The common and the public in teaching practices from the community funds of knowledge and identity approach1

Lo común y lo público en las prácticas de enseñanza desde la perspectiva de los fondos comunitarios de conocimiento e identidad

DOI: 10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2022-395-518

Moises Esteban-Guitart

Edgar Iglesias

Universitat de Girona

José Luis Lalueza

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Montserrat Palma

Universitat de Girona


This article defends the principle according to which the common and the public in teaching practices require participatory processes, based on co-responsibility and co-design, between different resources, services, organizations and social, community and educational agents. The idea of community funds of knowledge and identity refers to culturally developed educational opportunities, accumulated over a period of time and socially distributed and mediated for the functioning, well-being, singularization and development of a region. Within the framework of diverse and well-positioned local educational ecosystems, this idea is illustrated from the theoretical-practical analysis of four example projects: the archaeological site of Soses (Ibéro de Gebut, Lleida), the web page, involvement in the arts by a primary school and, finally, a youth radio project to redefine relations between an institute-school and the Bon Pastor neighbourhood in Barcelona. The experiences analysed are presented as a hybrid between innovation and research, since they are oriented towards goals previously defined by the educational agents of the community (outside the school) consistent with their interests. At the same time, they are models that can be evaluated for the research in the context of their application. We conclude that certain characteristics and conditions favour the projects and educational experiences analysed. Among these, we noted that co-participation and co-design processes are necessary, which entails recognizing the set of educational opportunities, both inside and outside the school. That is, learning throughout life. Also, its experiential base, since these types of educational practices are characterized by acting, doing and experimenting, configuring a broad learning system in constant development.

Key words: community education, education and culture, school community relationship, funds of knowledge, funds of identity.


En este artículo se defiende la tesis según la cual lo común y lo público en las prácticas de enseñanza requiere de procesos participativos, basados en la corresponsabilidad y el codiseño, entre distintos recursos, servicios, organizaciones y agentes sociales, comunitarios y educativos. Se sugiere la noción de fondos comunitarios de conocimiento e identidad para hacer referencia a oportunidades educativas culturalmente desarrolladas, históricamente acumuladas y socialmente distribuidas y mediadas para el funcionamiento, bienestar, singularización y desarrollo de una determinada región. En el marco de ecosistemas educativos locales diversos y situados, se ilustra dicha noción a partir del análisis teórico–práctico de cuatro ejemplos-proyectos: el yacimiento arqueológico de Soses (Poblado Ibéro de Gebut, Lleida), la página web “”, la intervención artística de un centro público de educación infantil y primaria y, finalmente, un proyecto de radio juvenil en la redefinición de las relaciones entre un instituto-escuela y el barrio del Bon Pastor en Barcelona. Las experiencias analizadas se presentan como un híbrido entre la innovación y la investigación, puesto que se orientan a fines previamente definidos por los agentes educativos de la comunidad (más allá de la escuela) en coherencia a sus intereses. Al mismo tiempo son modelos evaluables para la investigación en su contexto de aplicación. Se concluye considerando ciertas características y condiciones favorables al desarrollo de los proyectos y experiencias educativas analizadas. Entre otras, se señala que se requiere de procesos de coparticipación y codiseño, lo que conlleva reconocer el conjunto de oportunidades educativas, tanto dentro como fuera de la escuela. Es decir, aprender a lo largo y ancho de la vida. También, su base experiencial, ya que este tipo de prácticas educativas se caracterizan por el actuar, hacer y experimentar, configurando un sistema de aprendizaje amplio en constante desarrollo.

Palabras clave: educación comunitaria, educación y cultura, relación escuela–comunidad, fondos de conocimiento, fondos de identidad.


Traditionally, it is the school that has been entrusted with the dual mission of equipping people with those intellectual, social, affective and cultural artefacts – such as language, mathematics, science or the arts –that will allow them to be incorporated into human groups (socialization function), as well as developing biographical life projects (individualization function) (Bruner, 1997; Coll, 2004; Vila & Esteban-Guitart, 2017). In reality, we can distinguish a dual purpose linked to learning how to be and learning where to be. By learning how to be, we refer to the contribution in the profession of learning, the identity of a learner, that is, the recognition we have of ourselves as learners, and the ability to develop ourselves in teaching and learning situations (Coll & Falsafi, 2010; Engel & Coll, 2021). While by learning where to be, we refer to the ability to function in solidarity and critically in the public-private sphere of human life (Grau, 2020). That is to say and, in short, the promotion of learning with meaning and personal and social value that lead people to understand each other, and understand, evaluate and intervene critically and competently in the environment, in a broad sense: personal, social and cultural, as well as present, past and future (Coll et al., 2020; Gee & Esteban-Guitart, 2019; Grau, 2020).

