“Story is the vehicle we use to make sense of our lives in a world that often defies logic.” (Jim Trelease)
Swap the words “poetry/poem/poet” with “storytelling/story/storyteller” as I did in last week’s blog about the first 3 reasons from this piece by Elena Aguilar on why poetry is NEEDED in schools, and the following is what we get. (Other small modifications I’ve made are indicated by use of italics.)[Again with deep thanks and full credit (and apologies if need be!) to Ms. Aguilar, here are the other 2 reasons] —
Reason #4: Storytelling has space for English Language Learners. Because stories are an expression of the individual storyteller, storytelling can be made accessible for ELLs.
Story-form is easily grasped and students can find ways of expressing their voices while being limited in their vocabulary.
Furthermore, storytelling is universal. ELLs can learn about or read stories in their primary language, helping them bridge their worlds. (This is not quite so true for genres such as nonfiction text that get a lot of airtime these days.)
Reason #5: Storytelling builds resilience in kids and adults; it fosters Social and Emotional Learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a story can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. We can gain insight that had evaded us many times, that gives us new understanding and strength.
“Story allows us to make information productive. Without Story, information is nothing but a lot of bricks lying about waiting for someone to make constructive use of them.” – Aidan Chambers
Our schools are places of too much “brain only”…
…we must find ways to surface other ways of being, other modes of learning. And we must find ways to talk about the difficult and unexplainable things in life — death and suffering and even profound joy and transformation.
Ursula LeGuin wrote: “The story is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
A final suggestion about bringing storytelling into your lives:
Don’t analyze it; don’t ask others to analyze it. Don’t deconstruct it or try to make meaning of it. Find the stories that you love, that wake you up, that make you feel as if you’ve submerged yourself in a mineral hot spring or an ice bath; find the stories that make you feel (almost) irrational joy or sadness or delight
Find the stories that make you want to roll around in them or paint their colors all over your bedroom ceiling. Those are the stories you want to play with — forget the ones that don’t make sense. Find those stories that communicate with the deepest parts of your being and welcome them in.[Repeated thanks and appreciation to Elena Aguilar for her original post.]
A Few More Resources for Storytelling in Schools:
- Storyteller and blogger Priscilla Howe’s recent piece on Linking Storytelling and Common Core State Standards
- Do you know about the STEM to STEAM movement, from the Rhode Island School of Design?
- Storyteller Bill Harley’s teacher resources
- Storyteller and blogger Karen Chace (referenced in Part 1) has a book coming out this summer for you! – Story by Story, published by Parkhurst Brothers. She writes: “The book is based on my 12 years (and counting) experience teaching storytelling to students, including guiding them through countless performances and 28 storytelling festivals. It will include many innovative storytelling activities.” Be on the lookout for it!
Comments? Questions? I’d love to read them – scroll on down to post, if you’d like…
FLASH! (and yes, GULP!) 😯
Starting April 1, I’ll be joining hundreds (yes!) of other bloggers in the A to Z Daily Blogging Challenge for April 2014 Every day except Sundays (day of rest, yes?) we’ll be posting blog musings prompted by the 26 letters of the alphabet – Sign up to get mine in your email inbox (scroll back up to find the subscription/follow sign-up in the right sidebar at the top of this page)…Let’s see what happens! Yikes! 😮
Thanks for reading – Pam