Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Interactive Stories

by AJ

My visit to Kyoto has been a great success. I met two fantastic teachers, who have inspired me to try to "up my game".

One of these teachers was Marc White. Marc has developed a technique called Interactive Stories. It has some similarities to TPR Storytelling... and also reminds me of Las Puertas Retorcidas (a book Kristin and I are using to learn Spanish).

Rather than teach using tired old pattern drills, "language point" memorization, and the like,... Marc teaches English through interactive stories. He embeds important language points in the stories, but does not focus on them explicitly.

Marc is currently writing a long story called "Waterworld" to use with his classes. Each chapter of Waterworld contains a stress on a certain language point or points. Each chapter is interactive. Throughout the story, questions are embedded... so that the student helps shape the story.

For example, Marc might say, "There is a Japanese girl. She is in the Andes Mountains, but wants to sail to Japan. She gets on a sailboat. Has she ever been on a sailboat before?" At this point, the student(s) answer.... Marc follows up with more questions, "OK, she has. When was she on a sailboat? Why?"... etc....

Marc ran me through a sample chapter and it was fantastic. Hes very creative, so he's fashioned a very compelling and interesting story, complete with cliff hangers at the end of each chapter.

Once the teacher has taken the students through the story, the students tell it to one another. They may read it, narrate it, ask and answer questions, and shape it to their own tastes.

Unfortunately, I dont have enough time in Kyoto to observe one of his classes in action. But he reports that the technique has worked very well with his Japanese students.

For more information, see English Conversations.

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