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Teachers’ funds of knowledge: a challenge to evidence-based practice

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The spontaneous nature of much early childhood teaching makes it vital to understand the range of knowledge that teachers draw on in their curricular and pedagogical decision-making. Hammersley argued that teaching practice cannot be based directly on research evidence because it needs to be filtered through teachers’ experiences and understandings. Models of professional knowledge have rarely highlighted teachers’ personal knowledge. Drawing on an interpretivist study that investigated children’s interests as a foundation for curriculum and pedagogy in New Zealand, this paper supports Hammersley’s argument and proposes that the concept of teachers’ funds of knowledge has the potential to explain aspects of teachers’ knowledge. The paper argues that such informal knowledge, gained from life experience, is a primary influence and likely to be prioritised over theory and research in teachers’ pedagogical decision-making in early childhood education. Some implications of this argument for teacher education and teachers’ professional learning are suggested.

Keywords: early childhood education; evidence-based practice; evidence-informed practice; funds of knowledge; teacher knowledge

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Teaching, Learning and Development, Faculty of Education,The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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