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Innovative Projects

Building Bridges: How Storytelling Influences Teacher/Student Relationships by Robin Mello

Paper presented at the Storytelling in the Americas Conference (St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada, August 30-September 1, 2001)

Keywords: art, elementary school, secondary school, interpersonal relationships, empathy, community in classroom


This paper examines the impact of storytelling in educational venues. Specifically, the paper compares data and findings from four ethnographic, qualitative, arts-based studies that examined either students' or teachers' reactions to oral narration in classroom settings. It suggests that, through stories and storytelling, people are exposed to long-standing archetypal models that engage the imagination, stimulate sympathetic responses, and cause participants to think more deeply about their social world.

Taken as a whole, these studies suggest that the activity of storytelling has an impact on participants' interpersonal relationships, empathy, and sense of "connectedness" in the classroom. Therefore, telling stories aloud (without the aid of books, multimedia presentations, or other devices) needs to have primacy in classrooms. (Contains 2 figures and 21 references.)

Click here to read the entire article (304K pdf file). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and download this document. To download Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here

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