Intersections of Mother Tongue-Based Instruction, Funds of Knowledge, Identity, and Social Capital in an Ugandan Pre-School Classroom

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This article reports on a collaborative action research project, conducted in a pre-primary school in South Central Uganda, which explores the opportunities for children to draw upon and integrate their home and community-based knowledge and experiences through mother tongue (MT) instruction and resources. We use the funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992), language and identity (Norton, 2000, 2013), and social capital (Bourdieu, 1984; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) theoretical perspectives to consider how MT pedagogical approaches that acknowledge the value of children’s MT and prior life experiences support young children’s learning and the development of their identities as learners. Findings indicate MT-based instruction engaged and supported the cultivation of children’s funds of knowledge, identity, and social capital related to home and community relationships, resources and practices, classroom learning communities, bilingual development, and agency and empowerment.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Language, Identity & Education