The thesis that we defend in this article is that this double mission requires confronting the school practice, and the learner in it, in real life situations, which extend the boundaries of the times and school educational spaces, to incorporate – in alliances based in collaboration, participation and shared responsibility – the public sphere in the construction of common goods. In other words, it is necessary to extend the vision that has traditionally encapsulated learning and the educational phenomenon to the school institution, being as it is a totally necessary agent, to assume the situated, distributed and potentially connected character of both educational practices and educational practices, as well as the learning processes (Iglesias et al., 2020).

In this sense, we defend the need to incorporate other areas of life, social and community contexts, in school practice based on processes of co-responsibility and co-design. This leads us to the notion of “local educational ecosystems” (Plana, 2018) as spaces where it is possible to articulate shared, common spaces in teaching and learning. Local educational ecosystem being understood as the creation of a participatory network or alliance that incorporates different actors, services, equipment, resources and social, community and educational opportunities to identify learning needs, as well as to jointly develop educational actions. This approach is in tune with the distinction of ecosystems proposed by Hannon et al. (2019) since ecosystems focused on the generation of learning are configured from the participation of educational centres and other organizations, adopting different formulas and creating new learning opportunities. As elements that guide their analysis (Iglesias & Esteban-Guitart, 2020), it is important to pay attention, among other things, to their diversity, since they are built and developed from multiple agents, profiles and roles; its governance since educational resources must be distributed; or to its flexibility, since the framework of action is unique depending on the students, educational centres or organizations in the environment. In short, in this article we defend and illustrate the fact that teaching practices constitute a substantial contribution to the construction of common goods to the extent that they are capable of articulating bonds of trust, exchange and collaboration with other services, agents and social and community actors in relation to a shared project, asset, or artefact.

In particular, in this article we suggest the concept of community funds of knowledge and identity to incorporate the common and the public in school teaching and learning practices, in the more general methodological framework of the creation of local educational ecosystems. After presenting the concept, we illustrate it with regard to four examples that will allow us, at the same time, to suggest some conclusions regarding the characteristics and conditions of possibility and sustainability of educational practices such as those presented here. These case examples have been selected based on the following two criteria. In the first place, they empirically illustrate the notion of a local educational ecosystem based on the participation in a common project by different agents, actors and social, educational and community services. Second, they are articulated around the same artefact, project or common good, which supposes a particular community fund of knowledge and identity, such as a particular natural, archaeological, and cultural heritage.

From funds of knowledge to community funds of knowledge and identity

The sociocultural approach to funds of knowledge was initially developed in Tucson, Arizona (USA), in order to propose both a theory and a methodology from which teachers can document the knowledge and skills of the families of their students to represent and recognize themselves as competent (Moll et al., 1992). In this sense, funds of knowledge are understood to be: “the culturally developed and historically accumulated bodies of knowledge and skills essential for the functioning and well-being of the family or individual” (Moll, 1997, p. 47).

The purpose is to dismantle the perspective of the deficit according to which certain students, and families, would supposedly be characterized by a host of social, economic, intellectual, linguistic, etc. deficiencies. On the contrary, it is argued that all families, beyond their diversity and varied casuistry, have strengths, skills and knowledge. The challenge consists in documenting them empirically and linking them to the curriculum and pedagogical practice of teaching and learning (Esteban-Guitart & Saubich, 2013; González et al., 2005; Lorenzo et al., 2020; Llopart & Esteban-Guitart, 2018).

For this purpose, a study group was organized. This group comprised university professors and researchers who acted as a scaffold for the entire process of implementation of the approach (Esteban-Guitart et al., 2018). At first, a phase of training and familiarization with the concept and practice of knowledge funds was developed. Subsequently, a methodological phase was undertaken to carry out visits to the students’ homes to identify their funds of knowledge. It is considered that visits to the students’ homes are practices that allow the approach, assessment and the acquisition of knowledge regarding the life context of the student and their family. Transcending the traditional tutorials as the only way of a teacher-family exchange that normally is reduced to superficial exchanges linked to the student’s school performance, with on the other hand, power relations very marked by the educational-school institution (Rodriguez, 2013). On the contrary, it is argued that it is necessary to establish bonds of mutual trust with families through knowledge and recognition of their particular social, historical and cultural conditions of life. Additionally, the home is conceptualized, anthropologically, as a testimony and a distributed artefact of the knowledge, skills, relationships and significant practices of the family (Llopart et al., 2017). The objective of the visits is in no case to judge or evaluate, but rather to identify significant practices and experiences in the life of the family unit – competences and activities related to gardening, repair, religion, medicine, multilingual competence, etc. –To incorporate and link them to pedagogical and curricular practice.

