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CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOKS H1R IANGt:i\GE TEACHERS

General Editors: Michael Swan and Roger Bowers

This is a series of practical guides for I"eachns of English and other


Once Upon a Tillle
languages. Illustrative examples are usually drawn from the field of English
as a foreign or second language, but the ideas and techniques described can
equally well be used in the teaching of any language.
Using stories in the
In this series: language classroom
Drama Techniques in Language Learning - A resource book of
communication activities for language teachers
by Alan Matey and Atan Duff
Games for Language Learning
by Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby
]ahnMargan
Discussions that Work - Task-centred fluency practice by Penny Ur and Maria Rinvalucri
Once Upon a Time - Using stories in the language classroom
by John Morgan and Mario Rinvolucri
Teaching Listening Comprehension by Penny Ur
Keep Talking - Communicative fluency activities fot language teaching
by Friederike Ktippel
Working with Words - A guide re teaching and learning vocabulary
by Ruth Cairns and Stuart Redman
Learner English - A teacher's guide to interference and other problems
edited by Michaet Swan and Bernard Smith
Testing Spoken Language - A handbook of oral testing techniques
by Nic Underhitl
Literature in the Language Classroom - A resource book of ideas and
activities by Joanne Collie and Stephen Slater
Dictation - New methods, new possibilities
by Paul Davis and Mario Rinvolucri
Grammar Practice Activities - A practical guide for teachers by Penny Ur The dgh, 0l,he
Unipe,s;ty 0/ Com})"dge
10 prult and ulJ
all manner of ooakt

"';03' granted. by

H~!Ir}' V/I! irt }JJf.

The -Ulllrns/ly Im.r plinr e4

wld I'lIhli.fhCd COrtflntlously

,Iill(,( JJ8.f.

.11111,,111 1 .1' (lJ1IVL'I~;ily Press


"1\1.".1·, .
I I· , ,,' i I;, n' U." I or ""
~i, 11" I,,,. ', .. 1", \
Published by the Press Syndicate of till" 1flllV~J .... If .d ( .11I1I11I1I1, ,c
Contents

The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, ( ':JJIIlll JIII~(' I '" lit I'

32 East 57th Street, New York, NY I ODn, 1J:,,\

10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourn' \ 1/'1,.1\11'.1] "h:l

© Cambridge University Press 1983

First published 1983

Fifth printing 1988


Techniques Stories Page

Printed in Great Britain To the Teacher 1

at the University Press, Cambridge


Section 1 Telling a story The hunchback 5

Library of Congress catalogue card number: 83-5356


The river 12

Section 2 Stories and follow-ups 13

British Library cataloguing in publication data 2.1 Revenge questions The inventor 13

Morgan, John King Caliban 16

2.2 Theme pictures Kacuy 18

Once upon a time - (Cambridge handbooks for 2.3 For beginners MrsPeters 20

language teachers) 2.4 Taking roles The bear that wasn't 23

1. English language - Study and teaching­ 2.5 Theme words Jack and the beanstalk 25

Foreign students 2.6 Discussion Peacocks 27

I. Title n. Rinvolucri, Mario Freyfaxi 28

428.2'4'091 PE1128 2.7 Shapes and characters Rumpelstiltsk in 29

ISBN 0521252695 hard covers


2.8 Completion The two sons 31

ISBN 0 521 272629 paperback


Yvonne 32

2.9 Story to poem Willow 32

The singing mushrooms 34

2. J() In new clothes Th.epiperofRome 35

2.1 J Birth order The Billy Goats Gruff 36

2..12 Problem stories The two doors 37

Unexpected 38

.2..1'\ A serial story The sign ofthe broken 38

sword

2.1 /1 Story ro picture An anecdote 40

SCI:~ion 3 Hl'tl'llinl~ 41

'..1 1'.\1 ;.11('1 ~l11I"lC'''' Seguin 's goat 41

TIll:' (:{It that wal1ud by itself 42

Once Upon a Time was originally published in pilot form by Pilgrims n If' ,Inee bears 43

Publications, Canterbury, England. This Cambridge Univcrslly Press echtlOn 1,,1',11'11-' 44

ha~ been extensively revised and cxpandcd. Itl'" I""'I1'/S 47

1I1I1"/"',II,! 4S
1/"/'1,,1'1}1/ \ I
Techniques St"" .... Page Techniques Stories Page

7.5 Fire stories 94

Section 4 Before I begin... 54


7.6 Hiding things 95

4.1 Grammar practice (;oM duI' ;,>.,' 54


7.7 Heroes and heroines 95
'I 'f!/'l'I' 1I'lshl's 55
7.8 Stories from jobs The wrpark attendant 96

"Un' tIJlI'I' liltlt~ pigs 56


7.9 Shame The orchard 97

4.2 Theme sentences HreJllfslm'l'lJr'Silent 57

4.3 A picture starter (;dert 59


Section 8 Vanishing stories God in a matchbox 98
The IJigl'oll 59

4.4 Picture rose The qllilrrymall 60


Section 9 Revision
9.1 A story you really liked 102

Section 5 Co-operative telling


63 9.2 Music 103

5.1 In the language lab The unicorn 63 9.3 Doodlestrip review 104

Two brothers 65

5.2 Group story The ghost 65


Section 10 Story pool 105

5.3 Dictation The seventh rose


66 A Snow 105

No name wom,m 68
B The pullover 105
5.4 Scene to story The dragon ofNara
69 C Honour 106
5.5 A story from four words 72
D The figtree 106
5.6 Three item stories 73
E Ivar 107
5.7 Random story 74 F In the cellar 107

