English

For teachers, educators, students, parents, godparents, siblings!

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF LISTENING TO CHILDREN AND THEIR STORIES!

This is an introduction to Storycrafting in a nutshell! Try out Storycrafting a few times. Do this preferably with a child or a group of children. Also have a go at Storycrafting with an adult or a group of adults. Discuss with others what their experiences of Storycrafting have been like. Take turns to describe how the Storycrafting situation began, what happened next, and read aloud the story that was produced, if you have the storyteller’s permission. Compare each other’s experiences. Usually Storycrafting takes around 10-15 minutes, but sometimes it can last only a short while, or for a long stretch of time. It is up to the storyteller. Let the storyteller tell the story without interruptions.
PS. It’s really important that you are truly interested in listening to the story being told by the storyteller. Otherwise they may not want to tell their story.

STORYCRAFTING IN A NUTSHELL

The Storycrafting method is suitable for everyone, and it is easy to use. The idea behind Storycrafting is to give the opportunity to a child, young person or an adult to talk about their thoughts. During Storycrafting, the listener and scribe on the other hand is truly interested and wants to listen to what the teller has to say in that moment.

HOW TO BEGIN STORYCRAFTING

Say to a child, a group of children (or an adult):
”Please tell a story that you would like to tell.
I will write it down, just as you tell it.
When the story is finished, I will read it aloud.
At that point, you can correct the story or make changes, if you wish.”

Prompt (don’t ask!) a child, a group of children or an adult, “Please tell a story!” Then write down the story exactly in the way the teller tells it in that moment. Write it down word for word without making any changes or corrections. When the story is finished, read it aloud to the teller, so that they can make any changes or corrections, if they so wish. It is nice to read the story out to others as well (pupils, parents or other adults), if you have the storyteller’s permission to do so. Make notes of the circumstances surrounding the Storycrafting experience: how did it begin, what did you think, how the storyteller reacted to the situation, what made you wonder, etc. Ask permission from the storyteller to take a copy of the story and read it aloud to others. Do this after the Storycrafting is over. The important thing is to create a situation, where you genuinely show your interest to listen to the other. Therefore, try to avoid making it feel like you’re just doing an assignment. Often the teller needs time to think about what to say. The silence may seem like a long time to the scribe, but have patience to wait without interrupting or panicking.

A child often wants to draw a picture of their experience. Sometimes children prefer to draw a picture first and then tell their story. Also make a note of the teller’s name, age, the date the story was told and the place where it was told. On a separate sheet of paper, you could make some notes about how the situation began, what happened next, as well as what you were thinking and feeling at the time. After a few sessions of Storycrafting, the Storycrafter (scribe) will begin to feel more comfortable with the practices of the Storycrafting method.

Children’s stories can be collected in a special binder on your bookshelf, or you can display them on the walls for the children to see. New stories can be told whenever, wherever and by anybody. The important thing is that the adult or even a younger scribe is truly interested in hearing, what the teller wants to say, and communicates this also with their expressions. Storycrafting becomes the teller’s and the listener’s shared experience. It is born “in the space between us”, when one wants to tell and the other wants to listen. Storycrafting happened in shared time. The story is not meant to be assessed or judged in any way, and you should not make any excessive interpretations. The teller decides, what the story is to be like. It could be only a couple of words, a “book”, a real experience or even a joke. It should be celebrated together. When you scribe a young child’s stories frequently, the child will notice how their speech is transformed into letters, which can be read back later in exactly the same words that were written. Many children have become aware of the connection between spoken and written language, and have learned to read and write as if by themselves.

It has been noted that Storycrafting brings about the most knowledge when a child has the opportunity to tell stories frequently. When repeated frequently enough, you begin to her how the child’s mind works and what are their foremost thoughts in any given situation. It provides building blocks for identity formation. The child becomes used to telling stories in different situations and to different people, which boosts their confidence. The most fun thing about Storycrafting is spending time together and rejoicing, as well as encountering the other in a new way, which builds a feeling of community!
Wishing you many joyful Storycrafting moments,

Professor Liisa Karlsson, University of Eastern Finland
liisa.karlsson (at) gmail.com

References:

Children are Telling:

Karlsson, L., Levamo, T.-M. & Siukonen, S. (2014). Your mango, my mango, our mango – storycrafting across cultures. Helsinki: Taksvärkki ry.
Read Mango in English

Karlsson, L. (2013). Storycrafting method – to share, participate, tell and listen in practice and research. The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, Special Volumes VI Design in Mind, 6(3), 1109–1117.

Read Storycrafting method

Karlsson, L. (2014). Children’s voices in context of art education and circumstances for interaction. In: Ruokonen, I. & Ruismäki, H. (eds.) Voices for Tomorrow – The 6th Journal of Intercultural Arts Education. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, Department of Teacher Education, pp. 25–34.

Read Voices for tomorrow

Hohti, R. & Karlsson, L. (2013). Lollipop Stories: Listening to children’s voices in the class-room and narrative ethnographical research. Childhood. doi:10.1177/0907568213496655

Read Lollipop Stories