Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning: Pedagogical Roots and Legacy

Scope: 

In 1966, Rabun County Georgia high school English teacher Eliot Wigginton began to experiment with a hands-on approach to teaching and learning that resulted in the students engaging in cultural journalism.  The students collected local history, folklore, and craft and preserved their course work in a quarterly magazine that has since been collected in several published books.  Dubbed “Foxfire,” Wigginton’s experiment in education has been well documented and highly influential. This pathfinder explores both the progressive pedagogical roots of the Foxfire approach and its legacy among educators.

Introductory Text: 

Smith, Hilton. “Foxfire.” Abramson, Rudy, and Jean Haskell. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell (eds.) Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006: 1533-1534.  ASU SPEC APP COLL F106 .E53 2006

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 
  • Folklore -- Appalachian Region, Southern -- Study and teaching (Secondary)
  • -- Georgia -- Rabun Gap
  • Wigginton, Eliot
  • Effective teaching -- United States
  • Journalism, School
  • Educational change -- Research -- United States
  • United States -- Social life and customs -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Periodicals
Clipping Files Subject Headings - W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Foxfire
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • F217
  • LA2317
  • LB1025
  • LB3621
  • LB2806
  • E161
  • LC5147
Books: 

Dewey, John. Experience and Education. New York: Macmillan, 1938.  UNCA GENERAL LB875 .D3943 1966

Hatton, Sara Day. Teaching by Heart: The Foxfire Interviews. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005. ASU MAIN STACKS LB1025.3 .H39 2005

Puckett, John L. Foxfire Reconsidered: A Twenty-Year Experiment in Progressive Education. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.  ASU SPEC APP COLL F217.A65 P83 1989

Wigginton, Eliot. Sometimes a Shining Moment: The Foxfire Experience. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1986.  ASU SPEC APP COLL LA2317.W49 A38 1986

Wood, Pamela. You and Aunt Arie: A Guide to Cultural Journalism Based on Foxfire and Its Descendants. Washington: Institutional Development and Economic Affairs Service, 1975. ASU SPEC APP COLL LB3621 .W6

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

American Institutes for Research, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, National Association of Elementary School Principals (U.S.), National Association of Secondary School Principals (U.S.), and National Education Association of the United States. An Educators' Guide to Schoolwide Reform. Arlington, Va: Educational Research Service, 1999: 72-75.  ASU MAIN STACKS LB2806.35 .E38 1999

Wigginton, Eliot. Moments: The Foxfire Experience. [Rabun Gap, Ga.]: Foxfire Fund, 1975.  ASU SPEC APP COLL S521.5.G4 W53

Bibliographies: 

Puckett, John L. “APPENDIX A: Bibliographical Notes.” Foxfire Reconsidered: A Twenty-Year Experiment in Progressive Education. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989:306-326.  ASU SPEC APP COLL F217.A65 P83 1989

Wigginton, Eliot. “Bibliography.” Sometimes a Shining Moment: The Foxfire Experience. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1986:419-424.  ASU SPEC APP COLL LA2317.W49 A38 1986

Journals: 

Foxfire Fund. Active Learner. Mountain City, Ga: Foxfire Fund, 1996. Bound: v.2, 1997-v.7, no.1, Spring 2002 (some volumes incomplete). ASU SPEC APP COLL OVSZ  E161 .A255

Foxfire Fund. The Foxfire Magazine (formerly Foxfire). Tiger, Ga: Foxfire Fund, 1992. Bound: v.1, 1967- v.44 no. ½ 2010 (Latest Received).  ASU SPEC APP COLL  GR1 .F59

Hands On. Rabun Gap, Ga: Foxfire Fund. No. 30, 1987-no.51, 1995. ASU SPEC APP COLL  E161 .Y68

Smith, Hilton, Eliot Wigginton, Kathy Hocking and Robert Evan Jones. “Foxfire Teacher Networks.” Staff Development for Education in the '90s: New Demands, New Realities, New Perspectives. Ann Lieberman and Lynne Miller (eds.) New York: Teachers College Press (Professional Development and Practice Series), Teachers College, Columbia University, 1991: 193-220.  ASU MAIN STACKS LB2831.58 .S73 1991

Starnes, Bobby Ann. The Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning: John Dewey, Experiential Learning, and the Core Practices. Charleston, WV: Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Appalachia Educational Laboratory, 1999. Available online at http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS23824. UNCA FED DOC ED 1.331/2:EDO-RC-98-6

Websites: 

The Foxfire Fund, Inc. http://www.foxfire.org/

Compiled by: 

Compiler: David Funderburk, 30 November 2010

Subject: