Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Get Your Message to Teens by Using Stories

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Get Your Message to Teens by Using Stories

Article excerpt

GROWING up in Katherine in the Northern Territory, Toula Gordillo has been exposed to indigenous culture and the use of Dreamtime stories since she was a teenager.

Ms Gordillo believes storytelling has helped shape who she is today.

The clinical psychologist and school guidance officer of 20 years said there was so much we could learn from the indigenous art of storytelling to get life-changing messages through to teenagers.

With three teens of her own, Ms Gordillo knows how challenging it can be to get them to listen.

"Lecturing doesn't work. They just switch off," she said.

"Telling them what to do can bring about resistance, so we have to find other ways.

"The best way I have found to deliver important messages to teens and pre-teens is through a story, which can be oral, written with pictures or digital.

"Stories can help you to build a relationship, communicate and deliver important information without resistance."

As part of her PhD studies and informal research, Ms Gordillo has found that stories and images are what our youth relate to.

"They are growing up online, and when you think about it, digital media like Facebook and Instagram tells a story through pictures and images," she said.

Ms Gordillo said while many families read to their children, they tended to stop as they got older.

"We should not stop telling stories. I believe it is the most effective way to instil important lessons in life," she said.

"The indigenous culture never stops telling stories.

"It is something they have learnt over thousands of years, because it works. We can all learn from that."

A tale Ms Gordillo uses with her clients is an adapted version of Aesop's Fable.

It is the story of the Frog and the Scorpion, which Ms Gordillo uses to highlight certain behaviours to individuals of all ages. …

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