Finally, in the context of the study group, considered a community of practice (Esteban-Guitart et al., 2018), it is discussed the way to link teaching practice and pedagogical and curricular objectives with the funds of knowledge identified through the visits made (Llopart et al., 2017). For example, after identifying funds of knowledge linked to the care of farm animals, a transversal activity was designed, in primary education, that incorporated linguistic objectives –through multilingual texts according to the different mother tongues of the students and families–, as well as linked to biological sciences. In particular the classification of animals according to what they eat, the ability to differentiate between oviparous and viviparous animals, or to discover the benefits and products obtained from farm animals. This activity incorporated, among other actions, a visit to a farm where one of the students’ parents worked (Jovés et al., 2015). In another example, after identifying oral tradition as a fund of knowledge in Punjabi Sikh families in an elementary school in Canada, the same students documented stories about the lives of their grandparents and grandmothers in India to turn them into picture books used as pedagogical and cultural resources by teachers in the school context (Marshall & Toohey, 2010).

Different evaluations show benefits derived from the implementation of this approach in improving school performance, based on more contextualized and meaningful learning; a better understanding of the living conditions and experiences of students and their families, as well as the improvement of family-school relations, as the most outstanding aspects (Llopart et al., 2018; Volman & Gilde, 2021; Whyte & Karabon, 2016). However, despite its vocation and community orientation (Moll, 2019), the approach has basically been reduced to the scope of the skills, relationships and knowledge available in the different families. Here we suggest an expansion of this framework to incorporate resources, services, equipment and social and community agents considered as funds of knowledge and identity (see Table 1).

We assume, in fact, a link between knowing and being in the sense that learning entails an identity transformation (Gee & Esteban-Guitart, 2019; Esteban-Guitart, 2021; Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014; Ligorio, 2010). That is, a person becomes more capable of carrying out a certain action, for example “becoming a teacher” and, at the same time, acquires or constructs certain positions and identity discourses linked to said profession, “identifies himself or herself as a teacher” in a certain way. That is why we speak of funds of knowledge, as well as funds of identity, as they are part of the same learning process (Esteban-Guitart, 2012; Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014, Esteban-Guitart & Saubich, 2013).

TABLE 1. Comparison of funds of knowledge and community funds of knowledge and identity

Funds of knowledge


Community funds of knowledge and identity



Repertoire of cultural and intellectual resources (skills, ideas, knowledge) that a family has, accumulates and uses to maintain its well-being, development and quality of life.

Resources in the family environment

Geographical-cultural spaces, physical-symbolic artefacts, social and community organizations, agents or institutions that through networking with schools become educational opportunities and resources for teaching and learning.

Resources at the community level

Unit of analysis

The home: the family and its social relationships, practices and experiences.


The community composed of the different organizations and agents of a social, educational or cultural nature in the territory.


Identification and intervention

Ethnographic analysis of the students’ home through visits made by teachers. Linking the curriculum and teaching with the resources, knowledge and skills of the students’ families.

Ethnographic visits at home for their curricular contextualization.

Community mapping to identify educational practices, agents, resources and opportunities in the territory. Creation of an educational alliance (community educational ecosystem) to jointly design and implement educational projects.

Community mapping of assets for the development of online educational projects.

Source: Own production

On the other hand, we distinguish among the community funds of knowledge and identity, the reference to geographical-cultural spaces, physical-symbolic artifacts, social organizations or institutions and community actors or agents. The four aspects may be linked in the same reality. For example, the mountain of Montserrat, in the Bages region, province of Barcelona (Catalunya), simultaneously houses a culturally configured geographical space, a social institution linked to the Catholic Church (the Monastery of Montserrat), with different devices and artefacts (for example the Virgin of Montserrat, popularly known as “la Moreneta”), as well as a human landscape configured by the local people, for example the “Escolanía”, one of the oldest children’s choirs in Europe. From the perspective of the community funds of knowledge and identity, this place can be considered as a potential resource, as well as a source of competencies and knowledge, as well as narratives of discourse and identity. However, for this fund of community knowledge and identity to be considered an educational artefact, it needs to be placed within the design and development of what we have previously described as a local educational ecosystem. That is, the alliance and coordination of different actors, services and facilities (school, town hall, families, etc.) to design interdependent educational actions in coherence with a common educational project. In this sense, below, we present four illustrative examples selected from the two criteria set out above.

