Storytelling, for Empathetic and Cooperative Listening

“Would you like to listen to a story?” It is quite unlikely that any teacher would have to hear “no” for an answer.
In 2000, I began to experiment with oral storytelling in the English language classroom. Also by 2008, I had begun storytelling professionally and from 2011 training teachers in employing storytelling as a pedagogical tool for English Language Teaching. My journey with tours, performances, talks, and conducting workshops, across India and around the world, with over 75,000 teachers and 300,000 children has brought many insights with respect to the employment of this tool.

Storytelling Tips from a UX Designer

What do designers and teachers have in common? We both tell stories. Why are our minds captivated by stories? And how can we take advantage of this when teaching?
With the increase in multi-media devices in the classroom, educators are realizing the possibilities for storytelling are endless (Alismail, 2005). As a UX Designer (a designer who specializes in designing systems and products focused on user needs), I rely on storytelling to frame product functions in digestible ways for users; in the same way, teachers can use storytelling methods to help students engage with language. As one who has long used stories in design, I would like to share a few techniques I’ve brought in to create storytelling magic in the classroom.

Do You Want to Hear a Story? Here’s Why.

Imagine yourself teaching a class. It is near the end. You ask, “We still have some time left, so which would you rather do? Try another exercise? Or hear a story?” How do you think your students would answer?
This one is pretty easy. For the vast majority of us, it would be: “Hear a story.” But let us ask you another question. While imagining that situation did any of these thoughts lurk in the background: Doing an exercise would be serious language study; telling a story might have some learning value, but would basically just be something nice to do for the students.