Category Archives: Undervisning

Å se nærmere på funksjoner

Studentene på fortellerkunst skal rett rundt hjørnet framføre sine personlige fortellinger, så dette har vært fokus for tema i undervisning. Egentlig har dette vært mitt tema å undervise i, men på grunn av omrokkeringer av ansatte, var det meningen at en annen skulle overta. Slik gikk det ikke, så det ble delvis mitt denne gangen også, uten at jeg kunne følge en helhetlig prosess. Uansett, siste undervisningsøkt inneholdt et fokus på lingvisten Roman Jakobsons funksjoner.
Undervisningsøkten besto derfor av følgende elementer:

Referensiell funksjon – her er kommunikasjonen knyttet til kontekst. Studentene gikk i par, hvor den ene var en “blind” lytter og fortelleren beskrev først rommet man befant seg i og deretter landskapet i fortellingen man arbeidet med. I følge Brian Sturm som jeg skrev om her om dagen, er utgangspunktet for lytting at lytteren føler seg trygg og og har det komfortabelt i den reelle konteksten. Men hvordan lage en bro fra den aktuelle konteksten til selve fortellingens rike? En lærdom å trekke er at en sanselig beskrivelse i begynnelsen av fortellingen kan hjelpe lytteren inn i fortellingen.

Emotiv eller ekspressiv funksjon – faktoren avsender eller forteller i vår tilfelle. Fortelleren blir dermed i fokus, her arbeidet studentene med å lage kommentarer til selve fortellingen. Disse kommentarene synliggjør fortelleren, noe som strider imot Brian Sturm, hvor lytteren ønsker fortellingen i fokus. Samtidig tenker jeg at kommentarer styrker kommunikasjonen mellom forteller og lytter, selv om det kan ta noe fokus bort fra selve fortellingen.

Konativ funksjon – da er lytteren i fokus. I følge Brian Sturm ønsker lytteren å se og høre fortelleren. Med denne funksjonen eksperimenterte vi, vi delte gruppen i to, lytterne gikk ut av rommet og fortellerne spredte seg rundt i rommet. Når lytterne kom inn, ropte fortellerne lytterne til seg og prøvde å holde dem. Etterpå gikk den andre halvdelen ut av rommet, fortellerne spredte seg og da lytterne kom inn, fortalte fortellerne ikke før de fikk blikkontakt med lytterne.

Den faktiske funksjonen – her er det direkte kontakt mellom lytter og forteller. Vi lekte med å variere mellom lyttermarkører som nikking med hodet og mangelen på lyttermarkører som å se bort.

Den siste funksjonen vi tok for oss var den metaspråklige funksjonen – fokus er å kunne forstå koden. Studentene fortalte på gobeligo i par og partneren måtte gjenfortelle det som ble fortalt. Nå handler ikke koden bare om det språklige, selv om dette er fokus hos Jakobson, men også å forstå en fortellersituasjon, noe som ikke alltid er opplagt at man forstår man skal delta i.

Den siste og viktige funksjonen — den poetiske, tok vi ikke for oss, fordi den arbeider vi ofte med.

Storytelling and children

The students at “Fortellerkunst”, have this week been to school and told stories for children and I thought I should go through some of the articles and chapters they have on the curriculum that relate to the subject “story and children”.

In the chapter «The role of traditional stories in language teaching and learning,» the author Martha Bean looks at folktales. She begins by telling that the folktales have a universal cross-cultural template, this template you find in many types of stories like having a main character, action sequences, problems to be solved etc. The template also makes it easy to use stories in language teaching, because everyone recognizes a story.

For example, by using traditional narratives from the same cultural background as the language they learn, the students get a shortcut to understand a culture; this culture is also the condition of how the language has evolved. The traditional stories contributes with references to understanding another culture. This is easy to relate to Norwegian folktales, because much of the collection of these folktales had a linguistic justification.

Bean also claims that the motives that are encountered in the traditional stories can serve as metaphors for the students: “Traditional stories, whether featuring animals or people, typically entail a struggle for survival in a challenging situation, not unlike the struggles faced by language learners as they grapple with the new idiom”.