5.8 Picture composition 75 G The donkey 108

5.9 Dictogloss Solomon's judgement 77 H Oogledeboo 108

The forced burglar 77 I The man, the snake, and 109

the stone

Section 6 Students'stories 79
J The baby 110
6.1 Mumble, listen, tell 79
K The husband 110
6.2 Comprehension questions The giant tortoise
80 L Enkidu 110
6.3 Spoof stories Cambodian soupstone 80 M Ophir 111

Air travel 81
N A horse race 112
6.4 Story of the film 82
o The wisdom ofthe world 112

6,5 Love stories Rapunzel 82 P The princess and the pea 113

6.6 From beginnings ... Frog in a well 83


Q Thepaem 114
Grandpa 84 R Analdman 114

Three-wheeler 84
S Ants 115
6.7 ... to endings Wild cat 85 T The magic barrel 116

6.8 Objects tell stories 86 NI,I,". "HtI"II~',i',('''liIlIlS 117

6.9 Doodlestrips 87

6.10 Triple stories 88 PI""" I ipl 119

Section 7 From the past l)() \. ),,1,,\\,11"111:' 111"111'. 120

7.1 Photos l)()


7.2 Y~~rcrdHY ')2
7.. ~ Tilll"-! ravl'llllil'1'l'! 'I j

.LI I1 h''!'!Il'IL,·,lllI nil' qi


To the teacher
Thanks

Among both practising language teachers and applied linguists there


We wish to thank the following people: ~s an IOcreasmg awareness that successfu.l second-language learning
Students with whom we have learnt to tell stories. is far more a matter of unconscious acquisition than of conscious,
systemaric study. Stephen Krashen (Second Language Acquisition
Both sceptical and enthusiastic colleagues, in particular .lane
and Second Language Learning, Pergamon 1981) goes so far as to
Lockwood, Katya Benjamin, Paul Davis, Mo Stcll1gcman, Cynthia
say that 'the major function of the second-language classroom is to
Beresford, .lan Aspeslagh, Charles Williams, .lames Dixey, Michael
provide intake for acquisition'.
Swan, Margaret Callow, Carlos Maeztu, Richard and Marjorie
It ~s o~r view that the 'intake' required to facilitate language
Baudins, Elena Morgan, Lindsay Brown, Loren McGrail, Sarah
~cqUlS1tlOn wdl be very different from the materials currently provided
Braine.
m the dassroom as part of systematic structural or notional courses.
Bernard Dufeu who opened our eyes to the psychodrama use of If ,unconscious processes are to be enlisted, then the whole person
tales. Will need to be engaged: we shall no longer be able to rely on the
The artistic oral tradition we know best is that of the Greek shadow learner's general 'motivation' or on the intrinsic charms of the target
puppeteers and we particularly want to acknowledge the insights bnguage to sustain him or her through the years of monotonous
drilling and bland role-play, Classroom activities will have to be
gained from working with Giorgos Charidimos.
slructurcd to serve immediate rather than long-term needs, to promote
Books that have helped us in our thinking about the oral story I'atl!cr than practise communication and expression,
include: ' This book is offered as a step in that direction. Within the frame of
Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment, Penguin 1978 srofytelling-that most ancient and compelling of human activities-we
Iona and Peter Opie, The Classic Fairy Tales, OUP 1974 Ill' >])OSC a \vide range of classroom exercises and more than 70 story
V1adimir Propp, Morphology of the Fo/ktale, Austin 1968 ol1dil1cS ('skeletons') for you and your students to work from. The
Gianni Rodari, Grammatica de/la Fantasia, Einaudi 1973 1''1: 'rcist's range honl introspective to highly i.nteractive; from beginner

Finally, this book owes a heavy debt to the various oral traditions of 1,) advanced; many are offered as communicative altemative~ to
which it 1S a curious continuation, and to individuals whose written I r:lditiollal language-teaching activities; all, we hope, arc engaging

stories we have 'skeletonised' in preparation for many oral ,lllll fL'w:ll'dlng Hl rhcl11,'dves.

tellings.
J (i\N'IIFl.l. ST01UIS' YOLlcouldberight,butifsoyou'rein
].M. ,I ',III:d~ lllillorily, III \1111' 1':-'I1('l'i('Ilt'~ very few teachers of English can
M.R. /"",/ ,tlnll,I,It!nlll.lll'l " IlIll ,111110,';( ,dl 11;1\1(':1 hidd '11 talcr)! as story­
11'111'1'... ~('llillll I '011,1'.;':[" ',\\,1\", II1 ",,'hid, \,(111 Cln work from a bare
1111111T1i' III 111.1,,1, '1"'111 HI,I, 1111 '111.1 ~IL' Idlll'!',

11. '1".111,1) ,111i',II'Jlilll',I!l:11


• ',llll\ rlllll\'III,·,1 \',," 1l'11 1.11111'1
1'''111 dill ,1111111" "11 '111I"ll.d
To the teacher
To the teacher

