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A Teacher of Tales

American Profile , July 18, 2004


Teacher Kevin Cordi is considered the nationís first full-time high school storytelling teacher, and thanks to his efforts, heís not the only one. As a professor at California State University in Fresno, he trains other teachers on how to use storytelling in their classrooms.

Since 1993, Cordi has taught storytelling at Hanford High School in Hanford, California. Cordi and his Voices of Illusion student troupe spread storytelling skills across the country. The troupeís students put in long hours after school to practice. Then they travel across America in their trademark bowler hats, demonstrating their skills and encouraging other schools to start storytelling troupes. To date, more than 70 storytelling groups have been formed nationwide thanks to Cordiís efforts, which he calls the Voices Across America Youth Storytelling Project.

Now Cordi serves as co-chair of the Youth Storytelling Special Interest Group of the National Storytelling Network.

When people, including some teachers, offer a litany of what is wrong with kids today, Cordi dismisses their complaints.

ďProvide students with a venue and you will be surprised. Iíve had other teachers tell me that they can tell which students are from my classes because their narratives are so good. My students also are well-mannered because they have learned listening skills.Ē

Subjects Covered: education

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