Dr. Rachel Fendler and Dr. Sara Scott Shields recently published Filming Frenchtown: Listening to and Learning from Storied Lives. This article details a project that explored how adolescents use storytelling to understand and express personal and collective experiences. Over the span of the school year, the participating teens explored Tallahassee’s local and historic neighborhood of Frenchtown. Through walking, photographing, filming and engaging in conversation with those they came across, the teens developed visual narratives of their learning experiences while exploring Frenchtown.
Dr. Fendler and Dr. Scott Shields explain that through an engaged pedagogical approach “we relinquished our vision of the project and opened opportunities for the learning experience to be created by the teens. We visited the local community garden, participated in Frenchtown’s annual Heritage Festival, walked and danced through neighborhoods, and in the process stumbled down alleyways and wrong turns. The teachers and teens were positioned as students within this process, as we discovered Frenchtown together… By first exploring the surface and then finding places to dive deeper, the teens found their way into the stories living in Frenchtown.”
Through individual and collective exploration of their interests, discussion amongst the teens and teachers enlightened the interconnectedness of the individual, societal, cultural and political relationships between the youth, those they met and all that they learned through Filming Frenchtown. You may read more into the process and experience of the group here.