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ERIC Number: EJ898479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
"The Expression of Wise Others": Using Students' Views of Academic Discourse to Talk about Social Justice
Kurtyka, Faith
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v38 n1 p47-60 Sep 2010
In "Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities, and Classrooms" (Gonzalez, Moll, and Amanti x), a group of K-12 educators conducted ethnographic work on the home lives of their working-class students. With the premise that people are "competent, they have knowledge and their life experiences have given them that knowledge," the Funds of Knowledge approach uses "students' knowledge and prior experiences as a scaffold for new learning." To re-orient themselves from seeing students in a deficit model, teacher-researchers visited communities and interviewed students' families to determine the knowledge that circulated in the community. The point was not to replicate this knowledge in the classroom, but to validate students' experiences and build what they already know from their families and homes into other areas of the curriculum. In this essay, the author takes a Funds of Knowledge approach to teaching social justice issues. Working with the assumption that students have valid lived experiences with oppression, she uses these experiences to talk about other forms of oppression. She discovered instances where the students in her first-year composition class had experienced institutional oppression when, in the fall of 2008 and 2009, she gave an assignment that asked them to critique academic discourse. In this essay, the author explains her process of building on students' experiences with academic discourse to talk about issues of privilege, access, and the banking concept of education, thus providing a constructive and organic approach to making social justice issues relevant for students' lives.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona