Funds of Knowledge and Outcomes Among Native American Students

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Introduction Funds of Knowledge (FoK) is that knowledge which is shared among cultures, communities, and families. A part of that shared knowledge is language, how we learn, how we communicate, how we interact socially. In order to effectively teach students, teachers need to know what skill sets Native American students bring with them into the classroom, and understand how to effectively build on those skills (Aguirre et al., 2012). This is essential to addressing the current crises endemic within American Indian education. Teachers should know the social and cultural norms that are expected and taught in the homes and communities of their students as this crucial information will enable teachers to consistently access and respond their students’ FoK (Hedges, Cullen & Jordan, 2011; McLaughlin & Barton, 2012) Velez-Ibanez and Greenberg (1992) were the first to introduce FoK which is founded in the cultural anthropological studies of Eric Wolf (Rios-Aguilar, 2010). Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, (2005) published their theory on FoK which is based in the assumptions that people are intelligent and rich in life experiences. The early research in FoK was conducted mostly among Hispanic student populations in the United States (Dugan, Ylimaki, & Bennett, 2012; McLaughlin & Barton, 2012; Rios-Aguilar, 2010). There is limited quantitative research on the impact of FoK among Native American students. Children come to the classroom rich in the culture of their community and family; from which their learning style is primed (Aguirre et al, 2012; Morgan, 2009). For example (Saracho & Spodek, 1984) stated that Native Americans are “field dependent learners”. This in an indication that Native American students prefer to work together, are... ... middle of paper ... ...ion, 24(1), 13-36. Morgan, H. (2009). What every teacher needs to know to teach Native American students. Multicultural Education, 16(4), 10-12. Pewewardy, C., & Fitzpatrick, M. (2009). Working with American Indian students and families: Disabilities, issues, and interventions. Intervention in School and Clinic, 45(2), 91-98. Rios-Aguilar, C. (2010). Measuring funds of knowledge: Contributions to Latina/o students' academic and nonacademic outcomes. Teachers College Record, 112(8), 2209-2257. Saracho, O. N., Spodek, B., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early, Childhood Education. (1984). Cognitive style and children's learning: Individual variation in cognitive processes Velez-Ibanez, C., & Greenberg, J. B. (1992). Formation and transformation of funds of knowledge among U.S.-Mexican households. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 23(4), 313-35.

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