There is an Indian proverb which states: Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
Gibson (2012) proposes that we are wired for communicating through and learning from stories. Both teachers and learners can bring ‘funds of knowledge’ and rich anecdotal stories to promote interaction and engagement in teaching and learning. Their stories may come in the form of their own life experiences or from their local communities based on their beliefs, customs, and social identity. Storytelling traditions are vital in every discourse community where the spoken word is relied on as one of the main forms of communication. Storytelling is therefore an essential pedagogic tool which can be transferred to the classroom to generate creativity and imagination in teaching and learning.
This article explores the use of storytelling and anecdotal stories as a teaching technique in the Literacy and Language classroom. It discusses the advantages of using storytelling as a pedagogic tool in learning and teaching to enhance learners’ literacy skills and to encourage learner engagement and interaction. It explores and analyses the use of practical examples of storytelling activities which teachers have used in their English classrooms to improve language comprehension, motivate oral discussion and to promote stimulating language usage in all four skill areas: speaking and listening and reading and writing. It considers the use of storytelling as a pedagogic tool to implement collaborative and interactive task based learning involving pair work, small group work and collaborative project work.