The Joy of Learning by Richard O’Neill
13th April 2017
Master Storyteller and award-winning children’s author Richard O’Neill on why he believes learning through story is so joyful!
When I was growing up, many of my older relatives had no or very low levels of literacy. However they were very gifted storytellers and through story they taught us a whole raft of skills, particularly ‘Oracy’, which many experts now believe is the key to developing literacy. That was certainly the case in our family, particularly in the days when children went straight into primary school at 5 years old without the benefit of nursery, or even a play group, as a result of which, many floundered. Storytelling teaches many other useful skills, including listening, imagination and memory. Storytelling can also embed values and qualities, like wisdom, honesty and courage.
It also encourages children to experience a wide range of cultures and lifestyles allowing them to share the experiences of others, whilst also allowing them to celebrate their own culture and family experiences in a positive way.
Storytelling allows children to ask questions and challenge the decisions and behaviour of characters, allowing them to develop confidence in their own voice and better understand their own place in the world.
Storytelling skills are very much 21st-century skills and not only for preparing children for the next education key stage, but also for life in general. They certainly aren’t just for children either; many settings are benefiting from using story as part of their organisational narrative.
I really enjoy teaching, or should I say re-teaching adults (especially those in education), how to tell stories. Seeing them re-connect and having the confidence to tell stories with the children they work with, is truly joyful!
I can’t wait to work with people at Childcare Expo Manchester in June during my workshop on Saturday 17th June. I hope to see you there.