Compiled by Karen Chace -- www.storybug.net
Compiled by Karen Chace -- www.storybug.net
David Ambrose, Storyteller and Director of Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival, (Wales, UK), accepted the invitation to be interview for AEDA’s website. Jennifer Ramsay was the interviewer and she elected to follow the structure of ‘The Hero’s Journey’, a common structure in traditional wonder tales. We hope you enjoy reading the interesting result.
Once upon a time there was a young man called David who had a flare for organizing events. David loved bringing people together and he dreamed of creating a space for artists to interact with enthusiastic audiences. He would often venture out into the underground alternative Arts scene in London and Guildford to be with like-minded people. The freedom of this experimental rebellion against the normal, straight arts scene opened up a whole new world. His dream became reality when he became director of multi-disciplinary Art Centre in the south of England and he dedicated his time and energy to organizing events there for many years.
Not yet a storyteller?
Although listening to a professional storyteller in school is clearly a valuable experience for students, it is usually going to be an infrequent treat. Fortunately, however, storytelling is not only a matter of professional tellers. The most important storyteller is there every lesson: you – the regular English teacher who can make stories an integral part of the whole language learning process.
Some teachers welcome this opportunity. Others may feel intimidated by a lack of performance experience. Seeing a professional mesmerising a class of students can encourage the mistaken conviction that “I could never do that!” But storytelling takes many forms. Professionals coming for a one-off visit to a group of unknown students easily choose a dramatic style guaranteed to reach out and form them into a willing audience. The situation of the classroom teacher is different: you may enjoy the chance to perform as a professional does, but you certainly do not have to. A quieter manner of telling may be just as effective. But whatever style suits you, your students will not only listen, they will love to listen. And this gives you the chance to explore the potential of regular storytelling in the language classroom. That is how I began many years ago, just discovering myself as a teller and at the same time discovering how storytelling could be integrated as a major part of the learning process.
Chennai Storytelling Festival 2015 (4-15 Feb) was themed, "Storytelling for Teaching and Training". This essay presents some of the ideas generated in relation to this Festival.
"Ways Storytelling can be used for Teaching-and-Learning"
The culture of India features a strong awareness of the educational value of storytelling. The frame-story within which the animal fables of the Panchatantra are related communicates this awareness clearly:
Once there was a king who had three sons. These princes seemed dull. They were unable to learn by conventional educational methods. Their father, the king, was very anxious about their futures, and thus also about the future of the kingdom. Finally, an aged scholar named Vishnu Sharma was called upon. He promised to help the princes become intelligent and bright within six months. His method: he would tell stories to the princes, and draw them into discussions about the stories. Sure enough, after six months, his plan succeeded.
The Panchatantra is one of the most popular collections of animal fables in the world. These stories, along with the Jataka Tales (which illustrate principles of Buddhism), episodes from epics, and folktales in general --also known as Grandmother Stories-- help to make India one of the richest story and storytelling centres in the world.
This is a resource the rest of the world calls upon.
Among the objectives laid down in the AEDA statutes there are various references to providing visibility, dissemination and outreach for the activity of storytelling. For that reason, and in order to achieve those objectives, this web page was created and various social media accounts are managed; Facebook, Twitter, Storytellers' List and the monthly Bulletin. Even so, we believe that there are virtual environments in which news of the spoken word still lacks sufficient presence. We are referring specifically to mobile devices.
For that reason for the last six months AEDA has been working to set up an APP which is compatible with Andriod and iOS, which will allow access to information regarding storytelling from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).