Power of Storytelling 

Poorna Kulkarni
Thursday, 1 August 2019

James Knight, a writer-journalist with a special interest in education, conducted storytelling sessions for kids as well as teachers in the city last week. A report

When one tells a story, there is a bond that binds both the teller as well as the listener through the emotions and moments of the tale. To let people see a story differently and underline its importance, James Knight, a writer- journalist from Australia, who believes that storytelling has a power to connect everyone, conducted two sessions at two schools in the city. One of the sessions was organised at The Orchids School in Baner for their students and another one was organised for the teachers of Swadhaa Learning Center in Pashan. 

Knight believes that every story satisfies three elements. One is the five Ws and one H — Who, What, Why, When, Where and How, the second is the presence of elements of curiosity and the third is using senses and feeling the story through them. Knight has a new definition of IT, instead of Information Technology, he defines it as ‘Imagination Time’. 
The sessions also involved the process of creating stories considering random objects. 

Venue: The Orchid School, Baner

The session took the kids through the process of creating a story out of a chair present in the auditorium. There were many who came up with stories. 

Vaishnavi Warrier, a student of class X, said, “Sir was trying to teach us to imagine a particular thing in infinite ways. One thing can teach us so many things and with that we can create new stories. What I also found important was talking to people, as every person has a story to tell, which can help many in different ways.” 

Storytelling sessions for kids help them to see a story beyond facts and have more creative approach in whatever careers they choose. Adding more on how having different perspectives can help in different careers, Tanmay Goyal, a student of Class XII, science section, said, “It was a pretty interesting session, it opened completely new perspective to everything in life. I would definitely try to implement it, which will help me looking at career options in more elaborate way.” 

Aishwarya Chaturvedi, class X student added, “I have learnt a lot from this session. I never thought we could build a story simply looking at an object. The way he built the story simply looking at a chair was really new to me. It is just looking beyond the reality and actually putting the power of imagination to use in a way we want.”

Venue: Swadhaa Learning Center, Pashan

Teachers play a vital role in building a child’s creative thinking process by narrating stories either with a message or leaving them open ended for the kids to draw their own conclusions. The storytelling session conducted by Knight at Swadhaa Learning Center for teachers was very well received. 

Sancharika Banerjee, class teacher of class 2 who also teaches both class 6 and 7, said “The questions Knight asked in the session made us think on different levels and also compelled us to take a story on a different path. I also liked the sound effects and actions he included in the session, that made the story come even more alive for me and easy to immerse in. Our imaginations were so well directed by his stories. It is important to have an open mind with what we want to do with the story, unlike going the fixed way.” 

She added, “After this session, I might leave the stories more open ended and ask questions to the students to find different solutions.” 

Another teacher for kindergarten kids, Sujata Bhujbal felt that the session helped to bring in more clarity in the approach of teaching kids in the three to six years age group. “Here in Kindergarten, we tell stories for four weeks. What we got from the session was completely relatable. Kids are extremely smart and observant, so it is important to bring in new ideas and concepts for them as they have good grasping power,” she said.  

Shefali Kosta, Principal and founder of Swadhaa called the session enriching and amazing. “The new definition of IT as Imagination Time is something so new. When we imagine something new altogether, we will be able to present new topics in the times where we are burdened with new facts and concepts. As the students grow further, the facts and concepts become more focussed and tend to lose the touch of the stories. This concept can be used with science.” 
 

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