What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is the art of telling a story. Sharing stories is virtually as old as language itself. As long as people have been able to communicate, we have shared stories and tales in order to convey our knowledge, morals, and history.

The Italian educator and author Gianni Rodari used storytelling to form the foundation of the primary school curriculum in the 1960’s.

The impressive and effective benefits of using storytelling methods in foreign or additional language learning helped the storytelling approach become popular in 1970’s. Using stories and dialogic methods provided a natural, playful, and interactive alternative to the classic “fill in the blank” and index card based additional language learning.

Travelling back and forth to Oxford, UK, here at the Storytelling Schools is where I obtained my qualification as a trainer for Storytelling Methods. Storytelling Schools was co-founded by Pie Corbett who also developed the “Talk for Writing” scheme which has been implement throughout the UK as a part of the official national curriculum for literacy. The “Talk for Writing” principle is straightforward: children must learn to command a spoken language before they should start learning how to write it. We can gain fluency, or command of a language, naturally and quite possibly most effectively through dialogue and storytelling.

The Storytelling Schools based out of Oxford developed a storytelling curriculum which schools across the UK have adopted to amazing results. With this approach, stories and tales form the core of cross-curricular and project-based learning. This award-winning and highly recognized has proven successful in primary schools throughout the UK. These methods have proven especially effective in areas of socio-economic disadvantage or as well linguistically mixed regions.

My desire is to help promote and teach these methods I have learned. Teaching teachers and students to become storytellers in order to lift their language and overall learning and as well perhaps make lessons a bit more lively and interactive.

What is storytelling good for and why is it effective?

Language is one of the most important tools we possess. Language is the key not just to communication with the outside world, but moreover the key to thinking itself.

Why is storytelling so effective? It seems that our brains are hardwired for stories. It is quite possible that from an evolutionary perspective, stories help provide us with context and chronology. Stories follow a structure and timeline. As well, they provide us an automatically with a suggested structure of language, scaffolding of grammar and vocabulary with which we can create and understand the world around. Stories are an amazing vehicle for transporting challenging, complex, and emotional information in a comprehensible framework.

Storytelling and dialogic teaching methods enable learners by facilitating their power to speak, write, and think.

Every classroom and every learning environment consists of people with different styles of learning. The old-school frontal teaching way of teaching serves at most a small fraction of children. Storytelling is inclusive and creative. A storytelling class is interactive and lively and supports individual ways of learning.

As mentioned before, storytelling has proven to be an effective and inclusive teaching tool in linguistically rich environments. Storytelling enables learners to become comfortable with language in a playful and natural way. Storytelling empowers children with language.

An English teacher of mine once said that writing is “thinking on paper”. The path to writing is not easy for many learners. Learning how to tell a story is a life-skill. If you can tell a cohesive story, you will also be able to write in an understandable and accessible way. The creative capacity gained through learning how to tell stories will support the writing process and communication in general.

If you want to teach people to think analytically and independently for themselves, then foster creativity!