Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's In a Story?


Have you ever really listened carefully to the stories that your kids or your friends tell when they are engaged in storytelling? It's an amazing exercise and may even give you lots of information about them.

Kierran Egan is a professor of education at Simon Fraser University in Canada and author of the book, "Teaching As Storytelling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School." He argues that schools often ignore the power and educational use of children's imaginations. Kids make sense of the world through stories. It helps them manage the information that comes in. And, teaching through storytelling is an important tool that should be used in the classroom.

So, what does this really mean? Well, it means letting the kids learn about abstract concepts like loyalty and betrayal, courage and cowardice, and honor and selfishness through stories--both those written by famous people and those written or told by themselves. Stories have a way of tapping into symbolic expression, which lies a little deeper under the surface and which gets kids totally engrossed.

So, grab your bag of Think-ets or StoryPlay Cards and tell your kids or friends to tell you a story. Short ones are fine. Then, take a moment and really look at the story elements they included. I like to think of stories as little inkblot tests, they sure can tell you a lot about what a person is thinking. And that, can be really interesting--and boatloads of fun.

1 comment:

Carolyn Stearns Storyteller-Announcer said...

A child's story is like a gateway welcoming you to get to know them better. When we are silly in play with children we reopen our gateway creaky with rust, to find the joy on the other side long forgotten and waiting for us.