The next stop on my Culture adventure was learning about storytelling power. It is a pedagogical resource to integrate culture in the EFL classroom and promote intercultural awareness. According to Malo and Bullard (2000), the benefits of storytelling are:
– To develop literary competencies
– To develop a love of reading
– To promote creativity and imagination
– To develop language awareness and language skills
Storytelling can be the basis of our didactic unit or project. As I’ve experienced during this Postgraduate degree, the Calm Down, Boris! story by Sam Lloyd was very useful for teaching daily routines to younger students. I had the chance to try it with my 5 year-old students, by reading it a several times andreproducing some of the pre/while/after-reading activities and games we suggested in our Didactic Unit. Some of them were as basic as chants to review the learned vocabulary; some others were more complex as role-playing, to promote students use the new language and apply it in a real context; or a quite simple one that was ordering some pictures according to what Boris does in the book, as a review of the daily routines. That was, with no doubt, a great experience. I really recommend you to use this type of books in class, there are endless possibilities, read and play with the puppet, students love it, or even invent your own story using the puppet as main character. Here you have a tutorial video on How to explain Calm down, Boris!
To sum up, I’ve learnt storytelling brings lots of benefits to our class:
1. Making culture happen: For teachers, it is effective, enjoyable, culturally and cognitively stimulating and easy to integrate. For pupils, it is enjoyable, fun, interesting to discover other cultures and useful to use English orally.
2. Making learning happen:
– English language
– Other traditions
– Narrative genre
3. Making learning happen by using authentic materials
– Rich, natural language
– Language input above target level (Krashen, 1981)
– Wide range of topics that connect with pupils’ interests
After this travel to the cultural contents, and specially to the storytelling resource, I believe that literature and hands on activities should be hand by hand, because will keep our students motivated and willing to learn and use the language in a real context. Therefore, content, language and multicultural values are going to be learned in a natural way which will enable students to apply them into their daily life, thus remember them.