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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teacher Research on Funds of Knowledge: Learning from Households


The conceptualization of working-class Latino students' households as being rich in funds of knowledge has engendered transformative consequences for teachers, parents, students, and researchers. The qualitative study of their own students' households by teachers has unfolded as a viable method for bridging the gap between school and community. Teachers enter the households of two to three of their students as ethnographers, that is, as learners of the everyday lived contexts of their students' lives. These are not home visits in the usual sense, as teachers do not attempt to teach the family or to visit for disciplinary reasons. The focus of the home visit is to gather details about the accumulated knowledge base that each household assembles in order to ensure its own subsistence. Teachers also participate in study groups that offer a forum for the collective analysis of the household findings. Based on their experiences in the households and the study groups, teachers form curriculum units that tap into the household funds of knowledge. Parents have been drawn into the process by the validation of household knowledge as worthy of pedagogical notice. New avenues of communication between school and home have been constructed in a way which fosters confianza, or mutual trust.

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