listening comprehension frolll 1;'11('. TIH' 1.1l1l"l" is always third-person shows the teacher modelling vocahulary from within a group; in 5.1
listening, a kind of eavesclroppill1',lI1.l1 i·. ~I r:\llgely uncompelling. To a use IS found for the language lahoratory.
be told a stOry by a live storyteller, Oil 1l1l' l'Olllrary, involves onc in
'I-thou' lisrening, where the IiSll'IllTS t ';111 Ji reedy influence the ORAL PRODUCTION There are stories hidden inside everyone.
telling. Even if you arc a non-native Il':lt her of English, the com­ Elementary students will bring them out in dramatic, excited half-sen­
municative gain will more than outwl'igh thl' 'un-Englishness' you tences; advanced speakers will reach out for ever more vivid or exact
may hear in your telling. expression. For all, adequate communication is an attainable miracle
if the teacher is prepared to allow it. Section 6 provides frames for '
the recal,l or creation of students' own stories; Section 7 goes a little
FOLLOWING UP A STORY 'Compn'hL:l1sion ql1'estions' and
deeper-m to one's real or imaginary past.
paraphrase exercises are standard classroom follow-ups to listening
work: after a story they at best dilute, at worst de-stroy, its effect on
PICTURE STORI~S We arc all familiar with the 'picture story' as a
the listener. In Section 2 you will find a variety of alternative follow-up
deVice for provokll1g narrative work. Unfortunately, anyone with
exercises. 2.1, for example, gives the student all opportunity to
no~mal eyeSight produces much the same story, which robs the
decide for himself or herself which questions (if any) he or she wants
te~lll1g of any p~int. In 6,9 -v:e provide symbolic pictures to provoke a
answered, and to hear the answers from a classmate. 2.4 uses role­
WIde range of dIfferent stones, Once they have created their own
assignment to explore the group's feelings towards characters in a
story, students are keen to tell them and to find out what others have
story; 2.14 uses a drawing exercise to help students 'cap' one story
made of the 'doodlestrip':
with another. All the exercises encourage the recycling of new
language.

RETELLING Being required to retell a story to someone who has


just heard it is a pleasure few of us would willingly repeat: yet this is
often what we force upon our students. Section 3 suggests activities
in which retelling is both necessary and enjoyable.

STORIES AND GRAMMAR Many traditional stories abound in


powerful repeated phrases (e.g. 'Who's been sleeping in MY bed?).
For elementary and intermediate students, such stories (suitably ~,T( ),R Y POOL At the end of the book you will find twenty story
chosen) can be used as an almost subliminal grammar input. 4.1 (1IIill1le~ to supplement those scattered through the exercises. We
gives some examples of this. ILIVI' Irf(;d to make these as varied as possible, but tecognise that we
It is also a fairly simple matter to angle your telling and/or follow-up , :1111101 ~P~llld,le range of tastes of all the possible readers of this
exercises in such a way that particular structures are demanded of hook. 11 you hlltl pk;ls11re and profit in telling stories with your class,
the student: ftom common strong verbs to third conditionals. 111('11 Wl' hope yOIl wdl he abk to add your own stories to the pool.
In Section 8 you are introduced to the Silent Way reduction
technique which has the students working intensively on grammar, to. II( )' ,"I'() I( II~ <,
Wt' h;IVl' consciously included a number of fairy
syntax, intonation and meaning all at the same time. After 20 minutes ',llIllC'~. 111 hO<ll.., w,' It-l'IIIII''''' ;Ill-' ~lI,il:lhlc for work with both
i1ll'

intensive work the story they started out from has vanished! " I\' VIIIIII,', 1,',1111<'1', ,111.1 \\'ltl, ,lIltdl~;. hill lhl'y ;lrc prrh:1ps not a good

1"'1 11111111',\ ,I ',I', III "I, d" /, Ill', II1 till'. ,ll~l' !~r()llp W\' sugg 'st you
FROM I.ISTENINC TO OI{AI. I'ROIHI(TI()r-! III Sl'clioll S Wt' 'l'1' I 1111.1(1 " " 1111 • .I'l I,l< I,ll I', 111.1 1,,"hll'lll'iI411 ic";,
suggest W:lys of t'oll:lhor;llilll'. willl ·;lll1h'III'. III tI" 1lIll,ltl(lilll1 01 I '11" I I I. , I,,, '. , , . I \' I, \1 \ • h 11 " I}'.' " r11 IV' 11 I" Ill'. Ill) t. i I1 \ ',r I J I i C' ~
~;lllril'" ~ ',;how~.;1 11.111.11<111'111 (oI., I 11"'111 I •• 1111111111'; " H ,i1, ,,1.1. I I" .. ,.1. I I,. 11.' 11 •• , f 1I'Idl.ll III ,,"t1111 {i1I\III1~j, '" 1,111111
To the teacher

in detail) in the student's 11Iot 111'1 1III 11',1 Il' • 1" ' LUlguage is simple ~et Section 1 Telling a story

the meanings are evocative ,11ll! 11l.IlIY 1.')"'I\'d; and the stones,bnng
back, often in a flood of cxcitCIlIl'1l1, 1111'IIIOd(',~ of one's own chIldhood
and that of one's children.

One day, while testing material for this book, we decided to tell the
same story in each of the two groups of students we were working
with, and to record ourselves while doing so. The story, a Ghanaian
folk tale, goes like this:
A hunchback girl protects her father's beans from wild
animals
In the fields, she is visited by fairies
They ask herfor bean soup
She says she can't bend down to pick the beans, because
of her hump
The fairies remove the hump
She picks the beans and cooks them
The fairies eat, thank her
They replace the hump and leave
Her father tells her: 'You silly girl, you should have run
away before they could replace the hump'
Next day, the same thing, She runs off before they replace
the hump
She hides in the hut from the fairies
A week later there is a dance in the village
She can't resist-joins the dance
While dancing, she feels a weight on her shoulders
She turns, sees the fairies leaving the village
(from Folk Tales and Fables, ed, p, Itayemi & P. Gurrey)

I11 OIl(' rooll1l11C stlldcllt. he~lrd:

