Teaching with Stories as the Content and Context for Learning
Undergraduate teacher education program students have the opportunity to work with diverse student populations in a local school district in the Four Corners Area in the Northwest part of New Mexico. The family oral history practicum is a way to connect theory and practice while recognizing the issue that language is not a neutral landscape. What better way to demonstrate this complementarity than through stories. The goal is to bring an awareness of respect for oral language in relationship to literate language and explore how to balance both perspectives in school culture as prospective teachers.
Preservice teacher candidates become storytelling coaches and team up with third graders in semester long storytelling projects, collaborating with local elementary school teachers. Students' family stories become the content and context for teaching and learning. With a diverse classroom population of Navajo, Hispanic, Mexican, and White students, family stories are the heart and central theme of the project. Storytelling coaches learn the nuances of diversity when theory is massaged with authentic experience of students as they share what they have learned beside their young storytellers and authors.
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