Example 1: The Ibéro de Gebut Village (Soses, Lleida) as a community funds of knowledge and identity

In 2017, the Jaume Miret school (Soses, Lleida), a public centre for infant and primary education, had a change in management with the aim of developing an educational transformation project towards linking learning environments inside and outside the school centre. This situation coincided at the same time as the excavation work at the Gebut archaeological site, located near the school and led by the “Grupo de Investigación Prehistórica” (Prehistoric Research Group) (GIP) of the University of Lleida. These are the remains of a settlement of the Ilergetes, one of the populations that were part of the Iberian culture during the second half of the 1st millennium BC. In particular, the Iberian settlement of Gebut is estimated to date back to the middle of the 7th century BC.

From this archaeological heritage, a transversal educational project was carried out in which the “Centro de Recursos Pedagógicos del Segrià” (Segrià Pedagogical Resources Centre) was incorporated. This centre belongs to the Department of Education of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Municipality of Soses, the families of the educational centre, and the Museum of the city of Lleida. In particular, during the 2017-2018 academic year the project was titled “Discovering Gebut” and aimed to explore the Iberian civilization from different teaching and learning activities that included a visit to the Museum of Lleida, stimulated by an educator, as well as to the site itself, conducted by the archaeological team from the University research group (see Figure 2). With the collaboration between teachers and families, different training activities related to the life of the Iberians were carried out, such as a workshop on tagine cuisine, an exhibition of ancient objects or a mythological hunt with clues. It is interesting to mention that one of the workshops was stimulated by students from the Ilerna vocational training centre in Lleida, with a video game that they designed related to the Iberian world.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the project focused on the exploration in the classroom of different artefacts found at the site, linking them with modern-day objects and thus working on their historical evolution. The grand finale of the project took place in a fair in a street of the municipality, where the work carried out during the course and the achievements and learning achieved was shared with the school population, teachers and the archaeological team of the university, together with families and the general neighbourhood. Another of the activities carried out consisted of the collection of toys for the benefit of a local social organization in a show of solidarity by the infant students. Finally, during the 2019-2020 academic year, the focus was on the role of women throughout history and their link to women in the municipality (Roca, 2020).

IMAGE I. Visit by the students from the Jaume Miret de Soses school to the Gebut archaeological site


As a whole, the different activities help gain knowledge of the cultural heritage through the recovery and diffusion of traditions and their own identity; working on different cultural identifications and their historical evolution, as well as incorporating activities to recognize the origin and competencies of the different families in the educational centre. As summarized by the school director, the project allows “networking with different educational agents in the environment, with the common purpose of improving learning opportunities for all students” (Roca, 2020, p. 69).

Example 2: “Active little ones”. Socially and digitally mediated teaching

The website emerged in the last semester of the 2019-2020 academic year in the situation of home confinement due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is a digital environment that offers different activities and educational support for the infant, primary and secondary education.

This page is accompanied by different links, to the Arnau Berenguer school and the association of families of the Palau d’Anglesola educational centre, as well as the Instagram channel @petitsjovesactius in which the different activities related to the cultural, artistic and cooking fields are disseminated and crafts, as well as examples of productions, of the apprentices and agents involved (see Image 2). In addition, the website gives visibility to both the volunteers, participating entities, as well as the “Talent Show” activity aimed at recognizing the capacities and competencies of the school population.

IMAGE 2. Screenshot of the project website


Specifically, this project arises from the community organization “Voluntariado del Palau - Pequeños Jóvenes Activos” with the collaboration of the teaching staff of the Arnau Berenguer infant and primary school (Palau d’Anglesola, Lleida, Catalunya), its parents’ association, as well as the collaboration of different entities and agents in the territory that offered different educational activities in the nine weeks when the harshest and most restrictive confinement took place. Specifically, different dynamic, recreational activities were proposed on the website daily, adapted to each educational level, with a leading role for children, with materials that they could easily find at home. Weekly, both municipal entities and the school cook proposed activities. Some of the organizations and social, educational and community actors that participated in this initiative were, among others, the women’s association of Palau d’Anglesola, different local artists, the Friends of the (Pilgrim’s) Way Association or the senior citizen’s residence “Ca la Cileta”.