TIlI'l!' \\';\', ,I I.ll'IlltT rhe norrh of the country I who


/ ill
\\',1', \'('1 \' I""" f ,llld 1]('
!l:ld <l couple of fields where he
jWil
)',1"\\ 1',1111', ,llId 1,,',111'. ,111.1 dllllJ'" i and he Jived by himself
\\ 1l11111" ,llll)',hl"1 ,lllt'l ,'VITV d:1)' hl' would 'go our to his
11"1,1',11111,1",, 1",1111111" 1',llIl', I IOllk:tfll'r his f:lI'Jll I his
,111\'1.", .0>1,1,11'," I '''1'\\1111111111 ! 1111l"!H'II:HI:lhllll1p
"11 11' I 11" I I" ',11111111 1.1',11 I ,111.1 ',I,," 1>111.111'1.1" ,Ill\, Ic':d
,,,,I 11" ""1,1,, I I" 1,,1 111,11"'11,,1. \ 1',1" ',', I" 111l' 1111>'"
,1'101" 1111,1,,,,1 11',1 "1",1111. I.. 1\1·,110>11,11., 1111111/' \ ' I
To the teacher

in detail) in the student's 11Iot 111'1 1III 11',1 Il' • 1" ' LUlguage is simple ~et Section 1 Telling a story

the meanings are evocative ,11ll! 11l.IlIY 1.')"'I\'d; and the stones,bnng
back, often in a flood of cxcitCIlIl'1l1, 1111'IIIOd(',~ of one's own chIldhood
and that of one's children.

One day, while testing material for this book, we decided to tell the
same story in each of the two groups of students we were working
with, and to record ourselves while doing so. The story, a Ghanaian
folk tale, goes like this:
A hunchback girl protects her father's beans from wild
animals
In the fields, she is visited by fairies
They ask herfor bean soup
She says she can't bend down to pick the beans, because
of her hump
The fairies remove the hump
She picks the beans and cooks them
The fairies eat, thank her
They replace the hump and leave
Her father tells her: 'You silly girl, you should have run
away before they could replace the hump'
Next day, the same thing, She runs off before they replace
the hump
She hides in the hut from the fairies
A week later there is a dance in the village
She can't resist-joins the dance
While dancing, she feels a weight on her shoulders
She turns, sees the fairies leaving the village
(from Folk Tales and Fables, ed, p, Itayemi & P. Gurrey)

I11 OIl(' rooll1l11C stlldcllt. he~lrd:

TIlI'l!' \\';\', ,I I.ll'IlltT rhe norrh of the country I who


/ ill
\\',1', \'('1 \' I""" f ,llld 1]('
!l:ld <l couple of fields where he
jWil
)',1"\\ 1',1111', ,llId 1,,',111'. ,111.1 dllllJ'" i and he Jived by himself
\\ 1l11111" ,llll)',hl"1 ,lllt'l ,'VITV d:1)' hl' would 'go our to his
11"1,1',11111,1",, 1",1111111" 1',llIl', I IOllk:tfll'r his f:lI'Jll I his
,111\'1.", .0>1,1,11'," I '''1'\\1111111111 ! 1111l"!H'II:HI:lhllll1p
"11 11' I 11" I I" ',11111111 1.1',11 I ,111.1 ',I,," 1>111.111'1.1" ,Ill\, Ic':d
,,,,I 11" ""1,1,, I I" 1,,1 111,11"'11,,1. \ 1',1" ',', I" 111l' 1111>'"
,1'101" 1111,1,,,,1 11',1 "1",1111. I.. 1\1·,110>11,11., 1111111/' \ ' I
Telling a story Telling a story

who would ("(1111" .111\\ 111'11111.1" ,,,,, ',I ,Hound / ol1e (bv she had a bean field on the edge of the desert / and one of the
wentouttotlll·fit'l.I 1111,1 whikshewastherc'sotnt daughter's jobs was to go and watch the beanfield / and
fairies came oul ut 1111' "',,' ,.1 I ,Ill' I ,hked her for / make sure no animals or people stoic beans from.it / one
beans / they walll... .1 111'1 '" I ""I 1111'111 / and make them evening she was there / as night was falling / in this part
a meal/she said ;,he 'lllIl.11l 1 I",. ,1I1'.C' ;,Ill' couldn't bend to of the world night falls quickly / and as she was preparing to
pick the beans / SOIIIII',dllll"IIIJI"; ,UIH'uptoherputhis go home suddenly some fairies appeared on the edge of the bean­
hand on her back and lili<'.1 I Ill' 11111111' oil h 'J' hack / and said field / and they came over / and one of them said to her
now you can pick b 'ans / ",..11,,111' ,hd llll~ she picked the / we're hungry / pick us some beans and make us a bean
beans and she put thell1 ill :1 I'''' 111,1111' ,I hrl' cooked the beans soup / but the girl looked at them sadly / and said / I
and gave them to the fairies / ,lllllllll'Y :lI',' them thanhd h-~r can't bend down to pick the beans / but the fairy / came
for them / and turned to gu ;llid ,I;' !I\L'y ldt they replaced the close behind her and lifted / the hump from off her back /
hump on her back / WhclI sll\' (;11111' h;wk to the hut she told and she could stand upright and walk straight / she smiled
her father what had happened and Ill:r f:lch 'r said hOw if they / and began to pick beans / she made a fire / and she
come again / and they prohahly wiil / when they take the made the fairies a bean soup / which they ate greedily
hump off your back / don't f-';O ~\nd pick lhe he,lhs run away / and then disappeared / across the edge of the field back /
and hide / then you'll gn w lip str,light / like the into the desert / and the girl / ran home / but as
other girls / so the next day she we;:J1l our 1'0 the field and the she was running / suddenly / she felt the hump / com­
fairies did come and asked her for bean._ / and took the hump ing back onto her shoulders / and by the time she got home
off her back / and instead of going / out into the field she was stooped forward / and could only walk slowly /
to pick the beans / she turned and ran / as fast as she and she told her father everything that had happened / and
could / she rushed back to the village and hid in the hut / her father said to her / you acted wrong my daughter / you
that evening when her father came home / he advised should have run away as soon as the fairies took the hump off
her to stay in the house / because the fairies now would be your back / they couldn't have found you to put it back on
looking for her / but after a few weeks he thought they again / I'm sure they'll come back tomorrow / when it
would go away / so she stayed in the house / for a happens run away / before they can put the hump back on
week / and / then there was a festival in the village your shoulders / and so the next evening / the girl went to
and all the girls went out into the streets of the village / and the bean field again and sure enough the fairies / appeared
they danced / and the girl looked / out of her window at over the edge of the field / and they asked her to make them a
the girls / in / their bright / costumes / dancing in bean soup again / and a fairy lifted rhe bump from off her
the street / and she couldn't resist it / she'd always loved back / and quickly she ran out of the field aud ran back
dancing and she'd never been able to dance and now she home to the viJlage / she hid in her father's house / and
could / and out into the street she went / danced with the she could walk straight / and she realised that she could
other girls / while she was dancing / she felt a weight / dance / for that evening there was going to be n dance / at
on her shoulders / turned round / and there she saw the the house of some ncighbours where there was a wedding /
fairies / quietly / going off / out of the village and she / later on in the evening she crept out / and
w('nl 10 th(' hflll~t: / fo the ncighbour's house / and joined
In the other room the students heard: I hl' J:lIH'illg / ;llld Ihl'n she saw / on the edge of the /
d;III' 1111', 1'I'lll'Il' / 1111' f:lirics / suddenly / her hump was
Once upon a time there was a village / on the edge of a 111('1" 1111111'1 11,1< I. ''11,1111 / ;,h(' stooped f()[\vard / she could
desert / in the village there Jived a mall who had seven sons 11.1111 LOlll) 111IJl('
he also had one d<.1ughter / his sons were straight and
uprig-ht / but his daughter / well/she had a hUlllp OJ1
her b;1Ck / alllI she, kid ro w;llk hCllf OV(T / and rI,r... 111:1<11' llin '"01
lh(' fTl;11l vny vl'l'y 1I11h:IIlPY :111,1 il 111.1,1(' ,Ill' !',id VI'I\' 1'('1\­
IlIdl.\I'I'\' I ,.Ill" ",d. hi" Ill' I Il,,,,,,, "I' ,.Ill" 'lId,III-' ,lift./ 11"111' 1,11111111'1 1111""llllolll' III

