Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Storytelling in Education

I came across an amazing statement the other day about the importance of storytelling in education.

"Amidst the bustle of our visually-oriented, technologically-enhanced, multi-tasking, competitive world where we share information through text messaging, sound bytes, cell phones, and disks that we burn, we need to be reminded of our humanity... Storytelling helps students be active not only in presenting but also in focused listening and reacting, enhancing the vital skills of communication."

This comes from a statement from the Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance of the National Storytelling Network (aka YES! Alliance) and I think it hits the nail on the head. Too often we spend time in digital communication rather than face to face communication. Storytelling, in all its forms, is a shared form of communication that brings us closer to our humanity.

According to their report, some of the benefits of storytelling in education include the following:
  • it enlivens the delivery of curriculum
  • it encourages students to think about issues
  • it can deliver emotional and factual content beyond a child's vocabulary or reading ability
  • it helps students stretch and expand their thinking
  • it expands visualization skills as children form pictures in their minds.
Indeed, we tell stories naturally. At dinner parties. In casual conversation. By the campfire. Even in business presentations. Learning to tell stories effectively is a useful skill and when we bring our silliness, imaginations and creativity to our stories we further engage our audience.

Sure, there are ways to manipulate stories to our own ends. And there are ways that we over indulge our emotional responses when we share our stories with others. But the art of storytelling requires that we balance our own personal stories by listening to our audience and blending our emotions with fact.

The YES! Alliance recognizes that storytelling has an important role to play in education. We here at Think-a-lot Toys couldn't agree more.

(To read the full statement from the YES! Alliance, go to: Position Paper.pdf)

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