Khyati Datt writes about the recent StoryWeaver workshop with teachers, librarians, social workers and storytellers in Chennai.
Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is known as the gateway to South India and is home to many organisations doing exemplar work in the education space. StoryWeaver has a number of partners in the city and we were motivated to connect with more such organisations. This brought us to Chennai to conduct a StoryWeaver workshop, our very first in the city. We invited various organisations and individuals that worked with children with an idea to discuss how learning and reading can go hand-in-hand.
40 participants, from 15 different organisations joined us for a day of discussions, storytelling and creating stories of their own. Some of the organisations that we got to interact with were Vidyarambam Trust, India Literacy Project, Isha Vidhya, Katha on Ratha, Communities Rising and Pratham Education Foundation . It was wonderful to see that they were as excited about the workshop as we were.
The workshop began with a quick round of introductions and a question- What would you have been doing, if you had not been working with children? The answers we got were interesting and really creative! We then spoke about Pratham Books and started the demo of the StoryWeaver platform. We had a storyteller in the audience who volunteered to do a spontaneous story reading session and made all of us think of creative answers to her questions and ensured that there were lots of giggles.
Storytelling in action
The participants then tried their hand at using StoryWeaver by curating a reading list for a specific theme. Some of the themes they worked with were life skills and nature. Throughout the course of the session, the participants shared with us anecdotes from the field and why they think stories are important. Their takeaway from this task were the different ways in which stories can be used to teach themes and engage with children.
The participants then moved on to the most creative part of the session, the part where they create stories. One of the stories explored a child’s imagination of his dream school, with lollypops growing on trees. Everyone was excited about letting their imagination run wild and presented their thoughts and process behind their stories.
Nelson from Communities Rising shares the story he created at the workshop.
We introduced the audience to the kind of stories that are hosted on StoryWeaver, the different ways in which these stories can be used with children and how other organisations are using the platform. Along with the participants, we mapped the different kinds of books on the StoryWeaver platform to the Listening-Speaking-Reading-Writing(LSRW) framework of Language Development and a discussion ensued with the participants about it. The participants shared their ideas on how they think stories can be used in a classroom and the ways in which children can be introduced to difficult concepts using stories.
The session ended with inspiring videos about individuals using stories to get children excited and pushing them to think out of the box.
A big thank you to all our participants for being patient and interacting with us and each other throughout!
To see more pictures from the workshop, click here.