Storytelling 101

These days, stories are not just for parents with children or journalists with readers. Good teachers have always known the power of stories in the classroom. Stories often hold a strange and magical quality that can interest and engage learners in a way that few other materials and methods have. While the telling of stories in class is often associated with primary-age children,
the attraction of the story remains throughout life.

Humans are hard-wired for storytelling. We make sense of the world around us through narratives—they form a core part of our culture, belief systems, organizations and personal identities. They allow us to envision and showcase the change we want to see in the world. Everyone knows a story has a beginning, middle, and an end. But on further analysis, you could break a story into eleven (11) elements.

1) Characters (This is a huge topic in itself).
2) Place/s. (Locations used to set the scene)
3) Time (Is it continuous, jumps around, are there flashbacks?)
4) Storyline/Plot.
5) Sensory Elements (Smells, Flavours, Colours, Textures, etc. could be used)
6) Objects (Things like clothing. A weapon etc. could be significant)
7) Characters’ physical gestures, and attitudes.
8) Emotions in the story (this is important and need to consider the characters, the teller, and the users).
9) Point of View. (Who is telling the story? Is the story being told by a character in the story? Is it clear whom the intended audience might be?)
10) Tone of Voice, Attitude, Style (casual, formal, other?).
11) Theme (Meaning, moral, message, idea).

From my research, there are 4 types of traditional stories, which include:

• Folktale
• Legend
• Epic
• Myth

Folktales tend to be timeless and placeless, with characters that are well-known in a culture. One type of Folktale is a Fairytale. Fairy tales have a magical element.

Legends are historical stories, which took place in a certain place, often in the distant past, with some divine element.

Epics are long stories that tell of the adventures of heroes/heroines as they travel from one end of the land to the other. Epics tend to be huge, serving as compendiums of many aspects of a culture, and often end with the hero/heroine founding a new institution (even a nation). Just look at Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings etc.

Myths are stories about divine characters. Myths often concern the creation of the physical world, and occur before human history. Storytellers sometimes bring out in characters, and in audience members mythic feelings in everyday life and experience. Classic examples of this are Thor etc.

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