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Funds of knowledge: a constructivist study to examine the assets of culturally and linguistically diverse families




Huerta-Kelley, Norma, author
Jennings, Louise, advisor
Coke, Pam, committee member
Frederiksen, Heidi, committee member
Gloeckner, Gene, committee member

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This dissertation crosses the barriers of language and culture in education, by examining the funds of knowledge of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families from research framed by an Appreciative Inquiry lens. Northern Colorado is predominately white, but home to a small diverse and vibrant Latino community whose stories of strength are invaluable to educators all across the United States. I conducted one pilot focus group, three bilingual focus groups and four face-to-face, bilingual, follow-up interviews with Latino parents/guardians of school-aged children. I examined themes constructed through participants' funds of knowledge as described to me through their personal stories or "dichos". All participants identified as CLD, and their participation was determined by using the following criteria: ethnicity, gender, migrant status, and home language. This research proposes a constructivist model of study that incorporates findings through the identification of several themes that answer the research question, "What are the "funds of knowledge" of culturally and linguistically diverse families?" The findings examine participants' perceptions regarding: parent biographies and experiences and how they influence support for their children's education; strengths and assets of CLD families; what they want their children's teachers to know about working with CLD families; and aspirations for their children. These themes relate to prior research and informs culturally responsive instructional strategies that can be used by administrators and teachers so they can better understand CLD students and create more inclusive environments. These practices can bring CLD students, many of whom continue to struggle to achieve at high levels, closer to the academic arena of postsecondary readiness.


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face to face individual interviews
funds of knowledge
culturally and linguistically diverse
appreciative inquiry
focus groups


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