In the spring of 1977 when I first arrived at Wayne State University and met Don Bissett, the senior faculty member of the Children's Literature Center to which I would be assigned, his first words to me were: “Get ready to teach the storytelling course. It will be offered in the fall.” I'd never told a story formally before then and, with only a few months to prepare myself, you can imagine my feelings at the prospect of teaching this course. Aside from the anxiety of assuming the role of professor of a performance course (unlike the academic courses I'd previously taught), I experienced a much more basic emotion—the fear of telling a story to an audience of adults. Today, although I can now confidently deliver stories to a wide variety of audiences, including adults, I have not forgotten that initial anxiety and have come to recognize it as the single most serious impediment for adult beginning storytellers.
Needless to say, in the intervening years since I taught that first storytelling class and thanks to the patience and understanding of the many graduate students who have enrolled in the course, I've learned a great deal about storytelling, in particular, techniques for helping adults develop basic storytelling competence and confidence. From a very subjective perspective, I believe the techniques I've used in the course have been effective. I'm satisfied that my current students emerge from the course as successful beginning storytellers. I have, however, begun to subject specific teaching/learning theory and technique to empirical examination and have designed additional experimentation for the years to come. Thus, the learning will continue in a more objective and rigorous fashion. I believe, however, that the time has come to share with others what I have learned about