Dutton is the founder and editor of the Web site Arts & Letters Daily, named by the Guardian as “the best Web site in the world.” In The Art Instinct, Dutton explains our need for art as an evolutionary adaptation. In chapter 6, “The Uses of Fiction”, Dutton focuses on literature and story-telling. Joseph Carroll’s work on the evolution of literature supports the core of his argument.
For Dutton’s review of Joseph Carroll’s Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature see http://denisdutton.com/carroll_review.htm.
4. Kieran Egan. Teaching as Story Telling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School. University Chicago Press. 1989
My understanding of Kieran Egan’s work is, for all practical purposes, second hand. That said, it is knowledge gained in workshops and conversations from Carol Ann Dahlberg (co-author of Languages and Children, Making the Match) in her presentation on the power and near-necessity of using “story” as the guiding principal for teaching and the designing of lessons at all levels: activity, hour, unit, course. If we teachers (and parents) frame EVERYTHING we do with our learners around a story-structure, we can appeal to an innate function of the human mind that allows us to acquire more efficiently through story.
More from Egan directly can be found at http://www.educ.sfu.ca/kegan/TaST.html
5. Daniel H. Pink. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. Riverhead Trade: 2006.
Pink argues that in our current age of Abundance and Automation with much of our information-age work now being done in Asia, that we can and will distinguish ourselves by doing work that satisfies clients’ and consumers’ needs for products and services with high touch and high concept. There is an enormous amount of critical work that can neither be automatized nor outsourced. It is post-information age, post left-brain generated work that will depend on our (and our students’) ability to demonstrate facility in six areas: Design, Symphony, Story, Play, Empathy, and Meaning.
While TPRS and similar Input-driven methods may not employ or require an obvious and direct amount of visual design, TPRS by design does help teachers and students practice Symphony (language not in isolation, but in totality), Story (binding language forms to narratives), Play (the necessity of tomfoolery and goofiness in a TPRS room), Empathy (the teacher MUST know the students for TPRS to work, and the students MUST listen to each other) and Meaning (we learn the language as a vehicle to reach other people, and we constantly ask why, why, why.)
Pink’s work is extraordinary, and Pink is extraordinarily accessible.
Appleton East High School
9 thoughts on “Byron Despres-Berry”
Wow…this is good stuff. I love this line:
” If we teachers (and parents) frame EVERYTHING we do with our learners around a story-structure, we can appeal to an innate function of the human mind that allows us to acquire more efficiently through story.”
We are wired for this…cognitively, emotionally, spiritually.
No comment here. Just thinking about what Bryon said above, repeating that one particular italicized paragraph below just because it is so important to say, to read and read again.
It is like the first glimmers of a sunrise, like the play of light on the edge of the planet, so far away, yet personally so close and so familiar. It is somehow so real, and conveys something genuinely new in language instruction. It conveys ideas that are vastly different from the fear based thoughts that I used to think were important to convey to my students in teaching languages. Really, I have been waiting all my teaching life to read these words:
“While TPRS and similar input-driven methods may not employ or require an obvious and direct amount of visual design, TPRS by design does help teachers and students practice Symphony (language not in isolation, but in totality), Story (binding language forms to narratives), Play (the necessity of tomfoolery and goofiness in a TPRS room), Empathy (the teacher MUST know the students for TPRS to work, and the students MUST listen to each other) and Meaning (we learn the language as a vehicle to reach other people, and we constantly ask why, why, why.)”
Thank you, Byron and all your fellow Concordia Commandos whom I know are all about that paragraph too!
This stuff really works. Take it from a student who has experienced TPRS and the typical “textbook and grammar memorization” styles of teaching. Story telling works so much better. Not to mention how much more interesting being involved in a story is than simple busy-work.
And Mr. Slavic…since you never seem to get my emails I figured maybe I could contact you through this blog. Email me at the address a put in. Tom and I have been looking to possibly get together with you. Grab some lunch or something.
Ok warning: It’s a university professor’s lecture about the power of storytelling, at times a little boring, BUT it offers more evidence regarding use of stories to teach anything and gives an unusual perspective to the storytelling process in general. (I got more from it the second time around)
Ira Glass also has some interesting videos on telling stories on youtube. I especially liked #3 because when you have a bad day, and think you really are awful at tprs, it’s great to hear his message.
video number 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7KQ4vkiNUk
This is great stuff, Byron. Thanks for sharing.
I was just thinking yesterday about the importance of that blog, which should be reposted here every three weeks. I have to remember to do that.
I could honestly happily spend the rest of my days generating/ collating/ polemicizing/ and annotating bibliographies for us.
Any money in that? How would that work?
I’m glad the summaries of those three beautiful books landed on ready readers. Pink is amazing. And Eagan is an enchanter. Dutton: some doses of silliness, but the chapter on uses of fiction is remarkable.
Two other books on the list I handed out to the immersed Germans: Guy Cook’s “Language Learning, Language Play” (get over the drudgery of practical useful language and the instrumentalization of all the exercises and use your class as a REFUGE for play with language!! A radical argument against too much every-day blah blah.
And then Wolfgang Butzkamm’s “Lust zu Lehren, Lust zu Lernen” (Desire to teach, desire to learn). My dream retiree occupation had been to translate the Butzkamm into English: he beat me to the punch and released his own English version of it this winter. He’s all about exploiting all the tools in the learners kit to move them along, especially a principled use of the Mother Tongue: nothing about story-telling, but plenty about exploiting the skills learners come into class with. Butzkamm is a bit heavy-handed in his argument for the role of grammar instruction, but he does also provide a decent argument that can be smithied into our pop-ups. And the man knows his history of language instruction. For that alone the book is worth the money.
I was already loving Byron’s suggestions and making lists of what to read, and then the Ira Glass storytelling #1 and his “boring story” with the repetition had me focused completely. (I wanted to know…why was it quiet?) His explanation supports everything I’ve been trying to learn lately.
The #2 “kill any boring story” made me laugh, because when we start a story with kids, sometimes the stories just go nowhere. But sometimes the kids slide up and sit on the edge of their seats, and that’s the story you mine for details and spend time on. # 3 made me, like Carol, forgive myself for any boring stories.
And #4, that one was the perfect reminder to talk to the kids about the language a tiny bit, about me a little, and about them a lot. And to do so genuinely. Thanks Carol and Byron!