First Generation College Students: Navigating Higher Education

Community Cultural Wealth

Dr. Yosso’s Cultural Wealth Model  examines six forms of cultural capital that student of color experience college from an appreciative standpoint: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance. Yosso model explores the talents, strengths and experiences that students of color bring with them to their college environment. 

Aspirational capital
Is the ability to maintain hope and dreams for the future in the face of real and perceived barriers. For FGCS the aspiration of education a space of financial mobility despite barriers of inequality.  

Linguistic capital

Is the ability for students to develop communication skills through various experiences. For students who act as an interrupter for members of their family, as well as the cultural being based in storytelling may enhances students ability to "memorization, attention to detail, dramatic pauses, comedic timing, facial affect, vocal tone, volume, rhythm and rhyme.” (p. 79)

Familial capital
refers to the social and personal human resources students have in their precollege 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. Consider: · How do we recognize and help students draw on wisdom, values and stories from their home communities? 2 · How do we create environments that honor and invite families to participate?

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. Questions to consider: · How do we help students stay connected to the communities and individuals instrumental in their previous educational success? · How do we engage with likely individuals and community-based organizations about admissions and selection processes and the types of supports successful students need?

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. Questions to consider are: · How do we help students navigate our institutions? Interactions with teachers/faculty? Interactions with student-support staff? Their peers? · How willing are we to acknowledge that our institutions, both their structures and cultures, have a history of, and may still in many ways be unsupportive and/or hostile to our students and their communities?

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 an 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. Questions to consider are: · How do we support students who are committed to engaging in and serving their home communities (however they define these)? · What opportunities do we provide students in and outside of the classroom to prepare them for participation in a diverse democracy?

References Yosso, T.J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), pp. 69–91

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