Story telling

Alia Alzougbi

On Story

Who knows when the first story was told? Perhaps a pack of hunters had to justify why they had returned empty-handed to their hungry families, or a child who lost a toy her father had spent many a night carving meticulously had to give good reason why the toy is no where to be seen. Telling stories is our most effective way of communicating and explaining creatively. 


Storytelling is a distinctive feature of our humanity: we are the only animals that invent and tell stories. Some of our stories have survived over hundreds of years, warping and changing as they traveled across the globe to suit the tastes and traditions of the different communities they encountered. Every time a story is told, it is live and immediate to the audience around it. Every time a story is told, it is the last time it will be told in that particular way. A written story, no matter how well crafted, will never achieve this relevance and immediacy.


Before writing was invented, people had to listen to learn anything and a good memory was an important tool. Stories hold within their folds messages that address our most urgent existential questions: Where are the solutions to our seemingly impossible dilemmas? What can we learn about courage, tenacity and survival through adversity? Are we alone in the way we feel in the face of certain experiences?

Stories are the string that holds the human experience together. Through story, we learn about the triumphs and struggles of our ancestors. Through story, wisdom is passed on and often questioned. Story binds us together. We learn about human hubris and its often dire consequences, but we are also acquainted with characters who challenge these limits and boundaries, only to emerge victorious.

That is why story is important to us: to explain, to make the link between cause and consequence, to relay our own experiences and cross-check them with others.


The Humanities Education Centre has been involved in the promotion of Global Learning, which brings students to the forefront of the global community as responsible, global citizens aware of their role in the world. Global Learning aims to ‘bring the world into the classroom’, emphasizing what is common instead of what is different towards the cultivation of a collective global consciousness. Thus, rather than focus on multiculturalism and how we must ‘tolerate’ one another’s differences, the aim of this project is to focus on what is common across humanity.

Equally, hearing a multiplicity of stories from the plethora of communities making sense of their existence on this earth is something we actively encourage. Heroes and heroines with all the gradations of skin colour, distinctive sets of beliefs, and disparate concepts of beauty and courage are represented, their voices converged and heard.


In our workshop ‘Improving Literacy through Oracy’, you will learn the key ingredients of storytelling. You will develop, rehearse and tell stories in a supportive environment. You will explore the values that are communicated through these global stories, and learn how to work with pupils around these values. You will explore narrative and perspective. And ways to encourage oral and written responses to stories, thus improving your pupils’ literacy and communication skills.


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