Random Thoughts

about reading, writing, and anything else that interests me

Telling stories

Olga Sergeeva had another great speaking idea: small talk via stories.  She lays the lesson out clearly and I am intrigued.  The video clip is great but too complicated for my beginning students.  The lesson itself is too complicated for them, too.  But I love the idea of getting students to tell stories.

My students are almost always too focused on what they can’t do or what they aren’t sure about.  If I could get them to tell stories, I think it would help us get past that to some degree.  So how do I structure lessons around the idea of students telling their stories?  There is already some of that in what I do (daily routine, for example) but there isn’t enough.  What I want is to get students so involved in telling stories and so involved in listening to stories that they learn English.

In the video clip, the speaker points out the importance of sequence.  So what can I have them talk about that has a sequence.  Actually, I have an idea.  We are going to be looking at a picture and talking about what is going on.  After that, why couldn’t we pick one of the people and invent a story for them?  I would do this part as a group project, but then they could tell their own stories to each other.  They would already have some of the vocabulary and structures they would need.  I think it could work.

Only two days left in this course.  Will I get to this activity?  I would like to because I think it would allow us to end on a high note.  I’ll have to see.  If we try it, I’ll let you know how it goes.

As I read over this post, I am not sure why this strikes me as such a novel idea.  But I see it as something different, something I haven’t done before.  I think it is more a question of focus than actual content.  We all have stories to tell and we all want to be heard.  Telling our stories validates us — to ourselves and to others.  What is more important than that for beginning students?

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