w dl, I 1" "I" d\ 11,.1 .1" . ""1.1,, I ,111'11' " , " '" Ill' I I,l IV 11 I I I,,, I " .. III I' I.. ,". I ,1 '" I" Iill. I 11" I, 11 I ' I"" I, .," 111/1'
Telling a story Telling a story

in numerous ways. Onc L';\I) r(';lddy 1111.1)',111(' till' wide range of factors Finding and choosing stories
that might go to producing Sill h dilk"'IIll"~,: lilt· mood ofthe teller
when he or she first encoLlmLTcd lIll' ",1111 \'; Ilis or her mood while Stories are everywhere: in selecting for this book we have drawn on
telling; the background exrwri('llll'S Ih,ll k:lll, (nr example, to one traditional fairy stories, folk tale collections, newspaper reports,
teller seeing forest where the 01hLT S:I VI' dc.nt landscape; the numher literary short stories, films and plays, personal anecdotes, rumours,
and seating of the audience; the lc1kr's rd;lliollship to the audience; stories from our own childhood and from the childhood of our
and so on and so on. And thcse difkrl'IlLc'. :Ire in rum reflected in the friends, students and colleagues, and on our own imagination, We
language: sometimes fluent, soll1l't i IlIl'S 11l'"j t ;llll alld uncertain, have learned stories from our children and their friends, and from
broken by irregular pauses, but always lh-lillildy s/JOken language, professionals like Propp and Rodari.
the language of personal communicatioll I hat is so often absent from In selecting storics for the classroom, we have been guided by two
the foreign-language classroom. main criteria: is this a story that we would enjoy telling and is this a
In some ways teUing is easier than reading aluud: the reader may story our students might find entertaining or thought-provoking?
be forced to interpret speech patterns ami rhythms very different We have seldom been influenced by purely linguistic considerations
from his or her own; he or she is forced to bccomc aware of things in our choice (though this does play Cl part-see 4,1), and we have
normally taken for granted, such as breathing; and these technical never aUowed the language of an original text to determine suita-
problems may become a barrier hetween him or her and the author I ility-indeed, many of the stories we have used have been taken
just as the book he or she is holding may hccome ;1 physical barrier from originals in languages other than English.
between him or her and his or her audience In telling, on the other
hand, one can shape the story to one's own needs, and while this
may require the development of certain, perhaps huried, skills, the Making skeletons
advantages are very great. In the first place, one can address one's
audience directly: one can make eye contact or not as and when one We found early on that a brief written outline ('skeleton') provided
chooses, use gesture and mirlle freely, expand or modify the form of (he hest way for us to store material for storytelling. The skeleton
one's telling as the occasion demands, and in general establish and should give, in minimal form, a plot outline, background information
maintain a community of attention het\....een teller and listener, where necessary (e.g. cultural context if the plot is heavily dependent
Again, from the learner's point of view, it is of immense benefit to oil this), apd a certain amount of character detail. There is no
witness the process of framing ideas in the target language without, ohligation to produce a continuous text-indeed, this could be an
as in conversation, constantly having to engage in that process l~hsr;1c1e to improvisation-or to observe the conventions of punctua­
oneself: forcing students always to hear polished speech (or, worse, IlClll Jud 'complete sentences', The aim should be to record all those
the bland monotony of specially constructed oral texts) does tbem a (·I('IIlCllts that are essential to the story, but only these. (The decision
great disservice. ,d)(l\lt what is essential is entirely, and rightly, subjective: faithfulness
Since first starting to work with stories, we have come to realise 10 an original text or to Cl 'writer's intention' play no part in this
something of the extent to which narrative underlies our conversa­ work.)
tional encounters with others, and of the deep need that people have !\lllIw s[oriL's PITSl'lltl'd ill this book are given in the form of
to tell and exchange stories. We have also learned something aboLlt ',k,'klll"'. Tlll'Sl' :11"1' pl"illll'd ("ClL.:t1y as we would use them ourselves,
the ways in which storytelling can take place in the foreign-language ,1I1l1 \-\l'II.I\'(' Ill" ;llll'lllpll'" to provide;1 'standardised form'. We
classroom. 1111111 1111'\' wl1lll1' ,11 1",1',( ,ICII'ljl':lll' ,IS tlll'y SI:lI1d, and are sure that
1(',1l /11"1', \\1111 \\/,.1,111 \\1111 IIOIlI 1IIl'lrtlwl1ll1:I!(,l"ial, :1nd thus

