Once upon a time, we were all children. Maybe naughty, maybe shy, maybe as bright as a star in the sky… But we all loved stories. When I think of my own childhood, I remember that I enjoyed the stories and especially the fairytales my mum told. When I listened to a story I felt the words were swinging in the air, and I could step on them to reach the sky. As the years passed some things changed, except a few, and stories are one of the remaining. I still love stories but nobody is telling me any but the good thing is, now I am telling stories and I am lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic audience.
While telling stories, I like to liven up and pass every feeling to my students. Choosing the right story and the language level, using mimics and gestures at the right time and correctly, the right tone of the voice, bringing extra and surprising materials to class seems to work quite often. Most of the students really enjoy stories and can focus very easily. But sometimes, there may be some kids who have difficulty on concentration or just don’t like to sit still. When you have such kids in class, the absolute silence, which is “vitally” important for those who are listening and enjoying the story, will fall off and you will lose a part of your audience or worse, all of them. The storytelling will probably turn into a “Shhhh!” or “Listen!” and will never give the impact as you expected it to.
The question is not “What to do?” but is “How to do?” “How to turn it in favor of yourself?, When you know the ones that have such problems beforehand, you can plan your lesson accordingly. If there is a kid who can’t sit still and needs to move during the lesson, why not involve them into storytelling? You will see how eager they will be once you let them “gallop” whenever you say “Prince”, “clap” whenever they hear “rainy” or even “snore and snooze” whenever you say “lay still in a deep sleep”. Even if it is your first time in that class and just figured out that there are such kids, you can still ask them to sit next to you to hold and change the story cards, or to make like you during the story.
The most important thing about storytelling, I believe, is time management. It doesn’t really matter how nicely you tell a story, use your mimics and gestures or all the things I mentioned before, if you keep it too long. The story should be long enough to let the kids ask themselves some questions during and find the answers as it flows and short enough to leave the sweet flavor of the imaginary world so that they desire and can’t wait for the next time…
Crossposted in SEETA , 14 December 2010
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