Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Storytelling and teaching

by : 
DanielT

As a teacher, a large part of my work involves motivating and inspiring interest in the subject for my students. One really good way to do this is to imagine that I am telling a story to the class. The students usually know stories well because of books and films, and so often find this structure easier to follow. I will explain some of the most important parts of this story-telling approach below:

Beginning - Every story has a beginning. This is where the scene is set and initial environment explained. In my classes, this is usually the central theme of the class. Normally, this theme is general and looks at the overall picture. For example, if we studying a particular country, I would begin by sharing some initial ideas about well-known places or people from that country. In this way, the group has the opportunity to share their initial impressions and knowledge with the other students, and this can be a foundation on which to continue.

Middle - In the second part of the story, these ideas are developed and explained in more detail. The theme or character are given more meaning and this is where most of the new information is introduced. In the example I provided above, this would come in the form of new data about the country being studied, either through a video or a text. The students will have the chance to ask questions about this material and to take part in activities related to the topic.

Conclusion - The final part of the story is of course the end. This is where everything that has come before is brought together and combined to give a summary of the events. A really nice way to consolidate learning about a country is to give the students the opportunity to create a presentation on an area that they are interested in, for example the food/culture/traditions. This way, the students can continue the journey in their own way and provides the opportunity for them to begin their own story...

The above is just one example of a class where storytelling can be used as a teaching method. The important thing to remember is, as with all good stories, that the plot and the characters are clear and make sense, and to keep the activities fun. This way, the students will be more interested in finding out what happens next!

Discussion

How do you create stories? Do you talk more about the characters or the plot?