Storytelling Slam at SWW!

Posted on: March 28th, 2011 by Admin

Speaking is our primary way to communicate a powerful narrative. However, communication does not stop with the spoken word. All cultures have told stories enhancing them with body language, food, dance, art, music, storytelling, drama, crafts, literature, and religious rites. Storytelling reflects our rich cultural and religious heritage of the generations before us, and it leads us to understand how our past has influenced our present. With the help of Candace Wolf and the Kennedy Center, the students honed their skills, became better storytellers, and have learned to share their own stories while appreciating stories of others.

As a teacher, I believe in the importance of students being able to tell their stories to one another. I believe in the telling, and in the being heard, as part of the fundamental human interactions. I remain convinced that there is place for the telling of the Hero’s Journey Mythic Stories. Joseph Campbell has argued that myths, tales, and legends from across cultures and times are ultimately connected. Traditional literature not only allows us to explore these shape shifting variations between and among cultures but also gives us a glimpse into ways of life that may be very different from our own. Indeed, it is important to that the students’ stories cannot be undertaken without some attempt to understand how power and culture influence the way we tell and hear such stories in cross-cultural classroom.

We each have personal recollections of past events, personal memories, and vivid, imaginative accounts of the events of our lives. These memories create a springboard for the stories that will provide us a precious link to our past. The students learned how to write to a multicultural audience, and about the differences in how a writer must approach an audience in a specific setting. The students realized that they would have to explain their cultural assumptions to each other more explicitly. In addition, they revised their stories more thoughtfully the underlying values that shaped the ideas and events contained in their stories. In fact, the students’ stories represent their own texts, created to re-write their own histories, identities, and learning possibilities.

In this collaborative effort, students have acquired the basics for and the importance of recording their own narratives. Students have been the seekers to learning more about the past. Students have researched, collected, and shared stories that have brought them closer to their heritage while possibly spawning a lifelong interest in the meaning of their cultural heritage.

Congratulations for a well done project!  The students achieved the highest praise and accolades for becoming Storytellers. In this project, the students conducted research from their creative imaginations and acquainted themselves with their own personal heritage. You can read the students’ work in Living Legends: The Quest of Everyday Heroes and Almost There: Voyage to the Mountain Top available at the School Without Walls Library or see Mr. Igoudjil.

Happy reading!

M. Kamel Igoudjil
Humanities Teacher