14 SES 13, Funds of Knowledge Research for the Future: International examples and educational possibilities
This paper explores transnational literacy practices as funds of knowledge for children in immigrant families. This eleven-year longitudinal case study involves nine children from immigrant families who have come to the United States from around the world. Methods Students entered the study in kindergarten, grade 1, or grade 2. Each year, we collected observations, spoken data, and student-created artifacts (e.g., writing samples, maps, photographs). Data sources highlight the various spaces that the immigrant families occupy across time (i.e., home/neighborhood/ school; native country/country of residence). Our longitudinal data involve annual collection of parallel data sets – including observations of children in home, school and community spaces; parent, teacher, student, and family member interviews; and child-created artifacts (e.g. drawing, photographs, writing samples). Data analysis involved verbatim transcription of all spoken data, using a combination of a priori (e.g., child identity, home literacy practices, school literacy practices) and grounded codes (e.g., pop culture, language practices, native country). Child-created artifacts were analyzed in conjunction with spoken data and used to reveal children’s knowledge about the world. Findings Transnational awareness is evident in how young children talk, write and draw about the world. Specifically, we reveal children’s nuanced understandings of the world, which are not be readily available to children from mono-cultural and mono-national families and communities. Researchers then track one student – Adam - a Muslim American child from Morocco. As we follow him into high school, he consistently displays not only an awareness of the world, but also a cosmopolitan stance that recognizes the humanity of people around the world. For example, in eighth grade, Adam was the only student in his class wearing a shirt that read, “Pray for Syria.” He explained that he was involved in organizing and hosting a “fundraiser for Syrian children” at the local Mosque and reported that he had been involved in other similar activities noting: “You always have to remember, ‘cause there’s children there that are dying every day and stuff, so I think it’s an important thing you should know [about]. You should never be too unsocial, or NOT be connected to the world.” Significance We argue that the transnational awareness is an important fund of knowledge that should be recognized in classrooms and schools. This awareness and knowledge has the potential to contribute to the nurturing of cosmopolitan perspectives for all children.
Gonzalez, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press. Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(1), 132-41.
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