Practical Sheet

Boosting Teachers’ confidence as Storytellers

SHEET #8

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? 

Having the role of narrator, the teacher is like the bearer of the speech, the structure and the overall impact of the story depends on him. In this active position, through body expression and voice, the interest and imagination in children is stimulated. The teacher is a role model and stimulates participation; if necessary, can be used as a tool to increase associations and generate ideas. In order to be a good Storyteller, preparation is key.  

PREPARATION HELPS WITH CONFIDENCE 

Two aspects need to be prepared as well as possible. The storyteller himself has to be prepared to tell the story. Either by practicing beforehand if he had no previous experience, or by getting acquainted with the story they are going to tell in advance.  

Telling the story is not that different from usual class. But it is important to be aware that the objective at the moment of the story remains for the pupils to have fun. Second aspect is that the way you tell the story needs to emphasize events and emotions. Thus, the discourse needs to be more energetic and with stronger accent on the voice modulations, reactions, body language and facial expressions. Those can all be practiced in advance thanks to our other sheets listed a little further. 

The other preparation needs to be the storytelling session itself, including the choice of story, location, moment, etc given a specific group of pupils. The pupils need to be motivated to listen to and to want to retell the story for the storytelling session to have a positive impact on oracy as a whole for the pupils. 

TOOLS TO ENCOURAGE MOTIVATION

The teacher has chosen a story appropriate for the age and the situation; While telling the story it is better to avoid the comments, but to try to describe the state and reaction of the character. This boosts the imagination and evokes empathy in children. The words should be accompanied by facial expressions and gestures that further enhance the emotion. As a preparation, you can refer to the Sheets on Voice modulations and Body Language in order to prepare yourself before the storytelling session. It is good to use pauses to increase interest and anticipation. Depending on the situation, typical elements connected with the vision and appearance of the characters can also be used. While preparing for storytelling, the teacher makes preparatory recordings, and listen to or watch after that in order to evaluate what the impact will be from the spectator’s point of view. Telling the story to a colleague or a relative also to evaluate the performance and its possible impact on children. 

PREPARATION / REALIZATION

For the perfect choice of story it is important for the teacher to be aware of the purpose for which they will retell it – to make them laugh, excite or teach the children. The teacher can find the right story, but they can also adapt it themselves a little. Pre-recite it aloud with the appropriate tone and intonation (preferably in front of a mirror). To follow the thread, you can always find better words or, depending on the situation, to lengthen or shorten the story, to strengthen or reduce the force of the impact. 

OTHER OPTIONS IN CASE THE CHILD / CHILDREN REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITY

One of the doubts that the teachers can have as a storyteller, is to be confronted with pupils who do not want to participate. It is ok, and it is important to not force the pupils into telling stories. You can offer alternatives instead, so that the pupil does not feel pressured, and is still included in this special moment. Preparing alternatives is a good way to reduce stress about the reactions of the public. 

Here are some leads on what can be done with the pupils. 

They are offered another activity: 

  • encourage the child to offer their own versions of the story
  • to tell a story in which they themselves are the hero;
  • inclusion of various educational games related to the creation of stories
  • Example – “I tell a story” – cards with images of objects, people, animals, places. The child sequentially draws out the cards and includes their images in a story that the child composes itself;

  • to tell an experienced situation by replacing the participants with animals, which according to its opinion and ideas correspond to people;

SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE STORY

  • listening;
  • empathy;
  • storytelling;
  • explanation and interpretation of unknown words and expressions
  • discussion of the actions of the characters
  • provocations such as: How would you act in the same situation, what would you say?
  • reaching age-appropriate conclusions