Students whose actions don’t meet eachers’ expectations might be operating with a different fund of knowledge.
“Why Is That
Child So Rude?”
Beth Lindsay Templeton
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 experi-
ences as part of our particular family,
school, socioeconomic group, race or
ethnicity, age, gender, geographical
area, and religious affiliation. 1 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 hos-
pital used to be,” a long-time resident
will know exactly where to turn, but a
newcomer will not.
© ALEXANDER TRINITATOV/SHUTTERSTOCK
Let’s go back to the questions and statements at the beginning of this article
and consider the different funds of
knowledge that might be at work.
Why is that child so rude?
Tawanda has a hard time listening when
the teacher is presenting information.
No matter how many times the teacher
asks her to wait, Tawanda blurts out
questions or comments without raising
her hand. The teacher tries ignoring the
outbursts, but that just seems to make
the interruptions even more frequent
and loud. The teacher’s frustration
makes it hard for her to interact with
Is Tawanda really rude? She may live
in an overcrowded household where
she learned that to be noticed, she has
to speak loud and interrupt. When she