Dear Everybody, under STORY-TELLING I also include drawing stories from the students.

Dear Everybody,

                       Under STORY-TELLING I also include drawing stories from the students. One thing that human beings of all ages bubble with are stories, anecdotes, snatches of narrative.

One of the best ways of getting such stories from students is to "model", by telling a story yourself. Let me give you an example: Prepare to tell the students the autobiography of your hair: bring to mind your first hair-connected memories and then think of all the anecdotes through your life that you can remember that have to do with your hair. Prepare an autobiography of your hair that will take 5-10 minutes to tell.

In class tell your hair autobiography. Write up on the board some of the technical words you used that are needed when speaking about this subject. Ask an extroverted student to then tell the story of their hair to the whole class: help them with language and write useful words up on the board.[ female hair vocabulary tends to be more extensive than male!]

Group the students in threes to tell each other the autobiography of their hair. End with a vocabulary round-up.

(If you are teaching multinational classes with Muslim students of both sexes, the area of hair may be too intimate a subject. It is clearly an OK area in a Muslim land where women teach women and men men)

I chose this area to illustrate the technique of drawing limited autobiographies from your students because HAIR is a psychologically powerful area: in England our civil war in the 17th century was between cropped Roundheads and Cavaliers with flowing locks. In many Western societies hair can be an area of contention between parents and teenagers.

I have asked students to tell many other "limited autobiographies", in each case modelled by a teacher telling first:

the autobiography of my dialects and languages

the autobiography of my relationship to water

Me and fire

My sudden awakenings from sleep

Times I have been really afraid

The story of  5 memorable meals

The story of people who have been most kind to me

The beauty of the limited autobiography is that often the students are doing new thinking, as these tend to be new areas of mental exploration for them. So the things they say in English have the freshness of new thought.

I feel strong emotion while writing  this posting as many moving student autobiographies swim back into my mind.

Warmly yours, Mario ( shortly off to Germany for a TT workshop)





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