Storytelling – The Essence of Teaching

         Another St. Patrick’s Day has passed, and once again I went out and read THE MAGIC STICK to kindergarten and 1st grade students in a number of schools.  I started doing this in 1990 for friends of mine who were teachers.  I put on my leprechaun suit and do a dramatic reading, storytelling which takes about twenty minutes.

         Do not believe all the stories about how children have changed or been changed by video games and computers and of how books are becoming irrelevant in education as iPads and computers move to the forefront.  Children, the ones I’ve met still love books and parents who read to them.  There are of course changes in how teachers teach and what children are required to learn.  Attention spans may or may not be shorter, but this truth is constant.  Good teachers, no great teachers, at any age level are great story tellers.  I have been in their presence as a middle school principal and as an adjunct professor in the education department at Chapman University. Those who teach and teach well capture the interest and imagination of their students and compel those students to expend as much intellectual, physical, and emotional energy in learning as the good teacher spends in teaching. The threshold to that exchange of energy is good storytelling.

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