- Funds of knowledge imply the application of acquired knowledge into the social networks as an exchange currency (Rios-Aguilar et al 166). In my community, “funds of knowledge” implies the adverse cognition on social aspects of the society. In my family, farming is considered our “funds of knowledge.” Little children are brought up appreciating farm work. Adolescents assisted their parents in the given difficult tasks such as ploughing and harrowing. They come to understand at an early age the main community business. This understanding has been through shared roles in taking care of the livestock and plants. The community has gotten together in many instances to discuss farming issues. Furthermore, different roles are shared among the community, such as digging using tractors is men’s work while women and children help in harvesting. Since these activities are seasonal, the community takes time off to rest and share on agribusiness information.
“Funds of knowledge” revolving around farming assists the community is sharing knowledge on how to grow increase the produce. People are usually advised on new seeds and the type of crops to plant depending on the rain and the available resources. Whenever one manages to acquire new information, it is shared amongst the community and people test it to find its productive level.
These funds have enabled me to learn different agricultural methods without incorporating academic knowledge. Since childhood, I knew how to balance animal rearing and crop rotation. I have managed to utilize animal produce as fertilizer for the farming while planting vegetables. I have also come to realize which types of crops to plant in what season. This has enabled me to be independent and contribute to the family’s financial requirements. I am also able to cater for my school fees and other materials such as pens and writing essentials. Socially, it has enabled me form a network of friends including teachers and classmates. This has further enabled me to access reading materials from teachers, which would have otherwise been difficult to acquire.
- Social capital is the barely tangible resources accrued from social relationships, which positively influenced the effects of academics (Oseguera et al 1138). As a “Funds of knowledge”, this capital was accessed via the precondition of the relations connecting my teachers and I. This precondition resulted to easy access to educational materials, which were essential in my academics and career achievements. On the account of Dornbusch in Oseguera et al (1139), learners from low social economic status find information from age mates and institutions, instead from families. My life confirms this theory. I acquired agricultural skillsfrom my family. However, knowledge on the success in variation of plants and seasons came from the villagers during the planting seasons. As I excelled, I developed a network of social friends, among them my teachers and fellow classmates with whom I came to understand the American lifestyle, especially English as a language. I must confess that family closeness contributed to this precondition. Since we were engaged in farm work most of the time, we had less time together as a family than we had with other community members. Besides, information on agriculture made me independent from very early years. I was mostly encouraged by my teachers and peers as they saw my progress. I came to have closer relationships with my teachers than the family members. This is attributed by the common goals we had set to succeed in career.
- Carter’s concepts of ‘Cultural Mainstreamers,’ non-compliant believers and ‘cultural straddlers’ relate with my experiences. According to Carter, straddlers are the group who come to terms with the roles of the dominant and non-dominant capital (Carter 307). They appreciate the qualifications required to contribute to the diverse cultural surroundings. This group manages to traverse the sections of varied groups more prominently. Born from the low social economic class, I was perceived to live in that status. Most of the community members worked in different departments but still exercised farming as their main source of livelihood; I however came to rise above the common notion and used farm work as a resource to overcome poverty and academic failure. I applied the social network to acquire close relationships with my teachers who were of great assistance. I could free consult with them, request for reading materials, and freely acquire information, which would otherwise been difficult to obtain while in the farm work. I excelled academically as well as culturally as I could incorporate the community activity into my lifestyle (Carter 309).
I hardly fit in the ‘non-compliant believers’. In this group, the SES categorizes themselves with the form of dressing, culture, and language. I was culturally raised up to accept my roles and work towards academic achievement, which was predominantly for the whites.
Race is significant in the community. As a Black American, it was challenging to initially come to terms to academic success. This is because this form of achievement was dominant among my white colored peers. All great opportunities came with academic success and were accorded to the whites. It was initially difficult to fathom a Black child compete with a white student in their native language. I obtained the breakthrough through the social relations with my teachers who encouraged me to try my best.
- My experience closely relates to Phelan’s evaluation of the teenagers navigating through schooling and family. As I became interested in academics, my teachers had to take their time to understand me. This was however simple as most of them had a common culture with me. We lived in a family set up with the father as the head. Children were to follow the set guidelines by the account. As a culture, we used to do communal work together apart from the seasons when the community had to share the task at large. As growing children, we culturally learnt our position in the community and therefore set ourselves some boundaries, which were guided by ethics. Among the border was the socio-cultural in which we were contented with our lifestyles even though we were economically struggling. This satisfaction came due to racial and ethical differences we noted between the whites and us. Ethically, we valued ourselves, academically we envied the whites due to the vast opportunities they had. These differentiations arose due to lack of sufficient resources to support ourselves. We lacked the bridges to assist us in realizing that we had equal opportunities with the whites. We were laid back in information. Assistance came from the elite teachers through the social network and strong cultural background (Phelan, Patricia & Loche, Ann, Davidson 61)
Carter, L. Prudence. Straddling Boundaries: Identity, Culture and School. 2006. Pages 304-328
Oseguera et al. “Beyond Family and Ethnic Culture: Understanding the Preconditions for the Potential Realization of Social Capital.” Youth and Society. 2011. 43(3):1136-1166
Rios-Aguilar, Cecilia, et al. “Funds of knowledge for the poor and forms of capital for the rich? A capital approach to examining funds of knowledge.”Theory and research in Education. 2011. 9(2): 163-184.
Phelan, Patricia & Loche, Ann, Davidson. Renegotiating Cultural Divintiy in American Schools. 1993.