Monday, December 10

Oral History in the Classroom: Oxford Elementary School

SFA oral historian Amy C. Evans visits second graders at Oxford Elementary School in Oxford, MS.

Part of what we love about oral history is the possibility it presents in the classroom. Whether grade school or graduate school, oral history is a wonderful educational tool that offers young scholars a unique opportunity to hone a variety of skills: communication, research, documenting, archiving, writing, and more.

Take the group of second graders at Oxford Elementary School in Oxford, Mississippi, pictured above. They are about to do their very first oral history interviews as part of a class project. Today, our own Amy Evans visited the class to talk about her work as a professional oral historian, offer some tips of the trade, and get them excited about doing fieldwork. She led the group in a discussion about geography (where is the South?), culture (what is culture?) and, of course, the nuts and bolts of conducting an interview. Amy even interviewed a few students to give them a feel for what it's like to sit down with someone and ask--and answer--questions. The takeaways: be curious, listen, make new friends.

The students' interviews and photographs will be part of an exhibit in early 2013. We'll be sure to share an update here.

A special thanks to Smith Stuart, pictured far left, who invited Amy to speak to his class.