Unleashing the full potential of teachers

Personal ecologies and funds of knowledge/identity as resources for curriculum making





In this paper we take a credit/asset view of the breadth of knowledge and expertise that teachers have to contribute to curriculum and curriculum making from their everyday and professional experiences. We argue and illustrate the value of teachers grounding their funds of knowledge and identity in designing curriculum that connects with their students and the local context. Teacher funds of knowledge and identity are part of their personal learning ecology. Barron (2006) defines this as encompassing the ideas/knowledge, relationships, and material and virtual resources that people draw on within and across their everyday lives. The ability to mobilise a personal ecology that goes beyond academic or formal/professional knowledge would seem to be a crucial capability for teachers as they localise curricula. Even more so when teachers aim to do this in ways that foster engagement, develop agency and progress student ‘achievement.’ We offer suggestions for researchers, school leaders and teachers interested in exploring the nature and use of funds of knowledge/identity within a learning ecology framing.


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Author Biographies

Bronwen Cowie, Waikato University

Bronwen Cowie (Associate Dean Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education, University of Waikato) was a secondary school teacher of maths and physics. Her research is focused on classroom interactions, with an emphasis on Assessment for Learning in science and technology classrooms, and culturally responsive pedagogy in science education.

Maurice Cheng, Waikato University

Maurice M. W. Cheng (Deputy Head of School, Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education, University of Waikato) had been a pharmacist before he became a chemistry teacher. He is interested in cognitive, affective and cultural aspects of teaching and learning of science. He has been involved in the international comparative studies TIMSS and PISA.

Nick Bryant, Matamata College

Nick Bryant (Nga Puhi and Ngati Whatua) is Deputy Principal at Matamata College. Nick is a member of the NCEA Subject Expert Group for Level 1 Biology & Chemistry, Level 1 Science, and Level 2 Biology. He is also part of the Mangai Māori Ropu, the group of Subject Experts who bring a Māori worldview to NCEA. Nick is a teacher-researcher on the Envisioning student possible selves in science TLRI.


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