Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Remembering the Stories

In Connecting in Education from 21st C Literacy Ave Home, vanhookc states,

“Knowledge has changed, but the desire to learn is the same...yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are still making connections.”

I recently read an article in Blue Ridge Country about Wiley Oakley, also known as the Roamin’ Man of the Mountains. Wiley would guide visitors in the mountains and discovered a knack for storytelling. He passed on a lot of stories this way to his own children and even strangers. Eventually Wiley began to write his stories down and the wrote a column for a newspaper. Soon these stories were gathered together and published in a book. His children even compiled his stories and published books. This is a way for these stories to go on forever.

How many wonderful stories are out there that we need to be gathering for future generations? I know I still love to listen to my father tell stories about his childhood growing up in China. He loves to tell stories about his time in the army along with adventures he had as a young man. I have videotaped him telling these stories but there were so many stories that I didn’t record. How much longer will I have my dad to tell me these stories. His great grand daughter is 5 years old and who will tell her these stories?

My mother had stories but I never had time to listen to them as I was growing up. Then marriage and children became my focus instead of my mother’s stories. Now I have time to listen but my mother is gone. Luckily my sister who is ten years older than I am is willing to share some of the stories she remembers my mother telling her.

I think this is something important to have our students understand. I wish someone had told me how important these stories were. We need to talk to students and explain why these stories are important and what we can learn from them. Our heritage is important and knowing the past is important. By preserving these stories, we are keeping a part of the past alive in our hearts. This is a way to connect the past to the present. What a wonderful way for different generations to interact and learn from each other. This connection is so important for all generations to survive.

If students do not have grandparents to tell them these stories, they could go to a nursing home or ask at a Veterans Affairs office or a VFW office. I believe that there are many people out there who would love to share their stories but are just hoping someone will ask. If it would make it easier, invite the speaker to the class.

Yet, explaining the importance and significance of preserving these stories is not enough. We need to teach our students how to do this. We need to show them how to record or videotape stories. Now with digital cameras and digital recorders, it is much easier than when I was growing up. There are also so many different programs to help publish these stories and share them with others.

Students could interview different people and record their stories in some form. Then they could compile all of the stories together and share it with others. Maybe they could have a celebration and invite all the story tellers for refreshments as a way to thank them for their contributions. This would be a great way to share and celebrate the importance of connecting the past to the future.

Storytelling encompasses so many different subjects and meets so many different state standards that it would be a great teaching strategy. I think it would be a great way to engage all levels of students and be a successful way to meet the needs of all students.


Char Paul said...

Bibliotherapy encourages storytelling, as does narrative therapy.

I was reminded on the weekend whilst watching Arabian Nights about the importance of stories for guiding us on how to live.

Thank you for this post~ now to share it with my Facebook world :-)

loonyhiker said...

@Char I loved Arabian nights and played lots of pretending when I was growing up! Glad you enjoyed the post!