Storytelling, a traditional teaching tool, should be practised in all nursery, primary and secondary schools across Barbados.
This is what Joy Adamson, senior education officer in the Ministry of Education, advocated as she delivered remarks at the St Boniface Nursery School’s Adventures In Storyland Book Character Day this morning.
Adamson noted that while many students were distracted by technology, and some even no longer favoured traditional books, it was important that the art of storytelling remained in the island’s school system.
She said storytelling transformed students, allowing their imagination to be expanded, improved memory and listening skills, and also taught them morals, standards, conflict resolution and life expectations, from an early age.
“Storytelling also introduces new vocabulary and we saw it demonstrated here this morning because the children were able to use different words and different terms. Through using the books that we have in our schools, even from the local folklore, you can get the children to learn new words and learn them in context,” she said.
Adamson added: “I think that we stress too much that we must be able to spell the word before we can use it. But as long as they understand the word and they understand the context which you should use the word, that is something that we want to encourage.”
The education officer also urged parents to continuously encourage their charges to read books.
During the session, the students of the St James school were dressed in various costumes, dramatizing story themes that included The Delightful Dalmatians, The Gingerbread Kids, The Rainbow Kids, The Royal Kids, The Cheerful Chicks and The Celestial Care Bears.
From the constant clapping and laughter, it was evident the audience thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the students’ versions of the stories.
Giving an overview of the project, which was incorporated into the school’s Child Month activities, teacher Lydia Husbands-Browne explained that each story was selected to reflect a particular moral that the teacher wanted to highlight as it was sought to engage students, motivate, inspire learning, develop creative talents, encourage self-expression and foster a link between written and spoken language.
“Students learnt concepts such as the back and the front of a book. In terms of storytelling, they learnt the beginning, the middle and the ending of a story. Students
were taught about the characters of each book, they learnt about the books in terms of emotional aspects, if a character was happy, sad, glad, excited or even surprised. Students took the opportunity to repeat their favourite phrase from the story . . . ,” said Husbands-Browne.