Now, do we all have to tell story after story, year after year? No, but hey, it might be worth a try. Beniko does not see her kids but once per week so her situation is way different from mine. Myself, I still do other kinds of CI too. But what Beniko’s work with SL has done for me is open up a whole new way of providing CI for the kids, a simpler way, an easier way, and a more nurturing way that brings me full-circle back to my childhood when we were not compelled to listen, nor assessed, nor made to DO anything with the stories. Rather, we let them wash over us, fill our hearts and our imaginations and our spirits with new ideas, new experiences, and new words and ways of putting them together. And from those stories, we became US.
I am so grateful to Beniko for the long years of work and research that have shown that this simple, joyful, easy, and affordable (how’s free sound?) way to engage with our students is not a time-filler or an add-on or a waste of time. She has taken the time to prove that just sharing stories – real or imaginary, from last night’s news, or from a comic strip like Jillane Baros does, or from a traditional tale or even our lives or the lives of our students – just simply sharing stories is sufficient.
Beniko said that she did not start out to prove or disprove Krashen’s work. And, being unsuccessful in ever disproving it, she was successful in showing that simply sweeping the kids along in a compelling storyline is sufficient.
Teachers, do not fret about the “new thing” because it is the “old thing”. It is as old and as natural and as human as can be. It is what every parent does to quiet their kid down for sleep. It is so darn easy, it feels too good to be true. All you have to do is grab a favorite story and try it. There is not much to learn and nothing to buy. The hardest part, really, is allowing ourselves to believe that something so easy can actually lead to language gains.
SL holds real potential for teachers in poor schools and poor countries. It is free, requires little training, and is engaging and effective. Thank you Beniko for your work in introducing this concept to us.