Filling in the Gaps: Lessons Learned From Preservice Teachers’ Partnerships With First Nations Students

Lynne V. Wiltse


In this paper, I report on a school-university collaborative research project that examined ways to merge the out-of-school literacy resources with school literacy practices for First Nations students in a small city in Western Canada. The project involved three interconnected groups of research participants: (a) a teacher researcher study group; (b) students from the participating teachers’ classes; (c) preservice teachers who were partnered with the students in literacy partnerships. Grounded in a “funds of knowledge” perspective, and utilizing ethnographic research methods, this qualitative study explored how students’ linguistic and cultural resources from home and community networks were utilized to reshape school literacy practices through their involvement in the Heritage Fair Program. This paper focuses on select lessons the preservice teachers learned through their partnerships with the First Nations students. Study findings suggest that the collaboration increased preservice teachers’ understanding of how Aboriginal culture could contribute to more successful teaching practices.


funds of knowledge; preservice teachers; literacy practices; racism

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