Manuela Kelly Calzini of Trinity College London in Italy presented on 'The power of storytelling: How to engage students emotionally, imaginatively, intellectually and playfully' at the annual Future of English Language Teaching Conference (FOELT) in June 2021.
In our fast-paced, media-driven world, storied exchanges can be a nurturing way to remember that spoken words are powerful, that listening is important, and that clear communication between people is an art. When a story is told well, a language learner with even the most basic skills can understand it. The sharing of stories builds greater confidence in language fluency; expanding vocabulary, enhancing grammar, improving reading, writing and listening skills, and developing pronunciation. Storytelling activates the imagination and taps into the essence of our humanity which in turn activates creative thinking and results in a highly energised language learning experience.
As language teachers we have long known that the arts can contribute to students’ academic success and emotional well being. The growing number of the multilingual population in our classrooms make the ancient art of storytelling especially well-suited for student exploration. As a learning tool, storytelling can encourage students to explore their unique expressiveness and can enhance learners’ multicultural and multilingual competences to communicate thoughts and feelings in an articulate manner. Ultimately storytelling can be an interesting pathway to discover how we came to be who we are as people, as families, and as sub-cultures within the larger society and to promote a multilingual perspective.
This highly interactive webinar aims to offer insights into the inner workings of the art of storytelling. Through demonstration, discussion, and playful improvisation, participants will explore the joy of storytelling, our most ancient and powerful teaching tool, focusing on the many opportunities for our students to express themselves creatively. Emphasis is placed on techniques and creative activities for developing students’ confidence and competence, and on how to support them through creative storytelling as they develop as world communicators, valuing what they bring to their learning. We will also try out telling a story or two.