For those born before the advent of TV, the lessons best learnt were from stories told to us by parents or grandparents or discovered in books found in every child’s room and read with avid passion. The art of story telling is ancient and prevalent in all cultures. This art started dying slowly when ‘screens’ surreptitiously pushed books away. For some of us who were bookworms then and still are now, books are as essential as food if not more and the stories heard eons ago still fresh in our minds.
Some of us at Project WHY had been thinking of including story telling in the curriculum but never quite did so. It was a mail with a link to a blog entitled: Telling Truth, Why we teach storytelling to fifth graders and co-authored by Nina Sethi one of our dearest friends, that gave us the impetus to get going.
Nina and her colleague Gaby introduce us to their reinterpretation of story telling and what they share is amazing. They tell us how story telling has transformed their fifth graders. We have seen students grow closer to each other because they are impressed by classmates’ stories of risk-taking and reaching out. We have seen students grow closer to family members because they have had to think through their roles in those relationships.
We have always held that one of Project WHY’s main role is to give children a voice and what better way than story telling. And we will not limit it to one grade but extend it to both primary and secondary children. We hope it will help them bring out all those the things that have remained hidden and even festered; that it will bring them closer to their mates and teachers; that it will build their confidence and also improve their oral skills. A real win-win situation.
Just like for Nina and Gabby, we hope this will be great learning experience for all of us.
We have a voice; it is for us to use it and make it heard!