14 SES 13, Funds of Knowledge Research for the Future: International examples and educational possibilities
Young indigenous children are at risk of academic failure in Taiwan. The mismatch between indigenous and mainstream cultures and absence of indigenous culture and knowledge in curricula may impede their learning. Researchers stressed the importance of developing intercultural curricula, into which funds of knowledge (Moll, Soto-Santiago, & Schwartz, 2013) are incorporated, to improve children’s academic achievement and cultural competence (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gay, 2010). In addition, Pressley (2016) suggested that balanced teaching of literacy combines the advantages of whole language and skills-based approaches is beneficial for children, particularly, those from diverse cultural backgrounds. The purpose of this study was using balanced teaching approach to develop an indigenous culturally integrated literary curriculum to improve young children’s phonological awareness of Mandarin Chinese and phonological decoding, which are closely related to children’s reading ability. The implementation of the curriculum lasted for one year. The goal for the first semester was improvement of phonological awareness and learning of phonetic symbols. There were 14 units. The topics of the units were related to Atayal knowledge, skills, and values, such as hunting, farming, and the value of collaboration. Each unit was about 90 minutes. The activities included reading stories books, singing songs and rhymes, discussion, playing games, doing learning sheets, and drawing. For the second semester, children read and wrote phonetic symbols in meaningful contexts when doing thematic activities (the theme is Atayal weaving). For example, they used phonetic symbols and drawing to record what the expert talked about weaving. We recruited 60 children and 4 teachers in five kindergartens. There were 45 children in the experiment group (32 boys and 13 girls) and 93% of them were Atayal. The average age was 4 years and 11 months. Fifteen children were in the control group (9 boys and 6 girls) and all of them were Atayal. The average age was 5 years. We conducted pre-test before implementing the curriculum and two post-tests at the end of first and second semester. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare the differences between experiment and control groups in post-tests. For the post1-test, compared with the control group, the experimental group had significant better scores in phonological decoding tests, but had no difference in phonological awareness tests. For the post2-test, the experimental group outperformed in phonological decoding tests. The experiment group also had higher scores on vocabulary. The findings provided insight into the improvement of literacy curricula for indigenous children.
Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory. research, and practice (2nd Ed.). New York: Teachers College Press. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465-491. Moll, L. C., Soto-Santiago, S. L., & Schwartz, L. (2013). Funds of knowledge in changing communities. In K. Hall, T. Cremin, B. Comber, & L. C. Moll (Eds.), International Handbook of Research on Children's Literacy, Learning and Culture (pp. 172-183). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Pressley, M. (2006). Reading instruction that works: The case for balanced teaching (3rd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.
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