1'1, ,dll" ,11"11 "\ I1 ',I'll \ ',I , 11 I,",'" W dI dl'\'('lop I hei I' own Sf le and
I" /lllt'I'I' 11111'1 1 I, '1111,1, 1,1',' I ,!t.tl Ill,' '.I,,'klll" lIlt'n'lv pro"idl"
" I, I, ", 11 I /110 ," 1 I,. i ' '" I, -, 1110 I, 11, I I'I I1 I. f I 0111 _ ,Ill d 11111 ~; I 1101
\ \"

J" "I.,,,.lr,,d
Telling a story Telling a story

Preparing to tell he listener

In preparing to tell a story, we h;rvc worked directly from skeletons. Just as there arc styles of telling, so there ;lre styles of listening.
This has the effect both of dist:1.flcing tlw leller from the rhythms and People do not always listen in the samc way, or for the same cnd; nor
forms of the source (whether oral or wrillLIl) and of focussing on do all people listen for the ends we might want to prescribe. When,
what is essential to memorise-the plo I ami development. Except for example, the schoolmaster punishes a child for 'daydreaming'
where f~rmulaic expressions are cssl'llli;i1 to th story (e.g, in fairy instead of 'paying attention' to what is being said, he is assuming
stories such repetirions as 'What big..... you have, grandmother') we that the aim of the child's listening is the absorption and retention of
have consciously avoided all memorisatioll or recording of forms of the story or argument, Thus, if the child fails to pay attention, the
words, concentrating on plot line and pace, and on 'getting the feel' worth of the telUng, and by implication of the teller, is called into
of the story, A dress rehearsal, for example, in front of the mirror, question. In practice, quite the opposite may be the case: the telling
may at times be helpful, but can easily lead to loss of involvement,
may be so powerful or stimulating thar it sets up dominant trains of
and thus, in the classroom, failure to communicate; one rehearsal
thought in the listener's head which force the attention away from
technique which gets round this is to replay the story in one's head
the teller and along new and exciting paths. The storyteller should
while mumbling the rhythms of the story (but not the actual words
not merely recognise that this, too, might be a valid aim, but take
of the telling) aloud. We have also found that a brief period of total
\lCPS to encourage and exploit it by, for example, allowing thinking

relaxation before telling is of immense help.


I i me wtthin the telling, a nd by encouraging the listeners to sh are
I heir thoughts afterwards, Foreign '!earners may have their own,
\pccial aims in listening: they may be concentrating on the structures
or rhythms of speech, and allow 'meanings' ro pass them by; they
Styles of storytelling
IlIa)' be engaged in a range of translation processes; they may,

There are many ways of telling a story. One can unroll one's mat c'o.;pccially if they are advanced students, be making consciolls attempts
III rind, in the style of telling, models for things they themselves wish
under the nearest tree and call together a crowd; one can buttonhole
a stranger in a railway carriage or bar; one can murmur in the ear of ["l'Xpress-things which may be quite remote (for others) from the
a sleepy child. These and many other traditional modes of telling can ',[llI"y be1l1g told. This too the teller should be content with.
have their counterparts in the foreign-language classroom. Standing,
or sitting on a raised chair in front of rows of students one can
capture something of the one-man theatre show, and aim to fire W at not to do
emotions or entertain by pure acting skill. In total contrast ro this,
sitting with the students, in a tight circle, can conjure memories of J 11I'IT ;lIT 110 recipes for storytelling, but there are very clearly things
childhood storytelling. By seeking and exchanging eye contact, one "Ill' sho\lld NOT do:
can draw the students into the story, and give a sense of participation 1)1111'( 1l'Il stlll"il'S you don't like, or are out of sympathy with.
in the process of telling; withholding eye conmct, on the other hand, 11,111'( Lite lilt' sllll"y :lho"e the list ner: tell the story for the sake of

can be used to increase the mood of fantasy, and to encourage tilL' li"II'IIl'l', Illlt tor 1he sake of the story.
introspection. Body posture, voice level, and variation in the external 1 1111\'1 hnollll'lill"Hl'lIpinl wilh 'gclting the hl1gLl~lgL' right'-your

environment (furniture, lighting, colour) can also be made to heighten 1I'lIll1 f ', will I"" (>lIlt' Ill" V' >11'> Ilr 1111,

particular effecrs. Particula r stories, and particu la r groups of listeners, )1"11" 1"llIII01I11I<d''',
will call for different styles of telling, and the teller should be aware
of the r~ngt' of possihility open to him or her. A cert:lill al1HlIlllt of
ddihl'l':1fc cxpt'l'ill1coutillll is VtT)' hclpfllllO :111\'1111<' 11 I'llI!'. (. I ..Jc."dop
his or h(:r OWl) 'it\'ks: \('1' Wh,ll h;I],I'I·llo., llll ",,11111'1. . iI 10111', ,11 (.
IlIld Itlllll 1)("1111111 i111' 1"11. 11,'1'" III \\,liI,,]\I \\ 1".1. I '''''1. 1 "I ,I .. '11.
Telling a story

ection 2 Stories and follow-ups

A skeleton

Here is an example of the story sk\'kl()lI~ presented in the book.

