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Abstracts Due: March  15th 2019

Call for Papers

Advancing the funds of identity approach: Challenging learning in and out of school

This special issue will include an editorial, five or six research papers selected by the guest editor and editorial team of MCA from the abstract proposals received, and an invited commentary. The requirements for acceptance are: 1) papers advance the research field dealing with funds of identity approach; 2) papers demonstrate high theoretical and methodological quality; 3) authors commit to cross-review one other manuscript of the special issue; and 4) non-English-speaking authors ensure their manuscripts are proofread by a native speaker.

All papers will be cross-reviewed by the authors in a double-blind review process following the journal’s normal review process and criteria, which will be sent to the contributors. The reviewers will be appointed and contacted by the guest editor and the editorial team of MCA.

Aims and scope of the special issue 

We need more inclusive formal educational practices better suited to the current network and multicultural societies of the 21st century. The composition of classrooms is changing due to international human mobility. In recent decades, the share of students who had either migrated or who had a parent who had migrated across international borders grew by six percentage points, on average across Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (OECD, 2018). In other words, while demographic, technological, social and cultural circumstances are undergoing abrupt change, school practice remains quite similar to when it was created. Additionally, some particular issues are still unresolved that affect excellence, social inclusion and equity in education.

In this regard, disproportionately high numbers of students who are under-represented (due to low income, ethnic minority status or foreign origin, among other factors) perform consistently lower academically than typical middle-class students. Moreover, disadvantaged students not only score lower in science, reading and mathematics but also are more likely to skip classes or school days and arrive late for school. They also reported lower levels of engagement, drive, motivation and self-belief (OECD, 2016).

Radical thinking is required to deal successfully with this social and cultural heterogeneity in order to guarantee excellence, equity, social cohesion and social justice. To this end, the goal of this project is to fundamentally rethink formal education practices to promote excellence and equity in education.

One of the most common explanations of the learning gap by migrant condition is deficit thinking in education. This refers to the understanding that foreign origin and minority students fail in school because their families experience deficiencies, such as lack of cultural resources, inadequate home socialization or limited intelligence, which obstruct students’ learning process (Valencia, 1997).

The funds of knowledge approach emerged in Tucson (Arizona, USA) to challenge this view. It assumes the premise that all students and families, regardless of their particular economic, linguistic, social and cultural background, are competent and have valuable knowledge and skills (González, Moll & Amanti, 2005). Thus, funds of knowledge are defined as those bodies of resources, expertise and skills acquired through social interaction that enable a household to function within a given socio-cultural context through everyday living (Moll, Amanti, Neff & González, 1992). For example, a particular family can accumulate several funds of knowledge that may include plurilingual competence, mathematical knowledge and interest in the arts due to their experiences and activities, such as a professional career. The challenge is to creatively link these funds of knowledge with the curriculum and school practice in order to improve learning (McIntyre, Rosebery & González, 2001). In doing so, teachers visit some students’ households in order to empirically document these skills and pedagogically use these particular funds of knowledge.

Although several studies and literature reviews have shown significant benefits of this approach in at least in three domains: a) improvement of academic performance, b) creation of relationships between teachers and families based on mutual trust, and c) educational innovation processes (González, Moll & Amanti, 2005; Hogg, 2011; Llopart & Esteban-Guitart, 2017, 2018; Llopart, Serra & Esteban-Guitart, 2018; McIntyre, Rosebery & González, 2001; Verdin, Godwin & Capobianco, 2016; Whyte & Carbon, 2016); some barriers and limitations of the funds of knowledge approach have been identified (Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014; Hogg, 2011; Zipin, 2009). Among others:

  • First, the implementation of the approach requires time. Indeed, the teacher cannot visit all of their students’ households. Thus, the approach is not universal; it only focuses on some of the students and families of the class.
  • Second, the focus of the approach is not the learner, rather families' repertoires of knowledge and abilities. In this regard, within a single family there are often continuities and discontinuities in terms of shared funds of knowledge. This implies that learners might not necessarily share funds of knowledge with their parents or other significant adults. In addition to this, learners, as socially active agents, build their own funds of knowledge and acquire others, distinct from those of their families. As a result of the process of building their own funds of knowledge based on experiences, abilities and interests, it becomes necessary to incorporate those into the equation together with the families’ funds of knowledge (Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014).
  • Finally, there is a methodological reduction. In short, to uncover students’ funds of knowledge only qualitative strategies and techniques are used, that is, open interviews in the context of household visits (Rios-Aguilar, Kiyama, Gravitt & Moll, 2011).

