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Oct 4, 2016 |
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Dr. Blaire Willson Toso, Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University, shares what Families Learning Summit attendees can expect from featured researcher Dr. Luis Moll.  ncfls16-blog2 luis-mollDr. Luis Moll, a professor (emeritus) at the University of Arizona, has been working with parents, children, and teachers since 1978. He is well-known for his collaborative research with teachers to learn more about families’ strengths and how this knowledge can be used to inform practice and engage families in the classroom. Funds of knowledge refers to the fact that each person brings important knowledge to the table. His work has been important in helping us to intentionally recognize the learning and experiences that a person contributes; a vital concept when working with adults and children that are marginalized or stand outside of mainstream concepts of being literate. Because his work has been carried out in school settings it is particularly valuable to teachers and administrators as they initiate family engagement plans. In a recent conversation with Dr. Moll we talked about his groundbreaking work. Here are a few central points from the conversation. Teachers are vital to the research. Teachers have been vital to Dr. Moll’s funds of knowledge research. His research has used families’ homes as a context for his research. Families have welcomed him and his research team into their homes, he says this is due to the teachers. When asked about this he responded, “Teachers are considered honored guests from the school.” He went on to point out another way in which they are essential to his work, “if there are no teachers, it limits the learning”—they are the ones who provide pedagogical insights and translate what they learn into classroom practice. Initially, when Dr. Moll started doing research with teachers and families, the research was led by the researchers and teachers did not collect first-hand data on household life. However, after conducting the first study, the team realized that teachers were set apart from the families from whom they were supposed to learn. In the next study, teachers became co-researchers; they led the household interviews and observations and then participated in study groups to discuss what was learned. Through this process teachers began to focus on the families’ strengths and assets; they also began to think about what they were learning from the families and how it could inform their daily teaching and instructional activities. Two other outcomes that are also important to family literacy practitioners are that through this process teachers created bridges between families, schools, and classrooms and families became seen as an asset, as important resources for the classroom. International Work with the Funds of Knowledge Concept. Dr. Moll is currently editing a book on studies being undertaken outside the United States. Each of these studies continues to draw on funds of knowledge, wherein researchers seek to understand how the experiences and knowledge are used by families to live robust lives in difficult circumstances. These studies push the boundaries of what is determined as knowledge and concepts of family. One study he described to me (by Kendrick & Kakuru, 2012) explores how Ugandan youth, who become heads of household after losing their parents to AIDS, access resources and help keep their families intact. Dr. Moll will be presenting an interactive session on Funds of Knowledge at the NCFL 2016 Summit on Tuesday, October 18, at 11:00am (Marquette B) The Translocation of Funds of Knowledge: Innovations in Theory, Methods, and Practices: This session provides an overview of the “funds of knowledge” approach to culture and education. Three aspects of this work are emphasized and a brief video of a household visit illustrates the dynamics of the approach. Attendees will learn how the approach has been elaborated, modified, or applied not only in the US but also in four different cultural settings— Spain, South Africa, Uganda, and New Zealand.  


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

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