Everyone Loves A Good Story

To be able to use one's imagination to entertain others is a great skill to master -- our parents and grandparents used bedtime stories to great effect in our childhood.

Storytelling is an art: it educates, it entertains, and it enthralls. It encourages us to be creative. It can even lull us into a good night's sleep. It helped preserve different cultures and traditions across the world before the printed word was invented.

The word 'story' can attain a slightly negative connotation with such English-language phrases as ‘cook up a story’ (invent a story or alibi), or ‘spin a yarn’ (tell a long, far- fetched story). Were you aware that ‘old wives tale’ is a widely held traditional belief that is now thought to be unscientific or incorrect, while ‘a tall tale’ is a hard to believe story?

Those who always tell a ‘cock and bull story’(an obviously untrue story) to their parents, teachers or classmates will find it difficult to convince them they are actually telling the truth and are likely be dismissed with a shake of the head and a “Don’t trust him/her, we are sure it's the ‘same old story’(a bad situation that has happened many times before)”

A story can make us warm and fuzzy inside like a success story, a heartwarming story, a bedtime story or a rags-to-riches story.

Moreover, a good story can fire up our imagination and everybody loves a good story! Therefore, being able to tell a story well can keep your audience spellbound; it is an art worth mastering.

In recent times, the practice of storytelling at home and in schools has declined due to the popularity of video games and social media networks. However, scientists and educators recommend that, this tradition should be made a part of family time and school curriculum.

Storytelling helps students in many ways:

  • Level-playing field: Every child is gifted, but in a different way. Storytelling gives an alternative to children who are unable to cope with traditional learning methods.
  • Job opportunities: The ability to express our ideas and vision clearly and imaginatively is a key to be a part of the 21st century workforce.
  • Networking: The power of oral expression can help students create effective networks -- the lifeline of modern living.

Teachers, on the other hand, can benefit from:

  • Increased reach: They can reach out to every student in the class and keep them interested for longer periods of time.
  • Less stress: By introducing an element of fun, teachers can communicate with students with less effort.
  • Renewed creativity: Educators can broaden their own horizons by effective and creative use of storytelling.

Finally, storytelling is an effective method of communication that has been in existence for thousands of years. In case you are interested, here is a link to some interesting variations of the word story/tale/yarn at http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/story)

Engaging Parents with Social Media

Education in 21st century is a whole new ball game, a fact accepted by students and educators as inevitable. Both have risen to face the challenge in their own way and are making all out efforts to adapt to the demands of the new developments.

 

Technology helped convert the world into a global village a few years ago, breaking down barriers and helping to connect people and cultures, as physical distances became irrelevant.

 

New opportunities became available and new markets opened up. There was a free exchange of ideas and thoughts, benefiting even the hitherto neglected sections of society. The ball had been set in motion which would only gain greater momentum with time.

 

Following in the footsteps of the concept of global village, the world is fast headed towards a digital revolution, affecting the way in which we think, learn, and communicate.

 

Technology is becoming more prevalent, resulting in a great churning. The outcome this time may have more far-reaching consequences, especially in the employment sector. Employment opportunities are likely to shrink further as more processes are automated.

 

So what needs to be done? Quick adoption of technology and evolutionary learning methodology is essential to survive in this new world order.

 

However, for schools who are in the forefront of overseeing the transition, it is imperative to keep the parents informed about the need to introduce newer methods and how these methods are important for their children to keep pace with technology and improve their chances at employment and entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

 

Schools must engage with parents in order to get them on board to make the transition painless and effective.

 

Adjusting to the changes is a collective effort involving students, teachers and parents. This is where Social Media (SM) tools come in handy.

 

School website, discussion forums, blogs, facebook, and twitter are some of the tools which can be effectively leveraged to:

 

  • Encourage parents and teachers to adopt Social Media as a productivity tool.
  • Create an interactive communication platform - complete with school’s user policy which defines standards, protocols, and net etiquettes - to address concerns and answer queries in a timely manner.
  • Highlight students’ activities and achievements.
  • Highlight the reach and influence of social media in creating favourable impressions and opinions.

 

Finally, Social Media is not to be feared, but to be adopted judiciously. Something parents need to learn in order to monitor their children’s online activity. When they understand the medium, they can take effective measures to keep their children safe on the internet.

 

There are other benefits too. Social Media is the way forward and it provides us with the means to communicate effectively and unambiguously, share ideas, approach influential people, build networks - the very qualities needed to be successful in the 21st century.