Storytelling: Art and Technique

By Ellin Greene | Go to book overview

9
Storytelling to Young Adults

At a time when the young person feels bombarded by inner changes and the
world's expectations and constraints; at a time when the adult feels bombarded
by the resulting changes, questions, and criticisms, the coming together of story-
teller and listener is even sweeter, and the naturally occurring rapport developed
between teller and listener even more powerful. Don't think that storytelling
isn't important for this age group. It is even more important!

—Beth Horner1

YOUNG ADULTS OFTEN QUESTION the appropriateness of storytelling as an activity for them, but many of the values of storytelling discussed in Chapter 3 are pertinent to the needs of adolescents. For example, literary fairy tales, with their underlying meaning, humanistic philosophy, and bittersweet mood, are especially meaningful to young people who are becoming aware of their individuality and who find their values in conflict with society. These tales give the young adolescent courage to explore his or her inner space, dreams, images, and feelings, and through imagination, to construct a self.

In her article "To Tell or Not to Tell: Storytelling for Young Adults," Beth Horner recommends "a gradual exposure to storytelling by integrating it into successful existing programs or into situations in which the young adult is a captive audience, such as the school assembly or classroom."2 A guest storyteller can ask to be introduced as one who has come to talk about storytelling rather than as a storyteller.

Classroom projects, such as collecting family stories, using stories as a springboard to creative writing, or learning to tell stories to young children (see Chapter 10), create an interest in storytelling for its own sake.

Many adults are intimidated at the prospect of telling stories to adolescents. However, this age group can also be the most satisfying and fun group with which to share stories. An excellent aid is Storytelling for Young Adults:.Techniques andTreasury by Gail deVos. This book is divided into two major sections. The first section presents the values of storytelling for young adults and basic storytelling techniques for this age-group, and suggests how to integrate storytelling and storytelling techniques into the classroom. The second section summarizes approximately 200 stories

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