The Wrong Tools for the Job: Teachers' Voices on Cultural Capital Mismatch


  • Crystal Recknagel J. J. Pearce High School
  • Ji Hong University of Arizona
  • Dionne Cross Francis University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Qian Wang University of Oklahoma
  • Alexandra Parsons University of Oklahoma
  • Laura Lewis University of Oklahoma



cultural capital mismatch, funds of knowledge, culturally relevant pedagogy, teacher role, critical consciousness


This case study investigates how teachers in a school with a large population of low-income students of color in the U.S. perceived students’ cultural capital and associated teachers’ roles. Twenty-seven teachers were interviewed and discussed four domains of cultural capital mismatch between students and teachers: behavioral, experiential, academic, and family norm. Teachers often characterized these misalignments as students’ deficits and undertook parenting or friendship roles. This study highlights the need to support and train pre-service and in-service teachers’ critical consciousness, so that teachers leverage students’ cultural tools to enhance instruction and to counteract deficit views of students of color.




How to Cite

Recknagel, C., Hong, J., Francis, D. C., Wang, Q., Parsons, A., & Lewis, L. (2022). The Wrong Tools for the Job: Teachers’ Voices on Cultural Capital Mismatch. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 24(2), 57–79.



Articles (Peer-reviewed)