February 24, 2006

Storytelling vs classroom learning - which is more valuable?

So I'm surfing the web, clicking on links generated by an email I got from this organization, and I end up here.:
According to Kathryne Macgrath Speaker (2002), 'Children involved in storytelling programs exhibit improved listening skills, better sequencing abilities, increased language appreciation and more thoughtful organization in their own writing.' (p.184) As Speaker indicates, storytelling can be a very important tool for learning in the classroom.
That's as much as I can take. I click and move on.

But wait! What's so wrong with this? What's got me upset? I go back, and ponder, then I find it: it's the subjugation of storytelling to learning in the classroom. It's the idea that storytelling is not as important or valuable as classroom learning. It's like saying, "cheerfulness and joie de vivre are useful tools in classroom learning." Ignoring the fact that these things are valuable and desirable in their own right, regardless of their value as tools for classroom learning.

Do I have a point here, or is time for me to take my tablets?

2 comments:

daniel said...

I didn't get the impression that the sentiment in the quotation was that storytelling is less important than classroom learning.

Maybe because I've actually been reading to my 18 year old male students this semester, I'm receptive to what sounds to me like some research that might be saying, "Don't dismiss the power of reading to people as something not worth your precious class time."

That's how I took it. Haven't tracked down the research to check out its validity though.

Marco Polo said...

You're right, Daniel. I don't think the article was trying to run down storytelling at all. It was rather I sensed a sense of values behind the statement: that the ultimate good is classroom learning and everything becomes subservient to that. I was probably reading too much into this particular quote, but I have come across this way of thinking so often. I'd like to hear more about your experience of reading to your 18-year-old males. Did you blog about it?