In order to offset some of these limitations, the “funds of identity” approach has been suggested (Esteban-Guitart, 2012, 2014, 2016; Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014; Jovés, Siqués & Esteban-Guitart, 2015; Ordoñez, Siqués & Esteban-Guitart, in press; Subero, Vujasinovic & Esteban-Guitart, 2017). The term “funds of identity” emphasizes students’ interests, practices and experiences through the incorporation of creative works made by the learner themselves —“identity artifacts” (Subero, Llopart, Siqués & Esteban-Guitart, 2018)— which become educational resources used by teachers in class to contextualize learning. By contextualization I am referring here to the linking of curriculum and school practice with students' out of school learning experiences in their homes and communities (Llopart & Esteban-Guitart, 2017; Silseth & Erstad, 2018).

The funds of identity approach has contributed to the funds of knowledge literature by overcoming some of the limitations described above:

  • In the first instance, it has suggested and used visual methodological resources to complement the traditional ethnographic approach based on interviews that teachers carry out with families (Esteban-Guitart, 2012). In this regard, it has developed the notion of identity artifacts, defined as documents or products created by the learners themselves, through which they may project their funds of identity (the people, spaces, objects, practices and institutions that are meaningful to them), which in turn can be used by the teacher for educational purposes (Subero, Llopart, Siqués & Esteban-Guitart, 2018).
  • In the second instance, the focus of analysis has been expanded from the household to the learner and their life contexts as perceived and experienced by the learners themselves.
  • Finally, the notion of funds of identity offers a methodological way of applying the approach to all students in a class, as opposed to just some of them as occurs with the funds of knowledge approach.

Nevertheless, some limitations and open questions have emerged (i.e., Poole & Huang, 2018). For example, the impact of educational interventions based on funds of identity on learning outcomes is unknown. Similarly, the way in which the development and educational application of the funds of identity theory can contribute to understanding and reducing the learning performance gap by migrant condition, has yet to be explored. In general, we seek to identify limits to the theory, critiques and responses to critiques, while also developing and advancing the core of the theory.

Thus, this special issue welcomes articles examining topics such as:

  • Transformative educational practice process, in general, and schooling, in particular, based on the funds of identity approach;
  • Critiquing and/or advancing the funds of knowledge and funds of identity: theory, methodology and applications;
  • Funds of identity in the digital age: new methods and new contexts;
  • Funds of identity and social justice, equity and cultural diversity; and
  • Funds of knowledge and identity, its limits, critiques and future.

We also invite contributions that deal with other related topics. We value papers establishing a dialogue between theory and practice, as well as both micro- and macro-level analysis. We are also interested in papers taking a critical stance toward funds of identity theory and methodology. Papers can focus on a variety of research contexts, such as schools and other educational organizations, after-school activities, university-school collaboration, museums, libraries, and other learning contexts across settings and time.

Tentative Timeline

  • Abstracts to guest editor by March 15, 2019 (max. 500 words, excluding the list of references). Contributors should submit abstracts of their paper proposal to moises.esteban@udg.edu as an email attachment (word doc. files only). Please indicate in the subject line of your email: “Submission for the Special Issue of MCA”
  • Notification of abstract acceptance and invitation to submit full paper by March 28, 2019
  • Deadline for submission of accepted full papers: September 1, 2019 (up to 8.000 words, including references). When preparing the full paper, please view the instructions for authors.
  • First round of reviews: between September and October 2019. The authors will receive feedback on their papers by November 1, 2019.
  • Revised manuscripts should be submitted to the guest editor by January 31, 2020
  • Second round of reviews: February 2020. Reviews will be conducted by the same reviewers who did the first round of reviews, and in addition an independent MCA reviewer . The authors will receive feedback on their papers by March 15, 2020.
  • Final versions of the papers must be submitted to MCA online by May 1, 2020.
  • Expected date of publication of the special issue: June 2020. 

Guest editor:

Moisès Esteban-Guitart, Institute of Educational Research, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Girona, Spain.

MCA editor-in-chief:

Julian Williams, MIE, University of Manchester, U.K.

