Tell Us How It Was: Stories of Rural Elders Preserved by Rural Youth

Last Updated: April 01, 2002

Tell Us How It WasThis collection of oral histories and classroom oral history resources, published by the Rural School and Community Trust and What Kids Can Do, is designed to help teachers and their students undertake oral history projects in their own classrooms. The volume also includes:
  • A step-by-step review of a middle-school oral history project from planning through publication;
  • An extensive annotated bibliography of oral history resources for teachers and students, which includes both publications and web-based sources; and
  • Information from three Rural Trust sites that have undertaken oral history projects, giving concrete tips and "how-to" guidance for teachers.
"One of the most exciting facets of our work with rural schools across the country is seeing the excellent work young people are capable of producing, while learning important academic skills," said Rachel Tompkins, President of the Rural Trust. "This volume is testimony to the fact that when the community becomes the textbook, the classroom, and the laboratory for student learning, kids can achieve great things."

"No textbook can rival the power of hearing a vivid story of the past directly from someone who experienced it," said Barbara Cervone, President of What Kids Can Do. "And oral history projects can be a powerful learning tool. Students not only learn the history of their region and nation but gain valuable practice in skills of research, questioning, listening, shaping interview material into coherent narrative, and using technology to publish their work. As this collection of student-gathered oral histories shows, young people also gain important exposure to perspectives outside their own, benefiting from relationships with an older, wiser generation."

"This collection has enormous potential as a resource for other young historians because of the documentation of the process that is faithfully provided and the helpful reflections of young people and teachers," adds Dixie Goswami, Co-Director of the Bread Loaf Teacher network.

RSIN Members: US $20
Non-RSIN Members: US $20