Statement of the Problem The purpose of this study is to analyze the effects of the “funds of knowledge” concept as to how it helps narrow the achievement gap and to the extent it aids in connecting parents , students , schools and communities.
Table of Contents • Statement of the Problem • Review of Related Literature • Statement of the Hypothesis
Review of the Literature There is no one teaching strategy or methodology that serves to close the achievement gap. Most studies conclude that closing the achievement should be a collaborative effort between school, parents and community (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez 1992).
The “funds of knowledge” model contends that the educational process can be advanced and enhanced more readily when teachers have knowledge about the history of the communities, the families that live in the communities, the institutions that are in the community and most important, knowledge about the everyday experiences of students they serve.
What is “funds of knowledge”? Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez (1992) stated that: Our research design attempts to coordinate three interrelated activates: the ethnographic analysis of house hold dynamics, the examination of classroom practices, and the development of after-school study groups with teachers . These student groups, collaborative ventures between teachers and researchers are settings within which we discuss our developing understanding of households and classrooms. These study groups also function as “mediating structures” for developing novel classroom practice that involve strategic connections between these two entities
Cultural modeling is a recent teaching methodology that is closely aligned with the “funds of knowledge concept that involves “ designing instruction to make explicit connections between content and literacy goals and the knowledge and experiences students share with family community and peers (Risko &Walker-Dalhouse 2007.”
There are numerous factors that cause students to underachieve. According to ( Harry, Klinger & Hart 2009) , some of “ the variables that contribute to the achievement gap are poverty, unsafe neighborhoods ,large family size, residential instability, and parental characteristics such as poor mental health and criminal or drug involvement.” When one takes a look at these pathologies they are led to think negatively about poor families. The parents and children who live in these environments are stigmatized and stereotyped. However, stigmatizing and stereotyping children will probably lead to low academic as well as low behavioral expectations. Teachers should not connect poverty with poor parenting or poor children with not having the ability to achieve or the ability to behave well.
I think that the “funds of knowledge” strategy is a useful and feasible method that can be used to narrow the achievement gap, and connect teachers to parents and communities. However, I think that additional research needs to be done. More quantitative and qualitative studies need to be done to test the impact of “funds of knowledge “ on teachers, parents and students.