Teachers not only have the power to be strong leaders in their respective communities, but also for future generations.
Teachers have the opportunity to touch and transform many lives. Therefore it is important that you develop yourself as a leader. Get to know yourself, your leadership style and remember to appreciate all the things that your culture has taught you.
As an educator, in addition to teaching, you also develop curriculum that is tied to policy making. You influence students’ lives and also can make changes in the way curriculum is taught and students are seen and appreciated by schools.
There have been many leaders in education like Dr. Tara Yosso, who developed a model of Community Cultural Wealth. She saw the need to recognize the diversity and culture of students from underserved populations. So her model allows the opportunity for prospective teachers to see and appreciate many of the different types of contributions and wealth that students of color bring to education.
Dr. Tara Yosso points six forms of cultural capital:
The Community Cultural Wealth Model represents a framework to understand how students of color access and experience college from a strengths-based perspective. Yosso designed this model to demonstrate some of the resiliency, richness, and experiences that students of color and/or other disadvantaged populations bring with them to their educational environment. Below is a short description of each capital prepared by Angela Locks:
Aspirational capital is defined by Yosso as the “hopes and dreams” students have. She explains that African American and Latina/o/x students and their families continue to have high educational aspirations despite persistent education inequities.
Linguistic capital refers to the various language and communication skills students bring with them to their college environment. Yosso further defines this form of capital by discussing the role of storytelling, particularly for students of color. She argues that because storytelling is a part of students’ lives before them arrive on college campuses, they bring with them different valuable skills.
Familial capital refers to the social and personal human resources students have in their pre-college environment, drawn from their extended familial and community networks. Yosso explains that students’ pre-college experiences within a communal environment come with knowledge that campuses can help students leverage in to positive experiences in college.
Social capital is a form of capital that Yosso defines as students’ “peers and other social contacts” and emphasizes how students utilize these contacts to gain access to college and navigate other social institutions.
Navigational capital refers to students’ skills and abilities to navigate “social institutions,” including educational spaces. Yosso further explains that students’ navigational capital empowers them to maneuver within unsupportive or hostile environments
Resistance capital has its foundations in the experiences of communities of color in securing equal rights and collective freedom. According to Yosso, the sources of this form of capital come from parents, community members and a historical legacy of engaging in social justice. This historical legacy of resistance leaves students of color particularly well-positioned to leverage their higher education training to enter society prepared to solve challenging problems regarding equitable health, educational and other social outcomes.
As a student, leader, and a future teacher, have you ever thought about cultural wealth that you bring to your school or community? How about the amazing skills or values that your parents, culture and community have taught you?