Friday, March 28, 2008

The British Curriculum: Strands of Conversation

The British curriculum for Key Stage 3 in primary school is described as having 12 strands:

1. Speaking
2. Listening and Understanding
3. Group Discussion
4. Drama
5. Word Recognition
6. Word Structure and Spelling
7. Understanding and Interpreting Texts
8. Responding to Texts
9. Creating and Shaping Texts
10. Text Structure and Organization
11. Sentence Structure and Punctuation
12. Presentation

All are in conversation must be in conversation in order for them to be fully understood. All are addressed when telling and listening to stories.

Storytelling as Conversation

I've already articulated the reasons for which conversation makes a very apt model for learning. Now I'll extend the argument to an equation that is the same backward as it is forward (storytelling as conversation: conversation as storytelling).

1. All conversation contains convention.

2. Convention is, by definition, what we take for granted.

3. All stories are made of conventions and other elements that are new.

4. By responding to the conventional meanings in existing stories with new stories, storytelling becomes a kind of conversation between us and received wisdom.

Conversation as Storytelling

What is conversation but a series of stories batted (or gently tossed) between at least two parties? One story either contradicts another, context shapes the story that is chosen, and so on.

I joined CAGSE because the CEO believes strongly that storytelling as a bridge between children's experience and that of the past, present, future -- in any subject area. And we add the element of Latin language taught as conversation as well. From the largest elements (beginnings, endings, and so on) to the smallest (words and their meaning), students start to look at the world around them in new ways.

Some of this can be seen in the blog posts. All of it is very exciting indeed.

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