SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The student Teacher!

It's amazing how adults listen to a story...! The same wide eyed look, mouth slightly open, maybe a smile, and the expectation...
What does a story do to us?
Does it unconsciously take us back in time, to childhood memories? Of grandmother telling us a story as she fed us, or maybe grandfather? An uncle, or an aunt. Mothers and fathers would not have donned that role, too busy, or following the golden rule that one does not "spoil and indulge" one's own children (the same rule would not apply to them when they become grandparents!!)
I had another chance to tell a story to a group of teachers. It is interesting that teachers can become students in a flash. Or put in another way, "once a teacher, always a student"!!
A very simple story about a boy and his teacher (obviously). The fact that we need to look at the others point of view, and not assume, nor go into a situation with our minds already made up.
As a teacher I have been guilty of this error many a times. Especially when you are pressed for time and want to finish your work, we just don't make the effort to understand the child's point of view.
My friend and I had been invited to Ashok Leyland School (Hosur) for a programme on Learning Disabilities. She the specialist and moi the storyteller!
I started the session with a story and set the ball rolling as the saying goes. Receptive audiences always inspire me.
The school was splendid , with great infrastructure, motivated teachers and a very dynamic Principal. Just a year since they have started, and what a way to go.
The students are mainly from the operator class workers, with 20% from outside.
The difficulty they face is getting professionals to come to them. They are also not able to access quality in terms of trained staff. So the next best option is to train their existing staff, and that's where we came into the picture. Glad to oblige.
It is sad that I am not seriously pursuing special education any more, and the irony to that is I have more people wanting me to help them in special ed. rather than storytelling now!
Anyway each to his own. I don't think I have to choose between the two, maybe both, will do for now!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Pied Piper of Hamelin...

This Saturday at Easy Library my story was Pied Piper of Hamelin based on Robert Browning's poem. If you have read the poem, you will amaze at the imagery of the poet. Such play with words. A true master.
I love the part where he tells us that the rats poured out of the houses, he uses all theses rhyming words, rustling ,bustling , hustling...children enjoy such verbal play of words.
Then he says the children came pattering, chattering, clapping... again the children had no difficult understanding that there were small children running onto the streets.
I had a stripped scarf and hat for the piper, along with a flute, to complete the image of the Pied Piper. I had made a top hat for the Mayor. Origami 4 cups and painted whiskers and ears/ eyes to represent the rats. As the rats poured out onto the streets, I threw them on the children.
Here I found I had made a mistake, they started playing with the paper 4 cups. Luckily not for long, cos one child gave me the idea that as the rats had jumped into the river, she too made the rat "jump" by throwing the paper rat on the river, (which I had created with clothe on one side of the story stage). Then I told all the children to throw the paper rats into the river and so the story was saved (I could get their attention back!).
I love to tell this poem/story, there are so many details!
You too try it out!