Title

Teaching Cultural Awareness through Storytelling

Location

1053

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

January 2016

End Date

January 2016

Abstract

Stories contain the wisdom of the world, teaching cultural values. Story builds community, celebrates cultural diversity, and preserves cultural identity. Where truth is suppressed, story is an instrument of epiphany; story builds literacy skills and develops metaphorical understanding. A storytelling center in Ontario, Canada had been a cultural institution for 23 years and developed the art and craft of storytelling in the members. When the center faced permanent closure, members were devastated. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore member perceptions of story, storytelling, and leadership using interviews and focus groups. Findings indicated that story strengthens both content retention and language acquisition. These findings led to the development of a project focused on story-centered lessons for teachers to provide knowledge about Canada’s abysmal record for treatment of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) peoples, and its cultural amnesia working to maintain the very negative status quo for these groups. FNMI populations are highly overrepresented in prisons and highly underrepresented in universities. The goal of the project, the Blanket Exercise, is to work toward creating a receptive attitude and engaging the compassion of non-FNMI teachers and students by presenting one critical aspect of the history that somehow never made its way into history books. Story will be used to convey teachings that would traditionally have been told as story (authentic) with a view to better retention of information as a base for learning FNMI history, and contributing to a larger initiative of healing.

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Jan 14th, 4:00 PM Jan 14th, 4:20 PM

Teaching Cultural Awareness through Storytelling

1053

Stories contain the wisdom of the world, teaching cultural values. Story builds community, celebrates cultural diversity, and preserves cultural identity. Where truth is suppressed, story is an instrument of epiphany; story builds literacy skills and develops metaphorical understanding. A storytelling center in Ontario, Canada had been a cultural institution for 23 years and developed the art and craft of storytelling in the members. When the center faced permanent closure, members were devastated. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore member perceptions of story, storytelling, and leadership using interviews and focus groups. Findings indicated that story strengthens both content retention and language acquisition. These findings led to the development of a project focused on story-centered lessons for teachers to provide knowledge about Canada’s abysmal record for treatment of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) peoples, and its cultural amnesia working to maintain the very negative status quo for these groups. FNMI populations are highly overrepresented in prisons and highly underrepresented in universities. The goal of the project, the Blanket Exercise, is to work toward creating a receptive attitude and engaging the compassion of non-FNMI teachers and students by presenting one critical aspect of the history that somehow never made its way into history books. Story will be used to convey teachings that would traditionally have been told as story (authentic) with a view to better retention of information as a base for learning FNMI history, and contributing to a larger initiative of healing.