Example 3: The contextualization of learning spaces. Art as a pedagogical device

The initiative “We link the inside and outside through art” was born in the Arc d’Adà public school, in the municipality of Llardecans (Lleida), with a population of 451 inhabitants. Together with the city council and the community, an educational cross-sectional project was planned and implemented in order to combat the depopulation of the municipality through a process of transforming the school. The project began with the incorporation of the local artist Lara Costafreda, a former student of the school, who painted both its façade and the town’s nursery (see Figure 3).

IMAGE 3. Detail of one of the elements of the school painted by the artist Lara Costafreda


These paintings are intended to represent identitary elements that are shared, both by the school and by the municipality; hence the theme of the rural environment and the characteristic flora and fauna of the area. In addition, these murals become a pedagogical, interactive “blackboard” to work on content and skills linked to different learning objectives. In this sense, it should be noted that after observing the paintings, natural environment content was pedagogically worked on. For example, the identification, description and analysis of animals and flora in the area. Later, different extension activities were carried out, such as a representation in watercolours of the paintings, painted by the boys and girls in art classes; an interview with the author about defining creativity, with a subsequent t-shirt printing workshop; an explanation by the students from more advanced courses of the characteristics of the animals represented in the murals, or a visit to an exhibition organized by the town council of a local author entitled “readings and textures”.

Example 4: Youth Radio in rebuilding the relationship between school and neighbourhood

The Bernat de Boïl public nursery and primary school, in the Bon Pastor neighbourhood of Barcelona, was considered for two decades to be a “highly complex” centre that almost exclusively accommodated students from minority groups and in many cases belonging to families with a high risk of social exclusion. Stigmatized as a segregated centre, the local families and “payas” (n.t. this is a derogatory term used by Gypsies to denote those not of their ethnic kind) of the neighbourhood chose to enrol their children in a subsidized centre or to look for more public centres further away. This stigma was even greater for the institute located on the same street, with just one class per year and limited to “ESO” (lower secondary education), where the failure and dropout rates were among the highest in the city. In 2017, the school authorities agreed to close the secondary school and convert the infant and primary education centre into the El Til·ler primary and secondary school, ranging from three year-olds to 16 year-olds, and seeking to consolidate the relationships that were established between the school, the school population and their families, as a basis to ensure continuity until the end of compulsory education. The teaching team took advantage of this organizational change to promote a new course aimed at ending the stigma and offering the neighbourhood a quality educational proposal, with a special emphasis on the work of art and music education, project-based teaching and openness to the network of social, educational and cultural entities in the area.

The first year of primary-secondary school began its journey with a 1st year at secondary level in which the new methods were tested. One of the experiences consisted of a Youth Radio project that was aimed at establishing new relationships between the primary-secondary school and its surroundings, the Bon Pastor neighbourhood, and was based on collaboration with a great diversity of agents (Lamas & Lalueza, 2012; Lamas et al., 2020). The project was based on the collaboration of secondary students with university students studying Psychology, Journalism and Audio-visual Communication through a Service Learning program. After investigating the identitary links between the school population and their environment, they went out to interview the neighbourhood on the street and neighbourhood shops. The civic centre made a radio studio available to them where they conducted interviews and recorded audios and videos, which they later posted on Instagram, publicising them through their families. There were also “international correspondents”, a group of the same age in a small town in the state of Colorado in the USA, who were carrying out a similar program. Student products were shared in the respective classrooms via links on Instagram, the blog page, or the website, projecting onto a large screen and allowing the students themselves to engage in a synchronous, often animated dialogue that included singing, dancing and sharing music. In several cases, viewing the radio production from the other location instigated a new production by the other group in response. This happened, for example, when Colorado students saw radio advertisements from their peers in Barcelona, in connection with a campaign to recycle bicycles. Colorado students responded by creating a radio ad in Spanish in support of the students’ bike campaign that was in turn shared with the Barcelona group and posted on the school’s Instagram account (Walker et al., 2021). Finally, some of the videos produced within the framework of the project were screened at the local Library, in an open event that took the form of a popular festival.

