VietTESOL International Convention, VietTESOL International Convention 2019

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Storytelling in the Classroom: From telling stories to focus-on-form
Michael Carroll

Building: Library
Room: D105
Last modified: 2019-08-09


Telling stories and listening to stories are fundamental to the use of language, but they are often neglected in EFL classrooms. In particular, storytelling is often seen as an activity lacking applicability to examination goals: something which ‘would be nice to do, if only we had the time’. This perception of a lack of rigour, though, is mistaken. In fact, storytelling, narrating, recounting events are rich sources of authentic grammar-in-context. (Pridham, 2001, In fact, to use Harmer’s Engage-Study-Activate typology, they are highly effective in engaging learners’ interest, susceptible to focussed grammar study, and appropriate means of activating newly learned linguistic knowledge.

This workshop will explore ways of using storytelling in the classroom, and integrating storytelling with ‘serious’ focus on form (grammar and vocabulary) so as to result in more effective learning.

There workshop will have three sections:

  1. A brief introduction to the language features of narratives and recounts
  2. An activity in which participants will be asked to analyse a spoken recount in terms of these language features - with a view to how they would present this analysis to learners
  3. A ‘theatre-journals’ activity in which participants will be shown a model of a technique for teaching form through a story, and asked to use it as a model for producing their own simulation.


storytelling; focus-on-form; teaching methodology