What’s your story ?
We often give stories to our students to read, but how often do we tell them a story?
Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching. It gives children the answers to the biggest questions of creation, life, and the afterlife. Stories define us, shape us, control us, and make us. Not every human culture in the world is literate, but every single culture tells stories.
What can storytelling offer?
We all love to hear stories. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder in their world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others. Storytelling is a unique way for students to develop an understanding, respect, and appreciate other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races, and religions.
Storytelling and intercultural understanding
There are numerous ways in which storytelling can enhance intercultural understanding and communication.
- allow students to explore their own cultural roots
- allow students to experience diverse cultures
- enable students to empathise with unfamiliar people/places/situations
- offer insights into different traditions and values
- help students consider new ideas
Other benefits of using storytelling in the classroom
- Promote a feeling of relaxation
- Increase student’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
- Encourage active participation
- Increase verbal practice
- Encourage use of imagination and creativity
- Encourage cooperation between students
- Enhance listening skills
Telling a story can captivate an audience, with the right techniques and a little practice:
- Remembering key points – best memory technique
- think of the plot as a film or a series to connect details
- tell yourself the story in your own words
- practice it numerous times until you begin to believe it
- the best story is your own personal story – keep it real
- Use intonation by varying the volume, pitch, and tempo of your voice (enunciate clearly and exaggerate expression)
- use your face, body, and gestures
- maintain engaging eye contact with the listeners
- create a charismatic presence (make the audience believe in you)
- use silence and pauses to add dramatic effect
Becoming a storyteller, you might surprise yourself, and you will certainly surprise your students. In relatively little time, you can be telling stories and capturing the attention of your students. I never thought I would be doing any of this when I started my teaching.
So, join us at Pomegranate Institute and enjoy our storytelling lessons!
Fitzgibbon, H.B. &Wilhelm, K.H. (1998). Storytelling in ESL/EFL Classrooms. TESOL
Hendrickson, J.M. (1992). Storytelling for Foreign Language Learners.