Americans have a penchant for the future and tend to disregard the past.
There is more to folklore research than fieldwork. This is why in all of my other upper-division courses I require a term paper involving original research.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
Americans often have trouble enjoying the present moment.
In my introductory course, Anthropology 160, the Forms of Folklore, I try to show the students what the major and minor genres of folklore are, and how they can be analyzed.
Future orientation is combined with a notion and expectation of progress, and nothing is impossible.
Ancestor worship, or filial piety so characteristic of Asian cultures, for example, does not really resonate with Americans who favor children, not grandparents.
They do not merely collect texts; they must also gather data about the context and the informant and, above all, write an analysis of the items based upon the course readings and lecture material on folklore theory and method.
I have a great advantage over many of my colleagues inasmuch as my students bring with them to class their own personal knowledge of national, regional, religious, ethnic, occupational, and family folklore traditions.
Their term project consists of a fieldwork collection of folklore that they create by interviewing family members, friends, or anyone they can manage to persuade to serve as an informant.