Discussion and conclusions

The four examples presented here allow us to illustrate both the notion of community funds of knowledge and identity, as well as the design of local educational ecosystems within the framework of expanded experiences of school teaching and learning. In the case of Soses, the site – the Iberian town of Gebut – becomes a geographical, historical and cultural space that extends the school teaching-learning processes through the participation of other organizations and agents such as the research group of the University of Lleida, the City Council of the municipality or the Museum of Lleida. In this case, the local educational ecosystem is configured and built from the participation of the educational centre, the parents’ association, the council itself, the Museum, the university’s research group, as well as the Segrià Pedagogical Resource Centre. At the same time, historical and cultural heritage becomes an identitary element of the community, as well as a learning vehicle linked to the historical evolution of the area. In this sense, the site is considered a fund of community knowledge and identity as it is pedagogically used through the transversal project designed by the aforementioned local educational ecosystem.

In reference to the “Pequeños Jóvenes Activos” (Active Young Ones) web project, the municipality’s volunteers, together with the school, the parents’ association, and different entities and agents of the territory collaborate in a shared space, together with the boys and girls, with the purpose of offering different recreational and educational activities in times of confinement derived from the COVID-19 pandemic. The website itself, as a node of resources and experiences, is considered a fund of community knowledge and identity at the service of students and their families. Here, the local educational ecosystem incorporates, in addition to volunteers, the educational centre, families as well as the different entities and organizations of the municipality.

In the example of the municipality of Llardecans, part of the school’s physical geography becomes a mural or pedagogical blackboard in which agents of the territory participate (specifically the local artist Lara Costafreda) to contextualize the educational centre, and link it with the community to through contents related to the animals and fauna of the territory. Different objectives and curricular competencies are established (creativity, knowledge of the natural environment) and the building, in its intervention and in its pedagogical use, becomes a fund of community knowledge and identity. On the one hand, knowledge and skills related to the plastic arts or natural sciences are promoted. On the other hand, shared identitary representations and discourses that are linked to the natural environment of the local context are promoted. Again, the use and educational and pedagogical scaffolding is undertaken through a transversal project that incorporates the students themselves, the local artist, the teaching staff, as well as the council itself.

Finally, through the Youth Radio project, it is evident how an educational centre redefines its relationship with its surroundings, specifically with the neighbourhood to which its students belong, since it is constituted as a community fund of local knowledge. So, students are connected with their daily environment and the people who inhabit it, in such a way that their own vital context is situated as an object of study, at the same time that inter-institutional alliances are established with the university, the civic centre and the library. In addition, the ecosystem expands through the “translocal” connection, the interaction between two local projects, distant from each other, but capable of generating interdependence and growth logics.

Therefore, the fundamental thesis that underlies this article, and that is illustrated from the notion of community funds of knowledge and identity, proposed here, as well as the four illustrative examples, is that the common and the public are incorporated and at the same time cogenerate in teaching practice stemming from community articulation. The archaeological site of Gebut, the website “”, the artistic intervention at the Arc d’Adà school building and the Youth Radio of the El Til·ler primary secondary school become common goods to extend the processes of school learning and teaching in two ways. In the first place, they are nodes from which they encourage the joint work of different agents, entities and social, educational and community actors. Second, they facilitate learning experiences, as well as identitary experiences, linked to the educational project developed, in addition to the social and community environment. For example, in the case of the Gebut experience, the Iberian town allows the extension and illustration of school content-competencies, as well as to make visible and facilitate processes of collective identification with the historical and cultural past of the region. In fact, different studies show in particular the benefits in cognitive, identity-directive and socio-affective competences of educational projects based on the arts and the cultural heritage of the students, their families and life contexts (Alvarez et al., 2021; Esteban -Guitart et al., 2019; Zhang Yu et al., 2021).

In any case, the examples considered illustrate how educational-pedagogical practice expands and materializes in a singular movement consistent with the idea of ecosystems proposed by Hannon et al. (2019) and Plana (2018) and which is illustrated from the complementarity of the following dimensions: a) Inter-institutional (implies the formalized participation of schools, universities, town halls, museums, civic centres, libraries...); b) Intergenerational (interaction and mutual learning between schoolchildren, university students, adults and older people in the community, professionals...); and c) Intersectoral (schoolchildren and educators collaborate with university students, educators, cultural agents, social activists, artists). In this way, the complementarity of the dimensions described coincides with the space of action and interdependence of agents and learning that make up local ecosystems. On the other hand, the generalization of experiences such as those described here entails valuing these dimensions as necessary conditions to generate local educational ecosystems, and with them facilitate the creation of teaching and learning practices based on what are considered both public and common goods as they are the result of the democratic-horizontal co-participation of different services, agents, institutions and social, educational and community resources.

