Story-telling is an ancient art form and is currently globally recognised as a highly entertaining and useful tool in the classroom. In its simple yet powerful form, storytelling
- arouses imagination
- promotes awareness
- encourages language learning
- motivates learners
- expands knowledge
- encourages listening and attention skills
Children have an innate love of stories. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others. Storytelling is a unique way for students to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions.
Performance Storytelling is an emerging performance art in which voice and gesture are combined with movement, to evoke a story in the audience’s imagination. The art borrows from principles of traditional storytelling as well as using tools from theatre and drama improvisation, through the mixing of narration, characterisation and description.
Benefits of Storytelling in Schools
Storytelling can play a key role in schools in terms of addressing the listening and talking aspects of the language curriculum. Children who might not have the confidence to answer questions in class are often the ones who speak out most in a storytelling session, which helps to develop their self-confidence. Through storytelling, children are introduced to a variety of oral language patterns. This encourages the development of reading and listening skills and is a key aid in helping children to learn to use language in more creative ways. By creating a positive attitude in children for books and reading, storytelling assists vocabulary development. As whole worlds are opened up to them through words alone, children’s thinking skills are enriched and their imaginations strengthened. Through the immense diversity of stories available, storytelling also helps children appreciate their own heritage as well as the heritage of others.
Storytelling expands a child’s worldview through story encounters in a non-threatening environment. By sharing and creating a common experience, children develop an enhanced ability to interpret events beyond their immediate circumstances. The feeling of joy for another’s happiness or sadness at their misfortune contributes to social and cognitive development. Storytelling helps children cope with their own conscious selves by giving them structure for their daydreams and fantasies, and assists in the development of an ethical value system.
As an art form in its own right, storytelling is fun and exciting and gives children an appreciation of art for art’s sake. It helps them to understand that art is a valuable outcome in itself and can be used to increase their confidence, skills and knowledge of the arts. Storytelling rekindles belief in the magical aspects of our everyday lives. It empowers us all to have faith in our own imaginations and injects a sense of wonder and mystery into the mundane.
Finally, and most importantly, storytelling does all of this whilst entertaining and amusing children.