Story telling is an integral part of the traditional oral method of communication in every culture around the world. It is also an important tool for promoting the childís development. Whilst the art of story telling is important, the proper selection of stories to be told is equally important.
A total of 19 participants out of the 20 invited, took part in this workshop. The participants represented a diversified sample of educational institutions represented in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The participants came from institutions like nursery schools, primary schools and public libraries that have childrenís section in them.
A lot of enthusiasm was exhibited by the participants as all of them had never participated in a story telling workshop and this workshop presented them with a platform to experience a new dimension in the area of story telling. Most of the participants participate in story reading sessions at their institutions but have never been involved in story telling.
The participants were first introduced to the importance of story telling both to the children as well as themselves and also to the objectives of story telling. These included entertainment, promotion of a reading habit, therapy, as well as promoting good ethics and culture amongst the children.
Various methods of telling a story were highlighted to the participants and these included:
- Talking books
- Picture scroll
- Pictures and posters
As a way to encourage the participation of all the participants, a story telling session was organized amongst the group during the last day of the workshop to enable the participants to put into practice what they had been taught. This session was the most exciting one for the participants as they had to put themselves into the shoes of children and be part of the story telling session. Some used drama to tell their stories whilst others preferred to use props during their story telling session.
A point to note was that word spread so fast amongst the nursery schools located in Bulawayo about this workshop and everyone wanted to attend but it was a bit too late as the workshop was already full. There are plans to hold another workshop but the participants have to pay to attend.
As highlighted above, this workshop was an eye opener to all the participants and many were of the opinion that more workshops on story telling can be held to look at other aspects related to story telling.
It was noted that there was a shortage of story telling items like books, talking books, puppets and props and so it was a challenge to tell a story without these items. This resulted in the participants to just read a story and not tell it to the children.
Furthermore, there was need for the schools to also involve parents in story telling as they are also part of the equation. The involvement of parents would ensure that story telling does not end at school but it is extended to the home front thus strengthening its influence and impact on the children who is exposed to it.
- A need was expressed by the participants that a follow up workshop should be organized looking at producing story telling aids like puppets, posters, pictures and many others. This will help alleviate the shortage of these aids as most of them will be locally produced instead of being sourced from South Africa and other countries.
- There is need to capacitate various educational institutions with reading books as most of these do not have books to use for story telling. Books like Ladybirdís would really go a long way in solving this vacuum.
- Each participating institution was mandated to declare every WEDNESDAY as story telling day with immediate effect. Every participant committed himself/herself to this declaration.
In conclusion, the section would like to thank big IBBY for making this workshop a reality for the participants who participated in this workshop. It is our hope that this workshop will open a new chapter for us as a section as well as the participants as regards story telling activities in their institutions and as well as for the section in spearheading activities related to story telling and reading development in our beloved Zimbabwe. Once gain THANK YOU very much.
Keith Munyengeterwa, IBBY Zimbabwe