Students whose actions don’t meet teachers’ expectations might be operating with a different fund of knowledge.
Why is that child so rude? Why does that mother let her daughter come to school dressed like that? Why doesn’t he ever do his homework? That child is so lazy that he sleeps in class every day!
Over the course of my 30-year career, I’ve heard many comments like these from teachers. Comments like these often indicate a gap in our fund of knowledge—those “facts” that seem like common sense to us. We each have a distinct fund of knowledge that draws on what we’ve learned from life experiences as part of our particular family, school, socioeconomic group, race or ethnicity, age, gender, geographical area, and religious affiliation. For example, people who have lived in a particular community their entire lives will have a different fund of knowledge from newcomers. If someone says, “Turn at the intersection where the hospital used to be,” a long-time resident will know exactly where to turn, but a newcomer will not.