by Elena Riva
What is your favourite story of when you were a child? Can you remember its title? Or maybe it did not have a title..? What about the characters? Why was it so special? Perhaps the way in which it was written? The incredible adventures? The fact that someone you love was narrating? Please, take a moment to write down or draw these thoughts.
Mine is the 'The singing, Springing Lark' (L'allodola che canta e che salta), a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. When I was a child, my dad was reading me one of Grimm's stories every day, just before bed. Our book was full of the most beautiful drawings and adventures. It was special, it was only for the two of us, not even for my mum or brother. I loved all those tales but I choose this one in particular. It is about the strength of love that all conquers and it always took me to magical places.
What always struck me about tales and stories is how they can explain the most complex feeling, the most extraordinary situation to a child. I learned about love and hatred, betrayal and fear, forgiveness and loneliness. I explored other worlds and new dreams. It is all there, naked.
A tale about education
So, I wonder. Can we tell a tale about education? Can we write a story for sharing with a child what we think education is for? Very often I find myself using complicated words, jargons, academic expressions for explaining it and I wonder if I hide behind those terms, if I use them as a screen for not sharing my raw thoughts. I wonder if narrating, telling a story, can help me to better understand what I truly believe, what I really feel.
So, here the worksheet's task:
What about telling or writing a story for a child (that you know or not!) about what is education and what is for? Can you write it down? Can you record it and share it? It can be long or brief, you can use metaphors or not, you can draw it and use very few words or you can fill your notebook. You can write it in your mother tongue or in the language you have just learned. No jargons, no 'critical pedagogy' or 'student-centered' teaching. Can you make it as magical as your favourite story? Can you add those 'ingredients' you wrote down at the beginning of this worksheet to your tale? Perhaps we can bring these stories together and create our Grimm collection. Share them here if you wish!
Ghost thought: Can we try different ways for expressing ourselves in the classroom? What about telling stories and tales? What about asking our students to do the same? Would we enrich our knowledge and understanding?