Annual Storytelling Festival – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Annual Storytelling Festival

Students in Professor of Education Charlie Temple’s course titled “Storytelling” will host the third Annual Children’s Storytelling Festival on Thursday, April 14. Over the past month the students have been working with more than 50 students from North Street School to help them create and prepare traditional folk stories to be shared with their friends and families. The event will be held in Albright Auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The course, “Storytelling” focuses on how to teach storytelling to young students and according to Temple “the best way to learn something is to teach it and that definitely applies to storytelling techniques and teaching younger children how to tell stories.”

Members of the “Storytelling” course have spent about an hour each week visiting the school where they share their stories, help students make storyboards and teach the students how to use their arms and faces as helpful tools when storytelling.

There are several benefits for students taking the course. In addition to getting to work with students in the community, several are enrolled in the Education program at the Colleges and see the course as an opportunity to equip them with a skill that will be particularly useful when working in the classroom. Louisa Rogers’13, a student enrolled in the course, has “learned how to interact with the children and have fun with them.” In addition she feels that the class has “taught [her] how to be a better teacher.”

Temple agrees that there is a lot that future teachers can gain from partaking in the course. He feels that “Storytelling is important to be able to teach but it’s also important for students in my class to be able to do it themselves. Having good oral communication – in word and gesture – is tremendously important for any potential teacher.”

The elementary students also learn a great deal from the experience. Rogers has seen a big “improvement in the children’s self confidence and public speaking skills” since she began working with them. Danielle Shaw ’14, who is also enrolled in the course, believes that the partnership and Festival will help the students “feel more comfortable standing up and speaking in front of their peers.” She feels that public speaking is an important skill for the students to develop and storytelling is a fun outlet for them to develop that skill.

Through her participation in the course Shaw realized “how much fun storytelling can be. The kids get so animated and into their stories which makes it hard not to have as good of a time as they are having.”

The Festival is a great way to “reward the students’ hard work” believes Rogers who is looking forward to the students being able to share their stories with family and friends. Members of the community are invited to attend the event.

A member of the HWS faculty since 1982, Temple holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Virginia. In 2005, he received a Fulbright Scholar Award that helped fund his sabbatical in Romania, where he helped two universities in Cluj — the nation’s third-largest city — improve teaching and change curriculum.

In addition to his teaching duties at Hobart and William Smith, Temple co-founded the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Project (RWCT) in 1997. Promoting concepts and methods for active learning, RWCT has helped more than 2 million students in 32 countries become more active and engaged classroom learners. As director of RWCT, Temple travels around the globe helping teachers learn the skills necessary to teach their students to be critical thinkers.

In the photo above, Yannerline Duarte ’10 tells a story to the audience during the Storytelling festival in 2010.