Everybody has a story: Use of Storytelling to address inclusion and diversity in primary classrooms
Dr. Dimple Rangila
Children’s ability for sharing and exchange of stories in the classroom can lead to a form of anecdotal learning that can be particularly useful for many children who might otherwise face difficulty in sharing their thoughts and ideas. Even though need for storytelling and its benefits for children have been established by many researchers but there is limited relevant literature in the Indian context. The study envisaged that storytelling can develop and integrate awareness, sensitivity, understanding and appreciation of empirical realities of the children’s world. The present paper attempts to demonstrate through specific exploration of storytelling in primary classroom, its role which is far more complex and interplays at multiple levels than is often believed. The participants in the study were primary school children from three private and three state-run schools of Delhi. Participatory and constructive tools were used to generate storytelling voices of children. Findings revealed that use of storytelling led to discussions on various themes such as individual differences, sensitivity toward others and also awareness of one’s own self. Multiple views on an issue made the classroom more inclusive. Children reacted to the dialogues and discussions by participating, and giving spontaneous reviews and reactions. These dialogues infused and initiated an understanding of having multiple perspectives and they understood diversity in its true sense by being exposed to various experiences that other children had to offer. It turned out to be a powerful tool for learning and enabled students to be empowered social and cultural beings. Use of storytelling in classrooms had the potential to build up an environment that encouraged a respect for cultural diversity in classrooms.