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Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Bringing Appalachian Culture to K-12 Classrooms
Teachers participating in the Voices From the Misty Mountains summer workshop visit Appalachian heritage sites. Image courtesy of Shepherd University.

Teachers participating in the Voices From the Misty Mountains summer workshop visit Appalachian heritage sites. Image courtesy of Shepherd University.

With NEH support, Shepherd University has offered two summer seminars and one summer institute to teachers from across the United States. In all of the programs, 16-25 teachers gathered for three weeks to explore the Appalachian region through its literature, music, social history, dramatic arts, and storytelling traditions. Teachers—known as summer scholars—learned from renowned Appalachian writers, among them Nikki Giovanni, Silas House, Frank X Walker. They worked with the actors and directors of the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. And, in storytelling workshops and other discussions, the scholars considered both Appalachian cultural heritage and the powerful impact of storytelling on personal identity. Reviewing the program, teachers consistently stated that participating in acting, storytelling, and music workshops gave them new ideas for presenting material to students and made them feel more confident about doing so.

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