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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Lois Harrison


The public school learning environment is based on the learning styles of white middle class children. When African-American students enter this environment, they become frustrated because aspects of their culture, which affect how they learn, are excluded. This frustration may be responsible for the high drop-out rates among black students. The research suggests that incorporating African-American cultural attitudes, values, and behaviors in curriculum will help these students achieve. Because folklore and music are important parts of the African-American culture, an arts-based education program using these art forms would aid in teaching African-American students. In addition, involvement of all students in African-American folklore and music furthers the goals of multiethnic education. For this study, a musical was developed for elementary education. It incorporated an African-American folktale, "The People Could Fly", and elements of African-American music. A curriculum guide was developed containing information for the teacher on African-American culture and how it affects learning. A narrative was included for the teacher to read to the students about African-American life and culture, in particular, folklore and music. The guide contains activities for the students and additional resources for the teacher in the areas of African-American music, folklore and multicultural education. The guide was reviewed by twenty-two people from educational fields, revised and subsequently reviewed by four of the same reviewers and two new ones. The musical was performed for elementary school students, videotaped, and critiqued by the teacher involved. All comments were positive about the scope and the need for this kind of project. The researcher recommends that further study be done regarding learning styles of ethnic groups, that more musicals following the premise of this dissertation be created, and that evaluation of their effectiveness be initiated with specific African-American and general populations.



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