Singing with the Audience

In his short performance, Bobby McFerrin manages to engage his audience and invite them into his piece from the get-go. While this isn’t necessarily a storytelling piece, it reflects good methods to involve the audience: merely inviting them in and letting them choose whether or not to accept the invitation. If the audience had not accepted, his piece wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, because when he breaks away from the audience and has them continue, he needs their support to make it all come together. In the end, it works out magnificently, and without words, McFerrin creates a song accompanied by a little dance that involves the entire audience.


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The Arts Festival Revolution -David Binder

The Arts Festival Revolution evokes awareness about ways to physically involve the audience in a performance piece. David Binder explores art festivals and companies such as Royal Deluxe, and Back to Back with unique approaches, locations, and inclusion methods that weave the observer/audience into the base of the performance. Binder explains the importance of a united audience and how art festivals can be a space to strengthen and build communities. “Festivals are capturing the complexity and excitement of the way we all live today” says Binder, inviting the audience to be a “participant, player and protagonist” within these spaces. It is my personal opinion that artistic process and product is an intense emotional experience, connecting the audience to this should be encouraged as a creative expansion within the storytelling event and experience.


Megan Howard

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My topic is about how the storyteller gets the audience to become one and join together. I shared this video because it moved me and made my eyes tear up. This guy told an amazing personal story that was very touching. He was able to make me look at life through his perspective. He was able to engage his audience by leading them on with his story. I felt myself wanting very much to hear what was going to happen next and wondering how he was standing there able to tell his story. in that way he engaged me as the audience. I know that if I were with other people I would feel like I am with them united listening to this guy’s story. He was able to engage the audience by using a story that was so moving.


Joseph Goldin

group 5!

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Kids As Storytellers

This is the first episode of a webseries called “Written By A Kid,” in which children tell stories and adults create short films of the children’s stories. It’s one of the few places where I’ve seen children’s voices be respected instead of cooed at or ignored.

Kids’ voices are often silenced by adults because they are seen as unimportant, or insignificant. But when kids get encouraged, asked, or even required to tell stories, it gives them an opportunity to engage with the world around them. For example, I used to work at a creative writing workshop for kids. There was one eight-year-old who often wrote exuberant stories of fantastical worlds. But one day, she came in and said that her class pet had died. She emphatically did not want to talk about the pet or how she felt about it. But she wrote a story about a dying animal, and it allowed her to engage with her own emotions in a way that she was unable or unwilling to otherwise. Encouraging children to listen to stories gives them the opportunity to empathize with and learn from adults. But giving them the opportunity and tools to tell stories allows them to understand themselves exactly.

–Lena Jo Beckenstein

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Learning Language through Storytelling

In considering our topic for this week, I became interested in how storytelling can be used in teaching languages to children. My research on this turned up a method of teaching called TPRS, or Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. TPRS is a relatively new technique in language teaching, so there is not much literature on it yet (or at least not much that isn’t dense scholarly articles), but I did turn up the above article, in which a spanish teacher describes her experience with using TPRS in one of her classes. To learn more about the topic I recommend the wikipedia page on it, as most of the other resources about this method seem to be books and forums.

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Storytelling as a Team Sport: Benefits in Social Development

The above article, written by teacher Carol Krakower, gives a description of the storyteling “team” she runs in her school for grades 6 and up. Being a part of this team, she argues, gives kids the same “gratification” and “status symbol” that being on a sports team does. “It is personally gratifying to achieve a position of honor on your team.” She writes. “Kids know that achievement is earned.”

Her team is divided into “Forensic” and “Varsity” levels. Forensic-level team members build skills and repertoires. Varsity-levelers are given the opportunity to perform outside of school.

“Some people,” she writes, “feel that storytelling should be open to any student without pressure.” She disagrees, posturing that a certain bar must be set for children. If it is never set, they will never reach for it. By creating a “position of honor” which must be “earned,” Krakower seems to assert that children will work harder and ultimately take more pride in their storytelling abilities, as well as their proficiency as performers.

-Walker Staples

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Socialization through storytelling

As discussed in the reading, children often make sense of their realities through story creation and performance.  The following two studies employ storytelling as a methodology for exploring how children have been socialized into their societal positions.

In this study, children were given story prompts and asked to complete them.  Boys tended to craft male-centered, aggression-driven narratives, while girls opted for female-centered, caretaking-centric narratives.  This suggests that even the stories children tell are shaped by how they have been socialized to view the world, and this makes sense in light of the fact that socialization encompasses not just conscious, language-based instruction, but unconscious, interaction, behavioral, and relational aspects as well.

This study uses storytelling, among other expressive forms, to examine how socialization affects how children in Belize habituate to their unequal social position.  By using the children’s stories as data for the children’s subjectivie experiences, the study’s author was able to conclude that the identities developed under conditions of oppression reinforce the current stratification of the worlds populations.

If you are unable to access either of the studies due to a paywall, try copying the study’s name, and searching for it on Google Scholar.  Then, click the “Full text @ Hampshire” link next to the study’s name in the search results.

Quin Rich–Group 4



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