Aug. 3, 2015
Dr. Hsiao-Chin Kuo, assistant professor of literacy studies, presented a poster session at the International Association’s Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri in July 2015. The title of her poster was “Empowering Teachers and Learners of Diversity: Funds of Knowledge, Literacy as a Social Practices, Critical Consciousness.”
The poster outlines a cross-cultural study that sought understanding of literacy practices and funds of knowledge of households in a Romani community. During the course of the research project, the Dr. Kuo re-shaped her knowledge about the Romani people, who were also commonly known as Gypsies. More importantly, the project brought forward critical consciousness, which not only transformed Dr. Kuo’s perspectives, but also empowered the underprivileged, the Romani households in this case.
Crespo, Pallí, and Lalueza (2002) in their article, Moving communities: a process of negotiation with a Gypsy minority for empowerment, described such transformational process in that “…the more we knew about some aspects of Gypsy family life, the more impoverished our ‘Western model’ seemed to be. This is not an abstract reflection: we could experience those contradictions on returning home after spending an afternoon with them” (p. 57).
At the poster session, the Dr. Kuo used this research project as an example to share her transformational journey and thus created a space for critical and reflexive dialogues among literacy educators and researchers. With this presentation, Dr. Kuo hopes to empower both teachers and learners by viewing linguistic and cultural diversity as a strength for teaching.