15 September 2012

A Story for You, a Story for Me


Stories are the way one makes sense of  hopes, loves, fears and life.  Stories may be told, listened to, written, scribbled, drawn and re-drawn again. Although I live in the Middle East, it is uncommon to meet a student who has not heard of Cinderella or Snow White - fairy tales which are often more associated with Europe. Stories travel far. As times change, Manga has become  highly popular among the young population, motivating even the most reluctant language learner to learn Korean. 

Stories incite passions and dreams. Stories told by a parent at bedtime reassure children, bringing comfort and serenity to their busy day of boisterous learning.  Words soothe, words open up other worlds, other perceptions. 

"But - what are you doing here?"

And in answer he repeated, very slowly, as if he were speaking of a matter of great consequence:

"If you please - draw me a sheep ... "

When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey. Absurd as it might seem to me, a thousand miles from any human habitation and in danger of death, I took out of my pocket a sheet of paper and my fountain-pen.  But then I remembered how my studies had been concentrated on geography, history, arithmetic and grammar, and I told the little chap (a little crossly, too) that I did not know how to draw. 

He answered me:

"That doesn't matter. Draw me a sheep ... "

The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Just as the little prince was not interested in details which had no meaning to him, I often find that constantly reminding students of writing norms before they write, will diminish their pleasure in story-telling. 

Yes, appropriate writing norms certainly are important, however, if one only focuses on linguistic accuracy, what chances do students have in developing their creative imagination? Writing is a process, requiring drafting and re-drafting. Accuracy has its place in the drafting process. 

Below are some suggestions which may be used for story-telling. Whether in a time-line, through images or drawings, there are tools for every context and level of education. 





What is your favourite tool to tell stories?


Further reference:

The Little Prince - Sparknotes

To Raise a Generation of Creative Kids, Let Them Make Their Own Stories

Storyline Online 

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