Source, Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms

Luis C. Moll, Cathy Amanti, Deborah Neff, and Norma Gonzalez.

Latino households possess funds of knowledge which are cultural wealth and practices to make sense of their world. Integrating the students’ funds of knowledge necessitates research into the “social histories of households, their origins and development, and [. . .] the labor history of the families, which reveals the accumulated bodies of knowledge of the households” (132).

The social histories of families requires fieldwork and learning about where families come from, and to get a better idea about the material circumstances they face living as immigrants in the community. This body of knowledge, when integrated in schooling, presents family strengths as potential sources for study, while at the same time giving credibility to student lives as dignified. This connects students’ homes with school lives, and students’ school lives with home.

“[. . .] how household members use their funds of knowledge in dealing with changing, and often difficult, social and economic circumstances. We are particularly interested in how families develop social networks that interconnect them with their social environments (most importantly with other households), and how these social relationships facilitate the development and exchange of resources, including knowledge, skills, and labor, that enhance the households’ ability to survive or thrive” (132).

Social networks meet in special locations where funds of knowledge have value, such as after-school programs that offer special assistance for Latino communities. Valuing Spanish as a vehicle of learning is one such way to capitalize on the funds of knowledge of Latino families, as well as involving them in the educations of children. Building upon the social relationships within the community must happen first through these out-of-school educational facilities, therefore building community and presenting an advocate for families who fight on behalf of them in matters pertaining to schooling.

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