ knowledge and experiences, as well as building bridges between schools and communities.

Brief Program Description

The objective of this presentation is to provide an overview of a graduate research study and to introduce the concept of funds of knowledge. During this time, participants will have time to actively reflect and develop ideas for working with youth they currently serve. The background to the research and the methodological approach will be reviewed, as well as preliminary findings. This presentation is tailored for Individuals who work with English language learners and/or in education.

Summary

My presentation will provide an overview of a qualitative research study and an overview of funds of knowledge. The term funds of knowledge originates with Wolf (1966) as an anthropological term regarding what resources and knowledge families and households require. Moll et. al’s (1992) study describes the term funds of knowledge as placing emphasis on the “strategic knowledge and related activities essential in households' functioning, development, and well-being. It is specific funds of knowledge pertaining to the social, economic, and productive activities of people in a local region, not "culture" in its broader, anthropological sense, that we seek to incorporate strategically into classrooms,” (p. 139). This means that households have knowledge that is influenced by historical and cultural conditions. Household funds of knowledge may be seen through family labor history such as what types of professions and skills families possess, material knowledge such as labor or economics. These points of emphasis contrasts with traditional views of culture that take a more surface level approach and include things such as folk tales or holidays. An activity viewers may participate in involves reflecting upon youth they work with and how they can acknowledge their funds of knowledge and build connections to students’ lives and families.

My graduate research study examines how teachers incorporate students’ funds of knowledge with scripted curricula. Research shows that ELLs have different needs than their monolingual peers. The use of a scripted curriculum creates issues such as problems with pacing, relevancy of topics, and assumptions of prior experiences (Flint & Fisher-Ari, 2014;Street, 2005;Timberlake, Burns, & Barrett, 2017). The methods of investigating how teachers experience incorporating students’ funds of knowledge into scripted curriculum involves a case study focusing on two elementary schools in a metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States. Methods of data collection include interviews with teachers, document collection, and observation of instruction.

Evidence

Research shows that everyday experiences, stocks of knowledge, and language are sources of knowing that are influenced by culture. When given a similar situation, people from different cultures may make different meanings based on cultural relevance and experience. In agreement, Geertz (1973) contributes that humans depend on culture to direct their behavior and understand their experiences. Geertz (1973) further discusses that we are born into a world that has significant symbols and these symbols have been given meaning by culture and society. Fish (1980) highlights the idea that objects are made and not found. Human beings construct meanings for objects or ideas and these meanings are shaped by culture and society. Culture is a key aspect in people’s construction of knowledge and “culture is best seen as the source, rather than the result of human thought and behavior,” (Crotty, 1998, p. 53) and social networks help shape the acquisition and transformation of knowledge Moll (2014). A final thought on social constructionism is that human nature is not fixed and according to Vico (1982) as people act on the world they change it and their needs and understandings change based on these new understandings.

Moll et. al’s (1992) study investigated how families create thick, multi-stranded social environments that support the development and exchange of resources. Moll et. al argue that these relationships are in contrast to the school environment where schools and teachers are isolated from the households and communities where students live and teachers only know students in their roles as students and do not see the social and cultural dimensions children come to school with. Normally, teachers may have a thin teacher-student relationship but through accessing students funds of knowledge teachers may build a relationship that enables teachers to bring students home lives into the classroom and make connections. Further, Moll et. al argue that a funds of knowledge approach is in contrast to the deficit lens in which working class families are viewed in school. Adopting a funds of knowledge approach builds upon students experiences and allows for students to make connections between what they know from home and what they are experiencing at school.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

James Mead is currently an ESOL teacher for DeKalb County Schools, as well as a doctoral candidate at Georgia State University.

Keyword Descriptors

Funds of Knowledge, English Language Learners, ESOL, Family, Community

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 4:45 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 6:00 PM

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Mar 9th, 4:45 PM Mar 9th, 6:00 PM

Teachers’ Experiences Incorporating English Language Learners Funds of Knowledge Within Classrooms

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

The objective of this presentation is to provide an overview of a graduate research study and to introduce the concept of funds of knowledge. During this time, participants will have time to actively reflect and develop ideas for working with youth they currently serve. The background to the research and the methodological approach will be reviewed, as well as preliminary findings. This presentation is tailored for Individuals who work with English language learners and/or in education.