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


Ethnography is process and product, and elementary students can engage in both dimensions. This article discusses three examples of student ethnography. In a group poem about sledding by Milwaukee kindergarteners, students’ individual voices expressing diverse experiences of this shared activity illustrate that there is no single “correct” way to perform this, or any, tradition. Culture is recreated daily through variations between individuals. The best ethnographic writing represents this dynamic quality. Choices made in tape-recorded interview transcriptions by sixth graders in Door County, Wisconsin demonstrate ethical issues of how to represent subjects accurately yet respectfully. A year-long cultural study of Dane County by 4th/5th grade students in Madison, Wisconsin honed these students’ ethnographic skills. Teacher Mark Wagler tied language arts to other content areas through a common methodology of inquiry and local study.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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