I saw this quote from the late, great Ursula Le Guin this week, and I thought it made a great starting point for this blog.
I’ve spoken about why reading matters outside of being an important life skill, but I’ve never spoken about stories.
I’m really lucky that in the setting I teach in we have small groups. My biggest class size is ten and all of my students will get on with their work quickly again if we take a short break. Lessons are long, so often we do take a quick brain break and we just chat about what’s happened that week or something we’ve seen in the news. We tell each other stories.
We focus in Functional Skills on all communication having a purpose, a goal that, once achieved, marks that act of communication as satisfactory. But we don’t often think about communication as satisfactory in itself.
We use language only because we live in a society. Without the presence of other people, there would be no need to communicate. Sometimes being able to summarise the T.V programme you watched last night or explain why your bus journey was long are conclusions, and skills, in and of themselves.
I’ll talk more about stories in the sense of folk tales next week, but, for this week, try to give weight to those lulls in your class where students just talk.