This morning we said goodbye to a group of very nice people from Delhi who had spent the past two days with us. Our friend Sharmila, who is very active in Delhi in the field of education, had been planning on this for a while together with Ramona. Two days ago, they were finally here and sat together with our teachers, who were excited to hear and learn something new.
The three workshop leaders belong to a group called ‘Katha Manch’ and they are specialized on stories. Obviously, it became two days full of beautiful story-telling! Every participant was encouraged to tell his favourite story, one with whom he could deeply connect and that already from his childhood. Of course our visitors from Delhi also told some stories.
More important than the stories themselves however was the way they were being told and the effect these stories have on every person in the room. On the practical example of telling and listening to stories themselves, our teachers were shown clearly how everyone can relate to a good story in some way or the other. They learned how to draw the attention of the children to the story’s characters and their actions, making sure they all will be with the mind at the plot, in the scenery.
By brainstorming in groups, the teachers themselves thought of different activities which they could bring into the class and thus connect the story with their actual curriculum. Theater, painting and drawing, little games, scientific experiments and of course giving the children room to use their fantasy can make all kinds of subjects more interesting, be that mathematics, languages or science!
A point that Ramona found especially important was that these stories can be used to change stereotypes in the minds of children, when for example a woman is able to move heavy stones out of the way or the family father is the one making tea at home. One can show that even the ‘bad’ characters in stories are just human and make mistakes and one can emphasize that a story doesn’t even need to have a certain moral – it can be just an event that can be discussed. We can have different opinions – and children will learn to express them and accept that there is not always just one ‘right way’.
That’s how we had two very full days and our teachers got a whole lot of new ideas on how to create a more interesting, colourful school day by implementing stories into their lessons.
Apart from the official program, it was nice and refreshing to meet new friends, talk about experiences in school and of course have great food together.