Toward Asset-based Pedagogies in Secondary Literacy Classrooms


As the linguistic and cultural diversity of the classroom grows, English learners (Els) cannot meet the academic expectations within the current American educational system which leads to ELs’ over-enrollment in remedial courses, over-representation of low scores on standardized tests, and disproportionate high school drop-out rates (United States Department of Planning, 2016). The shared theoretical framework of these practitioner research projects drew upon ELs’ funds of knowledge and culturally relevant pedagogy to ground transformative literacy instruction within the secondary setting. As a team of agentive teacher-researchers, we have turned to funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992; Gonzalez et al., 2005) and culturally responsive (Gay, 2018) theories as a resource for addressing these issues. These two studies explore how secondary teacher-researchers in US classrooms addressed the issue of negotiating differences locally and globally, virtually and actually, against the transnational backdrop of heightened immigration/refugee displacement, precarity, and educational barriers in the US. Data sources included classroom observations, student interviews, student artifacts, field notes, member checking, immigration stories, and critical migration memoirs. Through evaluating immigration/migration stories presented as classroom assignments, practitioners used student knowledge to transform literacy practices in secondary English language and literature classrooms. Recommendations include a call for projects focused on student expereinces in the literacy curriculum, a need for “brave spaces” for students and families, where “courage” and understanding may be necessary when sharing sensitive information with new audiences (Arao & Clemens, 2013, p.141), and a recognition of how immigration shapes lives.


Erin Mc Neill
Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University, Indiana, United States

Michelle R. Koehler


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Literacies Learning


Asset-based Pedagogy, Emergent Bilinguals, Funds of Knowledge, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

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