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Using Improvisational Storytelling in the Classroom by Thomas M. Turner

National Middle School Association (NJ3), Middle Ground, v10 n1 p32-33 Aug 2006

Keywords: middle school education, mathematics, research, cultural awareness, teacher education


Good teachers are storytellers. They use stories to promote interest in the classroom; to help students understand and remember events, places, people, and ideas; to provide context for teaching abstract concepts and systematic processes such as math and research skills; and to promote understanding of other cultures and people.

Storytelling can also improve students' listening, communication, and comprehension skills; allow students to express their own cultural background and learn about the backgrounds of others; bring recognition to those students who do not usually speak in class; and develop students' sense of pride in their skills and accomplishments.

In this article, the author outlines a way of incorporating storytelling into instruction through the use of improvisational storytelling games. He suggests that teachers first lay out some ground rules regarding language, content, process and time limits, and behavior. He then suggests a variety of games that incorporate middle-level curriculum topics. While not all of these strategies are appropriate for every class, the benefits of activities like the ones suggested here are enormous. (Lists 7 resources.)

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