The river
Summer
They reached the river, h[ld t)een at war three years
2.1 Revenge questions
Lull in fighting
Three of them went bathing-three shots Skeleton
HQ put river out of bounds
The inventor
He crept through wood to river bank
Propped rifle against tree, undressed, swam Inventor
Water cool and clean Lived in country
Caught branch in midstream Drew plans, tore them up, started again
Saw head in water, Ours? Theirs? For 40 years never spoke, read newspaper, or received
Head went to other bank letter

Didn't know radio existed

He sw.am back to rifle, got there first


Aimed at other climbing out of water One day realised he had made invention
Could not squeeze trigger Day and night checked plans, calculations
Let riflefall He went to town
Saw birds rise as shot rang out Cars instead of horses; electric instead of steam trains;
His face hit the ground escalators, refrigerators.
(after Antonis Samarakis, Zitite Efpis) Quickly understood-saw telephone and said: 'Aha'
Told people in street 'I have made a great invention'
They did not care

He entered a cafe and explained to a man


'I have invented a machine which shows what's going on
miles away'
'Oh the television-there's one in the corner-shall I turn
iUm?'

Till: inventor went home


At df:sk f )r il rnonth--re-invented car
, i l l 11 wdll (~"cill;lr )1', tAlepllone, refrigerator
1111' r r illly 11; 11 (1111 ill!l is 10 inv(:nt th ings that al ready exist
(,dllll I'..rl" llill",IlI, '1>(~rrrfi'1dtJr', ill K;ndergeschichten)
Stories and follou.;-ups Revenge questions

Before class 18 If the inventor was a Muslim, how many wives would he have?
19 In what ways, if any, do you sympathise with the inventor?
Make one copy of the qucsriolls given llelnw. On this copy add
20 What did the inventor do in the trams?
the names of two people frOl1l your d;lss ill tilt: blanks in questions 4
21 Why did the inventor get angry in the cafe?
and 25. Then copy the number of shn·ts you will need for your class.
22 Was this man a lunatic?
23 How did the story begin?
24 Did the story happen for you in England, your own country or
In class somewhere else?
25 Did .......... in this group like the story?

1 Tell the students the story.


26 What was the inventor's reaction to the new things he saw in the
2 Give them the 'comprehension' questions hdow and invite them
town?
to cross out any they don't like or think arc stupid. Each student
27 Which of the new things did he probably find most revolu­
should work on his or her own doing this. You are here inviting
tionary?
the student to take revenge on boring comprehension questions.
28 Why did this man want to invent things?
3 When students have read all the questions and crossed out those
29 How did the story end?
they want to, ask them to work in pairs and put to a partner the
30 Were there any roses in the inventor's garden?

questions they have retained. Pair students who have retained a


31 If ,he inventor had had hobbies, what might they have !been?

lot of questions with ones who have crossed out most or all of the
32 What sort of relationship do you imagine the inventor having
questions.
had with his parents?
4 Have them re-pair and repeat 3 above.
.n What did the man in the cafe offer to do for the inventor?
.H How could the inventor get by without earning a salary?
QUESTIONS
.~5 What is the symbolic meaning of the story?
1 What did the man in the cafe tell his wife when he got home that 36 Did the inventor grow potatoes? .
night? 37 What do you know about the author of this story, Peter Bichsel?
2 Is it deeply useful to invent things that have already been ~ R Why are there traffic lights in towns?

invented? 9 Why did the inventor often tear up his plans?

3 What did the inventor look like? .H) If the inventor was an animal, what sort of animal would he be?
4 Did in this group like this story? .~ I Is this a children's story?
5 What kind of house did the inventor live in? ·12 Do you think the person who told us the story liked it?
6 What is the underlying theme of this story, for you? ., ~ What was the weather like when the inventor went to town?
7 Where did the inventot get his living from? 14 What year was the inventor born in?
8 Why did the inventor no longer know how to speak to people? I Do you like listening to stupid stories in foreign languages?
9 What new things surprised the inventor when he went into 1(, W;lS rhe inventor wearing a tie on the day he went into town or
town? his IlStd pyjamas?
10 Do you know anybody like this man? I ' I)() yOll like :lIJswcring comprehension questions?
11 What colour were the walls of the inventor's room? l.\ \XIII:II did he S;lY 10 till' Ill'opk h 'met in the town?
12 Would your brother like this story? I" 1111\0\' old wOllld dlt' 111\'1'11(01' hl' j( he WLTC alive now?
13 What did the inventor look like? .11 \XlIIi, h i'.lIl1' 1I11,000f ',I'll·.I'II'~. 11'11";1 ion ill the above list?
14 What kind of father would the inventor make?
IS Why did the invcntor finally dccide to go into IOWII?
1(, Wh:ll sort of lnWIl did YO\l illJ:lgilll' :I'; yllll Ij~.ll·111 ,Ill. Jil" ',fllr)'?
I ' \XI,I~.1I11' 111\'('11101.111.11111 '.tll I." III.IJii'
Stories and follow-ups Revenge questions

Preparation of this kind of quvstilll Ill, ,ire lor subsequent classes (I How tall was the wrestling promoter's sister?
You will notice that che 50 C)u 'sI ions giV('lt 1;,111 into several categories, -;- If Fred had been to a better school, would .he have been happier?

For examplequestions 4, Ll, 2. and IJ. ;11'(' ;t11 to do with the reactions X Was the story well told?

to the story of people the student knows. I!()w Illany other categories ) How many fights had Fred had before the Town Hall fight?

are there for you? 10 Is wrc.)tling good for the spectators?

It is vital that you write very variL'd qlll'Slio!1S, .so chat students end 11 What was Fred's mistake?

up by crossing out very different things. 12 Have you got a brother? Would he like this story?

