Storytelling is the oldest form of education. People around the world have always told stories as a way of passing down their cultural beliefs, traditions and history to future generations. Why? Stories are at the core of all that makes us human.
Storytelling is a powerful tool that can bring rich, vibrant, meaningful and lasting images to children. Furthermore, stories have a unique and powerful way of connecting people. Stories are the way we store information in the brain. If teachers fill their students’ brain with miscellaneous facts and data without any connection, the brain becomes like a catchall closet into which items are tossed and hopelessly lost. But stories help us to organise and remember information, and content together.
Research backs the idea that ‘even students with low motivation and weak academic skills are more likely to listen, rea, write, and work hard in the context of storytelling. A fifth grade teacher Shweta Shenoy says:
This is a paragraph. It is right aligned. It is a bit more conservative in it’s views. It’s prefers to not be told what to do or how to do it. Right align totally owns a slew of guns and loves to head to the range for some practice. Which is cool and all. I mean, it’s a pretty good shot from at least four or five football fields away. Dead on. So boss.
Many teachers think that storytelling will take away from class time, but it doesn’t. Storytelling is part of your lesson and makes the actual lesson much more powerful. By the time I start my fifth grade class by saying “ I’m going to tell you a story” they’ll settle down in no time and listen- and I’ve got their attention for the whole period, long after the story ends.
Children have an innate love of stories. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world.
So, How to be an Effective storyteller?
Telling a story can captivate an audience; that is, with the right techniques and a little practice.
Remembering and retelling the plot:
- • map the plot as a memory technique
- • use story skeletons to help you remember the key events
- • think of the plot as a film or a series of connected images
- • tell yourself the story in your own words
- • create your own version of the story (adapt and improvise)
- • retell it numerous times until it feels like a story
- • vary the volume, pitch and tempo of your voice (enunciate clearly and exaggerate expression)
- • use your face, body and gestures (let your body speak)
- • make your body and face respond to the tale
- • have a clear focus and maintain concentration
- • maintain engaging eye contact with the audience/ individual listeners
- • create a charismatic presence (make the audience believe in you)
- • use different, exaggerated character voices
- • use your space/ be dynamic
- • remember to pace yourself
- • always remember to regain your style as a narrator
- • use silence and pauses to add dramatic effect.
Young Learners share a remarkable variety of personal experiences, values and ways of understanding. The language they learn in the classroom is the tool they use to shape their thoughts and feelings. It is more than a way of exchanging information and extending ideas, it is their means of reaching out and connecting with other people. Stories can link not only between the world of classroom and home but also between the classroom and beyond. Stories provide a common thread that can help unite cultures and provide a bridge across the cultural gap.