Likewise, the notion of community funds of knowledge and identity underlies the consideration in relation to the community-public sphere as a distributed space of potentially educational resources, services and social agents. This idea is in tune with the notion of “learning ecologies” (Barron, 2004) understood as a set of contexts, both physical and virtual, that potentially provide learning opportunities, in their unique configuration of activities, physical-material resources, as well as social relationships of accompaniment, collaboration and teaching. However, it transcends it, since it does not only consider the learning opportunities, services, artefacts and resources of the learner, at the individual level, but especially the social and community actors, as well as institutions, facilities and physical-cultural spaces that the educational institution can potentially have.

However, and in the light of the above, for these local educational ecosystems to be implemented, some conditions are required that underlie the four examples described above, and that also help with the design of similar experiences in other school contexts. First, co-participation and co-design processes are required (Penuelet al., 2020). Which means a recognition of educational opportunities both inside and outside of school. This is an aspect that is included in literature under the mandate of learning, not only throughout, but also across people’s lives (Barron and Bell, 2015; Esteban-Guitart, 2016; Esteban-Guitart et al., 2018; Esteban-Guitart et al., 2017; Subero et al., 2017). On the other hand, the experiential base supports the different actions, that is, they are based on acting, doing and experiencing (Gee & Esteban-Guitart, 2019); what on the other hand characterizes the system as permanently in motion, in tension, in development. Here, two aspects of this characteristic should be highlighted. First, the importance of shared action in the development (design and implementation) of the educational project or action. What Jenins et al. (2015) call “doing it together” as opposed to “doing it yourself”. Second, the fact that such collective and participatory action is based, and at the same time oriented, on the contribution to a common product considered by us as a community fund of knowledge and identity. That is to say, the archaeological site, the website, the artistic intervention at the school building or the knowledge about the school neighbourhood broadcast over the radio are, at the same time, intellectual and experiential resources, knowledge and skills of the community and identitary devices for the recognition of the place and its people.

Ultimately, they are collective artefacts that become common and public goods from the participation of different organizations and people, potentially connecting different spaces, times and social, community and educational agents. Which brings us back to the ecological-systemic perspective of Bronfenbrenner according to which, in his notion of mesosystem: “the development potential of an upbringing scenario is increased as a function of the number of supportive links between that scenario and other contexts in which the child and the adults responsible for their care are inserted. Such interrelationships can take the form of shared activities, two-way communication and information provided to each scenario about the others ” (Bronfenbrenner, 1985, pp. 51-52 The same author, in another text (Bronfenbrenner, 1987), referred in this sense to the need to establish educational continuities between different contexts and life practices translated into the appearance of mutual trust, positive orientation, consensus of goals, as well as balance of powers (Gifre & Esteban-Guitart, 2012).

On the other hand, the development of these experiences is a hybrid between innovation and research, in what Bronfengrenner called “experiments by design” (Cole, 2016; Gutiérrez & Vossoughi, 2010; Lalueza et al., 2020). That is to say, forms of intervention that are oriented towards goals defined by the educational community, that are useful to its interests and from which it is expected to obtain positive results for the development of its members, but that are at the same time models subject to scrutiny in the framework of research projects. This makes it possible to evaluate its operation and its results in a real environment over long periods of time. In this long-term line of research, studies and conceptualizations are necessary in relation to three fundamental aspects. In the first place, the very notion of community funds of knowledge and identity, only exposed here. Second, the methodological challenges of local educational ecosystems. In other words, what processes, mechanisms and conditions enable, or limit, its materialization? Finally, and thirdly, a broad bank of experiences is required to identify and document what we consider here as public and community teaching processes based on the perspective of funds of community knowledge and identity.


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Contact address: Moisés Esteban-Guitart. Universitat de Girona. Facultad de Educación y Psicología. Departamento de Psicología. Pl. Sant Domènec, 9, Campus Barri Vell, 17004 Girona. Teléfono: 972418300. E-mail:

1 This work has been funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), the State Research Agency (AEI) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, EU) [project reference number: EDU2017-83363-R].