Teaching for Equity: The Role of Folklore in a Time of Crisis and Opportunity

Journal of Folklore and Education

2020: Volume 7
Selina Morales, Guest Editor

About This Volume

This issue speaks directly to the national crisis of equity, representation, and access in our zip codes and our cultural and educational institutions. Folklore includes the traditions, arts, and stories that make cultural communities unique and strengthen social bonds within our communities. The tools of folklore—such as observation, identifying important traditions and rituals, and deep listening to diverse narratives through interviews and ethnographic fieldwork—create opportunities for addressing significant social justice questions because the study of folklore and folklife centers students’ linguistic, cultural, social, and racial pluralities. The terms “inclusion,” “diversity,” “equity,” and “access” are often used to critique privilege and hierarchy to address long-term effects of infrastructural and lived inequity. Yet as buzzwords these terms sometimes mask inaction and perpetuation of the status quo. This special issue of JFE asks how folklore and paying close attention to culture in our learning spaces can equip educators with tools and resources to engage more fully diverse students and audiences


Folk Culture: A Vessel for Equity in Education

Read an interview with Ira L. Bond, included in this article.
We must commit, in the world-building profession of teaching, to the hard and essential work of centering equity in our practice. Folklife is all around us, and it is one powerful, dynamic and multidimensional tool we can use to teach toward equity.

We Are All Essential: Is the Heart the Last Frontier?

How might the education of our young people, the “de-brainwashing” of ourselves and of this nation, start to cure the disease of racism and discrimination, unleash historical truths, promote equality, and remedy the tangible and psychological impact on every aspect of our lives?

A Note on the Pedagogy of Equity

This is a pedagogy of equity because the creation of knowledge—through the documentation and interpretation of experience, events, and community practice—is not a neutral act.

Documenting Power, Beauty, and Responsibility in Action

We invite educators to think about how they might use these photos to teach about culture, creativity, community, and equity.

Revitalizing Folk Art within the Community

A Special Reprint from the Arts of Black Folk Conference for Community Organizations: Presenting African American Folk Arts, held April 22-23, 1988, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Shifting Paradigms Toward Equity: Infusing Folklore and Critical Multicultural Knowledge into a Teacher Education Class

To achieve equitable and just education in 21st-century multicultural classrooms, teacher education programs must equip teacher candidates with skills and knowledge that respect and incorporate cultural knowledge, worldviews, and pedagogies from the diverse cultures of their students to teach all students effectively.

Ago/Ame: Co-Teaching Community Cultural Knowledge with a Local Expert

Although alternative education models are often advocated as new means to support higher academic achievement, folk arts pedagogy has used and/or modified these models for years.

Let's stand together, rep my tribe forever: Teaching Toward Equity through Collective Songwriting at the Yakama Nation Tribal School

Making space for Indigenous ways of knowing in classroom music-making implicitly challenges longstanding educational hegemonies and should be critically considered by educators. This article is the result of collaborative pedagogical design and delivery involving the university team of teachers with Native students, their teachers, and several community Elders in a tribal school setting.

A Focus on Folklife: Fostering Cultural Equity at HistoryMiami Museum

When community stakeholders see themselves represented in our initiatives, are fully engaged in collaborative efforts, and feel invested in our collective endeavors, we can build meaningful relationships and cultivate a sense of a common humanity.

Untold Stories, Unsung Heroes: Using Visual Narratives to Resist Historical Exclusion, Exoticization, and Gentrification in Boston Chinatown

This article includes Classroom Connections.
This article presents a case study of Inside Chinatown, a project that enabled current and former residents and workers of Boston Chinatown to use photography and visual storytelling to create their own narratives about this moment in Chinatown’s history.

Denying Black Girlhood: Racialized Listening Practices in the Elementary Classroom

Using and practicing intersectional active listening—a listening that values the Black girl’s voice and self—is a first step we may take to address racialized listening practices and affirm the humanity and girlhood of Black girls in the classroom.

The Ohio Field School: A Collaborative Model for University-Community Research

This article describes and reflects upon the Ohio Field School model as a method of developing university-community partnerships that support locally driven efforts to address longstanding inequities in the Appalachian region, including those arising from university-implemented programs.

The Stories We Tell: Disrupting the Myth of Neutrality in Math through Counternarratives

The stories that we tell—to ourselves and to each other—carry remarkable power in defining who gets to be doers and teachers of mathematics—and who doesn’t—in very racialized ways.

Journal of Folklore and Education 2020 Reviews

Arting and Writing to Transform Education: An Integrated Approach for Culturally and Ecologically Responsive Pedagogy, by Meleanna Aluli Meyer, Mikilani Hayes Maeshiro, and Anna Yoshie Sumida; Art as a Way of Talking for Emergent Bilingual Youth: A Foundation for Literacy in PreK-12 Schools, by Berta Rosa Berriz, Amanda Claudia Wager, and Vivian Maria Poey, eds.; Folk Illusions: Children, Folklore, and Sciences of Perception, by K. Brandon Barker and Claiborne Rice; Handbook for Folklore and Ethnomusicology Fieldwork, by Lisa Gilman and John Fenn

Key Themes in This Issue

Identity, Community, Narrative

The Journal of Folklore and Education (ISSN 2573-2072) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published annually by Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education. JFE publishes work that uses ethnographic approaches to tap the knowledge and life skills of students, their families, community members, and educators in K-12, college, museum, and community education.