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Students and Teachers as Ethnographers
  • ISSN: 0360-9170
  • E-ISSN: 1943-2402


The discipline of folklore offers rich content and skill-building methodologies that engage students as ethnographers of authentic cultural “texts,” folklore genres found in everyday life. By identifying and interpreting their own and others” folklore, from naming traditions to occupational lore, students become aware of themselves and their families as “indigenous teachers” and as active participants in cultural processes. The history of folklore and community-based fieldwork in education reaches back to the Progressive era, when educators such as Lucy Sprague Mitchell at the newly founded Bank Street College put John Dewey's theories to work, seeking to connect teaching and learning to students' experiences and daily lives. Today, folklorists and teachers collaborate in student-centered ethnographic projects at all grade levels and subjects. This article provides an overview of folklore and how the discipline intersects with education in the classroom through the eyes of a teacher.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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