Telling Stories in Pre-Service

I (Cathy) instruct part-time at Brock University. Many of my mid-term evaluations from my pre-service students read, “Please, tell more stories”. It made me laugh, but it made a point. We all love stories, no matter what our age: family stories; folktales from another culture; scary stories… it doesn’t matter. So today, in our first classes for 2014 I focused on storytelling, but turned the tables somewhat and encouraged my student teachers to be the tellers. They were asked to share personal stories about their teaching practicum, which they had completed just before the winter break. I started us off by sharing a story about a disastrous placement I experienced many years ago when I was a student teacher. The flood gates were opened. My, oh my, such stories! Hilarious stories about indignant kindergardeners; touching stories about tough grade eight boys weeping because they thought they had hurt the student teacher’s feelings; frightening stories about overly demanding associate teachers; and joyous stories about building up deflated ELL students. The passion in the room was palpable; it glowed in their eyes, exuded in their hand gestures and spilled about the room with the rise in the decibel levels. Clearly, they loved working with the kids, the learning (good and bad) and the chance to make a difference. They loved teaching, and even in this climate of little prospects of obtaining a teaching position for a few years, they were exactly where they belonged. And so was I.  Cathy

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One thought on “Telling Stories in Pre-Service

  1. Sharing stories are a wonderful way to encourage a love of literacy. In my courses I share a read a loud at the beginning of every class. I gained this idea from Clare when I was her teaching assistant. The teacher candidates loved listening to the stories and then we would discuss how they can be used in the classroom (i.e. content knowledge, social skill building, vocabulary development, narrative construction). I have taken this process one step further an applied critical multicultural analysis (CMA) to the read aloud so with every picture book I read we analyze it using the CMA framework. Teacher candidates loves this process as its engaging, enlightening and sparks interesting and insightful discussion. Not only are we modelling our own love of reading but we are also engaging our students in critical thinking about texts.

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