Stories have captivated people’s hearts and minds for thousands of years. Long before Harry Potter entered the realm of fiction, people were telling tales about a sunken city called Atlantis or the super strength of a boy borne of Zeus. Times have not changed. People are eagerly awaiting to crown the victor of next year’s Batman vs. Superman clash and find out the fate of Rick and crew in The Walking Dead. How can we weave that narrative magic into the classroom?
Talk to teachers about storytelling and they will show you how to tell stories in the classroom. Use props! Costumes! Music! Yes, there are a variety of ways to tell a story in the classroom. Who doesn’t remember being asked to play a particular role in their elementary school’s big stage production? Oliver Twist, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Christmas Carol all bring back fond memories (Sidenote: I played the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the only non-speaking role!).
What about an immersive storytelling classroom experience? Students are not asked to act out stories, or tell stories, or watch stories, no. What if they are the story? Imagine the class starts like any other with the same tried-and-tested warm-up activity, but then, out of nowhere, to the shock of everyone, a gigantic spaceship parks outside the school gates? What then? What do they do? What is their reaction? Let’s take a look at some examples of narrative lesson planning based on four classes taught during Woosong University’s Fall 2015 semester.