Lately I’ve been noticing the power and the artistry behind storytelling. As we’ve blogged about before (here and here), stories can lead to empathy and social activism. Storytelling can also be a method of self-empowerment. Earlier this year I talked about how multimedia storytelling can be an amazing tool when put in the hands of our students. For example, Humans of New York is a current phenomenal short-form multimedia story project that both empowers the subjects and increases empathy and connectedness throughout the community.
Storytelling is also an art, and nothing is worse than listening to a 30 minute story that seems to have no arc or theme. There are actual courses in storytelling that one can take in NYC. However, there are so many ways to tell a good story. While storytelling seems to be a human universal, each culture has its own deep-rooted traditions around the art form.
A recent TED blog discusses how stories are told around the world. For example, hawaiian hula dancing is actually done to a song with a story. On my recent trip to Portugal, I heard traditional Fado music, which is a Portuguese musical storytelling form that began in the 1800s and often tells the story of a woman longing for a man out at sea.
Storytelling, particularly the culturally-specific forms, is an amazing way to connect with students. Allowing students to express themselves in a variety of ways — rather than privileging text — is a prime opportunity to increase empowerment and cultural relevance in education.