My husband is a master teacher and people often ask him what it is that he does that gets such great results. I think it is his storytelling ability that garners him such success, both with student achievement and also found within the relationships he builds with his middle school students.
Parents often remark to him that their children come home and the nightly dinner table conversation is in regards to what stories were told that day in math class. They go on to say that their children can recall every minute detail and that they, the entire family, feel as if they have known us their entire lives.
When you have taught as long as he has there is a story to tell for virtually any topic that would ever come up in class. And really, if he does not have one, then he just makes one up. The students are served a daily regimen of storytelling in his class and they love it!
Storytelling is an excellent way to build language. New words and colloquialisms can be heard by the students. When you tell stories in your classes you are modeling how to recall sensory details. Another reason to use storytelling in your classroom is that it models presentation skills for students to use in the future. Eye contact, movement, dramatic pauses, voice intonation and gesturing are some of the tactics that can be seen when a teacher tells stories. Finally, students who listen to storytelling get oral models for writing.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways that we store information in our brain. Have you ever listened to a story on NPR? How easy was it to remember the details and retell the story to someone who had not heard it? Research tells us that storytelling helps children assimilate information and that even unmotivated or students with low academic skills have success when the content is presented in a story format.
So what are you waiting for? Polish up your skills and break out with a story about your personal experiences. I guarantee your children will sit still listening to your every word. Weave some content into the story and voila! You have given them information that they will hang on to. They might even go home and tell their parents. And the bonus is they will see you as a bit more human and they might just feel more connected to you in the process!