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This study documents the life stories of eight First Generation College (FGC) students and alumni in education. Using narrative inquiry as our methodology, we the researchers sought to better understand the lived experiences, struggles and triumphs shared through stories of three postgraduates and five current students in teacher education. With this approach, we aimed to explore what it means to be a FGC student in teacher education. FGC student narratives serve as windows of understanding into their lives—bringing to the surface evidence of their funds of knowledge and what makes them successful teacher candidates and in-service teachers. The compelling stories that these FGC students/alumni tell and retell have profound implications for higher education, and more specifically, teacher education.

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Acknowledgement This research project was undertaken as a part of the Kansas State University College of Education’s annual documentary film series, “A Walk in My Shoes.” We thank our Dean, Debbie Mercer, for her support on this project. Without her commitment to promoting diversity and social justice, this project would not have been possible. Finally, and most of all, we would like to thank the participants and their families for sharing their stories with us. They opened their hearts, their homes and their lives to us, providing powerful glimpses into the lived experiences of FGC students in the Midwest.


Kansas State University, College of Education, and New Prairie Press




Teacher education, First generation college students, Funds of Knowledge, Narrative Inquiry



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Being the “First”: A Narrative Inquiry into the Funds of Knowledge of First Generation College Students in Teacher Education

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