'Storytelling, a powerful tool for teaching'

'Storytelling, a powerful tool for teaching'

Around 150 teachers from schools across the City came together at a seminar, organised by the Deccan Herald in Education (DHiE) here on Friday, to familiarise themselves with storytelling as a tool to be used in the classroom.

The interactive seminar, facilitated by Geeta Ramanujam, founder and director of Kathalaya, took the participants into two aspects of storytelling - ‘The relevance of storytelling in communication & leadership’ and ‘Specific storytelling for specific traits’. Geeta told teachers about the basics of storytelling and how stories were primarily a communication tool which enabled the transmission of knowledge from teachers to children.

Storytelling is delineating a sequence of events which generates energy, enthusiasm and a sense of wonder in students. Lessons are learnt best when one conveys concepts packaged as stories, Geeta said.

She used the hoary fable of the thirsty crow that used pebbles to raise the level of water in a pitcher to slake its thirst, in a variety of ‘innovative’ ways – involving bodily gestures, onomatopoeia, mimicking sounds of animals and nature and expressive delivery – to convey concepts in a story. For instance, this story could lead children to understand issues like conservation of water, sources of water and so on, she pointed out.

Geeta said teachers should be able to adapt stories to the relevant context or situation.

She also conducted an exercise using the basic structure for creating a story - a beginning-middle-end or a problem-resolution format. Groups of teachers came up with their micro-stories. The groups used their stories to highlight specific traits like ‘helping the needy’, ‘sharing with others’ or ‘educating the girl child.’

In the end, Geeta told a tale about a storyteller wandering from place to place and being received joyfully while his ‘shadow’, following behind, kept being rejected. The ‘shadow’ is ‘truth’. ‘Wherever the storyteller goes, the truth always goes with the storyteller,” she concluded.

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