My intention is to give students an overview of works from various cultures considered to be in the oral tradition, with a special focus on American oral tradition. We will seek out themes and symbols recurring throughout the network and explore various interpretations. Commonality and divergence of theme and symbol will be discussed. The various motivations for story telling warrant class discussion or investigation. Much emphasis would be on basic skills like recalling sequence of events, separating main ideas from details, recognizing fact from opinion, summarizing, outlining and note-taking. There is also a lot of substance in the tales and legends which allows for making comparisons and contrasts, tracing patterns and motifs, translating imagery, relating to a larger frame of reference, making inferences, recognizing cause and effect relationships, determining significance and last but not least expressing individual interpretation. I have not recited this litany of skills with the presumption that I can touch on each and everyone here, but rather to suggest the potential source of wealth for skill development in folklore.
The approach could be multimodal, using literature, recordings, drawing and acting. Students could also fashion tales of their own, purely as an exercise. The tales which the students concoct would be based upon a folk model, but could not be considered the same as the model itself, as this small study of folklore will reveal.