What is Funds of Knowledge in Education?

If you’re working in education, you’ve probably heard the term “funds of knowledge” thrown around. But what is it, exactly? In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of funds of knowledge and how it can be used to improve teaching and learning.

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In education, the term “funds of knowledge” refers to the various types of knowledge that students bring with them to the classroom. This includes both academic and non-academic knowledge, as well as the strategies and skills that students use to engage with course content.

While all students have some funds of knowledge, those from different backgrounds may have different types of knowledge. For example, a student from a rural background may have a wealth of knowledge about farming and gardening, while a student from an urban area may be more familiar with city life. Funds of knowledge can also vary based on factors such as family income, language spoken at home, and parents’ educational level.

Teachers can tapped into students’ funds of knowledge to help them better understand and engage with course material. For example, a teacher might use a farmers’ market as a real-world application for mathematical concepts like measurement and estimation. Or, a teacher might have students share their personal experiences as a way to introduce new vocabulary words.

By taking advantage of the funds ofknowledge that students already have, teachers can help make learning more relevant and engaging for all learners.

What is Funds of Knowledge?

Funds of Knowledge is a concept that was developed in the 1990s by Luis M. Puerta and Lorraine M. Gutierrez. It is based on the idea that everyone has a fund of knowledge that they have acquired through their life experiences. This fund of knowledge can be used to help students learn.


Funds of knowledge is a term used in educational research to describe the types of knowledge that families and communities have about the world around them. This knowledge can include everything from traditional academic skills to more practical skills related to everyday life.

This concept is important because it can help educators to better understand where their students are coming from and how they can better support them. By taking into account the different types of knowledge that students bring with them to school, educators can create more culturally responsive classrooms and curriculum.

There is a growing body of research on funds of knowledge, and it has been used in a variety of settings, including early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, and special education.


There are five main characteristics of Funds of Knowledge:

1. It is personal: each family has its own unique set of skills, knowledge and experiences that they can share with others.
2. It is practical: it is based on the real-world problems that families face and the solutions they have developed to deal with them.
3. It is social: it includes the ways in which families interact with each other and their community.
4. It is contextual: it takes into account the specific circumstances in which families live, work and play.
5. It is dynamic: it changes over time as families’ circumstances change.


It is important to have a broad understanding of the students you are teaching. This includes their interests, abilities and experiences. By using the funds of knowledge approach, educators can gain a more comprehensive view of their students and use this information to inform their teaching.

The funds of knowledge approach was developed by Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist, and has been applied to education by Gloria Chuntington, an educational psychologist. The approach is based on the idea that every individual has a unique set of knowledge and skills that they have acquired through their life experiences. This includes both formal and informal learning experiences.

By taking the time to understand the funds of knowledge of their students, educators can adapt their teaching to better meet the needs of each individual student. In turn, this can lead to improved educational outcomes for all students.

How is Funds of Knowledge Used in Education?

Funds of knowledge is a term used to describe the knowledge that families and communities have about their cultural and linguistic heritage, as well as the skills they have acquired through work and life experiences. This knowledge can be used to support teaching and learning in the classroom.

In the Classroom

In the classroom, teachers can use Funds of Knowledge to better understand their students’ backgrounds and experiences. This knowledge can then be used to design instruction that is more relevant and engaging for students. For example, if a teacher knows that many of her students come from immigrant families, she can design lessons that connect new concepts to students’ prior experiences and help them see the value of education in their lives.

Similarly, if a teacher knows that her students have a lot of experience with technology, she can incorporate that into her lessons and assignments. For example, she might have students use their smartphones to research a topic or create a presentation. By using strategies like these, teachers can help all students succeed in school.

In Teacher Education

In teacher education, funds of knowledge has been used to help preservice teachers design culturally relevant curriculum and instruction. For example, one study found that when preservice teachers used funds of knowledge in designing lesson plans, the quality of the lesson plans increased. The preservice teachers were also more likely to make connections between what they were teaching and their students’ cultural backgrounds.


In conclusion, funds of knowledge are the various types of knowledge that families and communities possess that can be used to support student learning in schools. This includes both academic and non-academic forms of knowledge. Although funds of knowledge have been traditionally undervalued by schools, they can play a key role in supporting students’ academic success.

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