Resources

For Teachers, Folklorists, Academics, and Beyond

Folk arts contribute not only to students’ understanding of cultural traditions but also to their ability to think critically, gather and analyze evidence, and express their ideas and interpretations through personal creativity. Folklife and the tools of the folklorist can support learning in all subjects, including the arts. Folk arts are uniquely suited to explore the ways in which traditional art forms reflect the history, culture, geography, and values of different cultures and communities.

Everyone has folk traditions — expressive customs practiced within a group and passed along by word of mouth, imitation, and observation. Calling on the work of folklorists and the field of folklore in the classroom educates, motivates, engages, and fosters the creative expression of students and powerfully links them to their communities. Integrating the study of folk arts into existing curricula awakens self-awareness in students of their own roles as tradition bearers, their families as repositories of traditional culture and history, and their communities as unique resources.

(Text above adapted from: Local Learning: A Folk Arts Integration Handbook)

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Learning Activity and Lesson Plans

On the Job

There is mystery in every job, even those of students, whose jobs are to study and contribute to school, family, and community life. How do we learn the secrets of doing a good job at our work? Folklife! Occupational culture is one of the dynamic areas of Folklore Studies. By closely observing work spaces and interviewing people about their work culture, we make fascinating discoveries.

Folk Song Remix

This activity offers a creative way to interact with favorite folk songs. Follow these directions to tap into familiar folk songs and give them your own, unique spin by remixing them!

Research and Readings

The Artful Interview in Documentary Production

An Oregon folklorist who has guided many young people to document community culture through video shares her framework for producing successful video projects. See the reprint of this article in the 2019 Journal of Folklore and Education.