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Mind, Culture, and Activity

Table of Contents for Mind, Culture, and Activity. List of articles from both the latest and ahead of print issues.

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

Visit Journal Articles


Esteban-Guitart, M. (2012). Towards a multimethodological approach to identification of funds of identity, small stories and master narratives. Narrative Inquiry, 22(1), 173-180. doi: 10.1075/ni.22.1.12est

Esteban-Guitart, M. (2014). Funds of identity. In T. Teo (Ed.), Encyclopedia of critical psychology (pp. 752-757). New York: Springer.

Esteban-Guitart, M. (2016). Funds of identity: Connecting meaningful learning experiences in and out of school. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Esteban-Guitart, M., & Moll, L. (2014). Funds of identity: A new concept based on funds of knowledge approach. Culture & Psychology, 20(1), 31-48. doi: 10.1177/1354067X13515934

González, N., Moll, L.C., & Amanti, C. (Eds.). (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hogg, L. (2011). Funds of knowledge: An investigation of coherence within the literature. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 666–677. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2010.11.005

Jovés, P., Siqués, C., & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2015). The incorporation of funds of knowledge and funds of identity of students and their families into educational practice. A case study from Catalonia, Spain. Teaching and Teacher Education, 49, 68–77. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2015.03.001

Llopart, M. & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2017). Strategies and resources for contextualizing the curriculum based on the funds of knowledge approach: A literature review. The Australian Educational Researcher, 44(3), 255-274. doi: 10.1007/s13384-017-0237-8

Llopart, M. & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2018). Funds of knowledge in 21st century societies: Inclusive educational practices for under-represented students. A literature review. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 50(2), 145-161. doi: 10.1080/00220272.2016.1247913

Llopart, M., Serra, J. M., & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2018). Teachers’ perceptions of the benefits, limitations, and areas for improvement of the funds of knowledge approach. A qualitative study. Teachers and Teaching. Theory and Practice, 24(5), 571-583. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2018.1452729

McIntyre, E., Rosebery, A., & González, N. (2001). Connecting curriculum to students’ lives. Porstmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & González, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(2), 132-141. doi: 10.1080/00405849209543534.

OECD (2016). PISA 2015 Results (Volume I): Excellence and Equity in Education. Paris: OECD Publishing.

OECD (2018). The Resilience of students with an immigrant background: Factors that shape well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Ordoñez, D., Siqués, C. & Esteban-Guitart, M. (in press). The best way to learn language is by not doing language. Incorporating funds of identity for learning spanish in a shared education unit. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. doi: 10.1080/1367005.2018.1551324

Poole, A. & Huang, J. Y. (2018). Resituating funds of identity within contemporary interpretations of perezhivanie. Mind, Culture and Activity, 25(2), 125-137. doi: 10.1080/10749039.2018.1434799

Rios-Aguilar, C., Kiyama, J., Gravitt, M. & Moll, L. (2011). 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, 9(2), 163-184. doi: 10.1177/1477878511409776

Subero, D., Vujasinovic, E. & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2017). Mobilising funds of identity in and out of school. Cambridge Journal of Education, 47(2), 247-263. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2016.1148116

Silseth, K. & Erstad, O. (2018). Connecting to the outside: Cultural resources teachers use when contextualizing instruction. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 17, 56-68. doi: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2017.12.002

Subero, D., Llopart, M., Siqués, C., & Esteban-Guitart, M. (2018). The mediation of teaching and learning processes through identity artefacts. A Vygotskian perspective. Oxford Review of Education, 44(2), 156-170. doi: 10.1080/03054985.2017.1352501

Valencia, R. R. (Ed.) (1997). The Evolution of deficit thinking: Educational thought and practice. London and New York: Routledge.

Verdin, D., Godwin, A. & Capobianco, B. (2016). Systematic review of the funds of knowledge framework in STEM education. School of Engineering Education Graduate Series, 59, 3–24.

Whyte, K., & Karabon, A. (2016). Transforming teacher-family relationships: Shifting roles and perceptions of home visits through the funds of knowledge approach. Early Years. An International Journal, 36(2), 207–221. doi:10.1080/09575146.2016.1139546

Zipin, L. (2009). Dark funds of knowledge, deep funds of pedagogy: Exploring boundaries between lifeworlds and schools. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30(3), 317-331. doi: 10.1080/01596300903037044

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