Bean sayss that an important part of using traditional stories in the classroom is that teachers themselves becomes storytellers. Before they tell the story, they can present keywords by the help of pictures, mime, or using the pupils mother tongue. Then the teacher tells the story where the words become active as part of the story’s plot. Bean suggests short stories like Aesop’s fables for this work. After the story is told, students can answer questions related to the story, then try to retell the story themselves. They can also discuss the morale of the story and the context in which the story can be used. Further work may be that they find similar stories from other cultures. Another example which Bean suggest, is to allow students to write the characters direct speeches. The teacher tells the story and the students contribute with the characters’ speeches while telling.

The article “Windows into Children’s Thinking: A Guide to Storytelling and Dramatization” by Cheryl Wright, Chiara Bacigalupa, Tyler Black and Michael Burton emphasizes the social and cognitive outcome of the use of storytelling in kindergarten and school. Not only that, the authors argue that studying children’s stories gives an insight into how children relate themselves to the world. This gives the teachers some keys to how they can facilitate the teaching in the classroom. They say there is “documented additional benefits of storytelling and story dramatizations, such as (1) introducing children to the process and purposes of writing, (2) allowing for the creative expression of ideas and feelings, (3) providing opportunities to build social skills, and (4) allowing children to work through ideas and experiences.” They believe that it does not demand much to use storytelling in learning, and another advantage is that it binds home and school in a good way, because the simple tools can easily be used at home.

The third article speaks about ghost stories. Sylvia Grider in the article “children’s telling of ghost stories”, claims that children tells ghost stories and meet these stories through overnight stays with each other and events like «halloween» parties. Ghost stories are stories that are directly aimed at being told and children’s telling often happens without the involvement of the adults. Ghost stories are a term for a large category of stories that involve everything from monsters to haunted houses. But the stories have stylistic elements and formula that make it recognizable as fictional material. As a oral material, the ghost stories differ from other folklore like the folktales in the way that there are recognizable motifs in the stories, it does not happen in a castle but a backyard. Another element is that the characters in the stories are often diffuse. Ghost stories give children an introduction to the structure and development of a plot. Through telling these stories, the children also gain insight into social functions like listening to each other. And, according to the author, these stories also teach children to distinguish between what is fiction and reality.

These articles shows a glimpse of the benefits of using storytelling with children.

Wondertales #Folklorethursday

These days, the students at Fortellerkunst (oral storytelling) are working with wondertales. Wondertales are a subcategory of folktales, often called the real folktale. The Norwegian word “Eventyr” comes from the Latin word «adventura» which means a strange or wonderful event. A folktale is described as following:

A story of prose who has lived in oral tradition and has a fictitious content, «which is not being believed in”. It’s a story that has it’s foundation in experienced life, but breaks all reasonable boundaries and often the content is supernatural and imaginative. (Bø m.fl. 1982:11)

The folktale is without time and place, it is based on motives that once were living beliefs. The folktale is characterized by stylistic characteristics such as “the rule of three”, and opening and ending formulas.

Wondertales – this category of folktales is called the real folktales and they are a pleasure to tell. The British storyteller Hugh Lupton once said that wondertales are popularized myths and you undoubtedly find many mythical aspects in a wonder ale. Wondertales are characterized by being long and multi-episodic, they manifest a magical world where the hero or heroines fight against supernatural powers and must solve a variety of tasks.

Wondertales are some of my favorite stuff to work with, they demand so much of me. At the same time, they are complicated to tell, how to solve the fact that they are multi-episodic? How to handle all the repetitions? How to keep the tension?

When it comes to tension, you can think on variation between what is safe to listen to and where the story becomes an insecure place to be. You can look at the safe place as an everyday dialogue between you and the listener. But when the tension rises, you need another mental room that you mark through changing the storyteller mode, you may tell slower, maybe you use more breaks, maybe you’ll physically drag back into the room to create a greater distance to the listener.

Repetitions are a code, use the listeners as an interactive partner, use rhyme and rhythms so that the repetitions are perceived as a ritual one go through to grow with the story.

The multi-episodic makes the story seem like a long bad year if you are not dynamic and varied. Give the characters direct speech to make it clear that it’s actually about human beings.

A wondertale is a never finished process, after a few years the story you once started may appear as something else. You have changed and the story has grown. A wondertale is thus a story you should never give up.