Educational Tools

Folk arts raise fundamental questions for education. Taught by and large outside (and often in opposition to) formal structures, folk arts can help educators raise critical questions about how knowledge is constructed and transmitted.

To support artists and educators in bringing community-based traditions into the classroom, we've developed publications, curricula and essays, some of which can be found here.

  • A website featuring student work in folk arts, and resources on teaching folk arts: The site (in process) was developed with Asian Americans United (AAU) and FACTS, and supported through the esights - esounds initiative of Scribe Video Center.
  • Pitfalls and possibilities (1996, revised 1998)
  • Resource handouts for educators about folk arts ed
  • In My Heart, I am a Dancer Teachers' Guide (1999)
  • Works in Progress (14:1/2) Summer 2001. Special Asian Art Happens Here issue includes the essay "Sites of struggle: bringing folklore and social change into the classroom: by Deborah Wei and Debora Kodish
  • Folk Arts of Social Change: Visit the updated sections of this exhibition. We have instructions for how to do your own exhibition in the "Big Shoes to Fill" section - an exercise that is useful for teachers. (We're pleased to say that this section was recently reprinted in the new book, Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching, published by Teaching for Change and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council.)
  • Teacher's modules on Chinese and Cambodian community traditions and folk arts, developed by Deborah Wei for the School District of Philadelphia, and using PFP materials and children's books. The 6th grade module (PDF) focuses on Cambodian traditions and uses In my heart I am a dancer. (428 K) The 7th grade module (PDF) uses Walking on Solid Ground and deals with Chinese community arts and experiences (3.2MB)
  • Handouts for a professional development at FACTS focusing on using proverbs and quoted speech as resources for teaching and learning. View PDF 

Other resources:

Local Learning Network is a loose network of hundreds of people interested in engaging young people with their own traditional culture and with the local culture and folklore of their families, regions, and the larger world. We are folklorists, folk artists, and educators of many stripes. We work in public agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, universities, museums, community centers, libraries, and out-of-school education settings.

Finally, we offer technical assistance for folk and traditional artists who want to work in schools and community sites in our regular technical assistance workshop series. Topics vary, but we have worked with artists on such things as: how to construct a residency program, how to link folk arts to standards-based curricula, and how to get on arts education roster programs. Workshops also have provided assistance to educators hoping to develop folk arts residencies.