Below you will find a second story, with a rather different selection I) Should women wrestle?

of questions: I·~ What SOH of shop did Fred and Dorecn work in?

I' How did Frcd entertain ills children?

King Caliban I (, Who is the villain of the story?

17 Who was the original Caliban?

Fred, huge, strong, gentle but rather slow I~) Why didn't Fred like violence?

Earned £80 a week in shop It) ])0 you think the writer of che story was an educated man?

Happy: kids, garden; wife Doreen, ambitious, unsatisfied '() How many people wanted Fred to win?

Fred met wrestling promoter in pub How much more would Fred have made as a wrestler than as a
Offered £800 a week as 'fighter'-all fights fixed shop worker?
Fred unsure, dislikes violence I I Does Doreen like wrestling?

Doreen pushes him '~ Did the story take place in Manchester or London?

',1 What happened to Fred in the police station?

Fred becomes King Caliban, paired with Billy the Crusher


Did in this group like the story?

In rehearsal Fred slow, makes mistakes, works hard


How did Fred spend his Saturday mornings?

Town Hall, Saturday night Were there more men than women in the audience?

Audience out for blood Would the story make a good film?

Bald man out for Caliban fl so, \-"hieh actor should take the part of Fred?

Screams at him I )id the story make you feel guilty?

Fred nervous, makes mistake hurts Billy \XIlLlt h:1ppened to Baldy after Fred threw him?

Fight in earnest,18aldy goes mad ,> JII rrl,d',s shm's, what would you have done about Baldy?

Fred knocks Billy unconscious, Baldy screams abuse !: Who dol'S f)oreen blame:?

Fred lumbers out of ring, picks Baldy up and smashes '\ I \X!hidl is morl' 'I1t)nest, wrestling or education?

him onto seats li I:r('d h;ldll'IIlHllle a l11israke, who would have won the fight?

Ambulance, police-Fred is charged


I, I Ill\\' IllIlcll 1l1OIley W:.lS lhe referee paid?

(after John Wain, Death a/the Hind Legs and Other W.I·, ,'0'%, ;l l'l':\son:lhlt.., Slllrl for the wrestling promoter to

Stories) I ,', t 'I \' l' :'

11,1\\' .li,1 J )011'('11 voll' ill Ihl'!:''';! t'kctioJl?


• I , ,t I I1 11' If' " /1111,1; ,
QUESTIONS
III I" II 11"III.Ji I" 1IIIdl,.,·lld,' /1)',1111'[',:'
I How old was Fred? I1 \"1111.'·.·."111 ,1111111',1 'JlW'IItIII'" wll.II willlt:lj1j1l'l1?
2. Why did Fred marJ'y Dorcen { Ill, ~llllllllliI 11" '11'11\1,11, 11111,1, \'.1""" 111I'\ltJrv?

,1 Wh.!t ~ort of C1I' did J)orL'I'n W:1l1t? 1"111,1,·. j I.",h I, ,. ill I 'Ill' t i I,'

4 no Y()lIlhillk ill Ill(' ",J'UIJp Ilk('11 dli'. r,H'1 \ 'I, '11'"111 ,1,111' III ,1,,1 j I' .1,.1" . 1111111 1111" 111111'

'I \,IIII·ld,(.,110I' .1',',i·,I.llll'.11 1 1111111 \ 111111' .


111\ " ' 11' '11'"' ,1,,11. ,I "'11111111

Stories and follow-ups Theme pictures

46 If your son wanted to be a wn:stll'r, would you let him?


Ever since Kacuy bird has been searching forest for
47 Was the Town Hall the right plan' for a wrestliog match?
brother
48 Who is the best wrestler in this WOIl)?
(after Kacuy, in South American

49 How long did the story take to tel I?


Fairy Tales, ed, John Meehan)

50 What might you have been doing instead of listening to the

story? IIp-fore class

I ollect a lot of magazine pictures and details, cut out from magazine
I 'I,-lures (these should come in useful for a whole range of exercises).
2.2 Theme pictures (!loose some pictures that, for you, are connected with the themes of
111l' story and plenty of others that appear to you to be unconnected.

Skeleton I'll lures with the following features might appear to connect easily
Wil It Kacuy and its themes: orphans I feathers I lone trees I
Kacuy i'llds I families I him-her scenes I sex-role images I
',.I(I,ICSS anger I 'I'll teach you a lesson' I magic trans-
She lived with brother in cottage in forest Illlmations I flying ! honey = thirst for love I marriage ete.
Did cooking, cleaning; he hunted t III losing pictures that do not seem to you to connect to tbe themes
She was unhappy; cottage too small, isolated
'. 'll can see is important, as people see different things in a story.
One day he brought home animal:
She said: 'Cook it you rself,' He said noth ing
III t:lass
He knew she loved honey
Next day came home, told her about huge bees- I'd I the class the story,
nest up tree prl':ld the pictures and picture fragments on a table at one end of
Asked her to help him get honey-she refused till' room. Ask students ro pick pictures that they associate with
'If I go alone I'll spill the honey' I Ill' story. Ask them to pair off and explain their choice of pictu re
She agreed to help I.) ,1I}()ther person.

He took hood and machete, they set off ;\-,k rhl' students to find a new partner. Continue this until each
Finally came to tall tree in clearing h.I', '>pOlU'll with four others.
She climbed ahead of him, wearing hood
Near top he whispered 'Ssh, stop or the bees'lI hear' 1' ,\ I 11) N 1\ I F The reasoll for proposing picture association is tha t
He went down tree, 10PiJed off branches above head 11 11 l'("e,lll'S ;1 story vcry much of his or her own. Explaining
j,'/I'III'1'
Left clearing, thought: 'Now she will see she needs me' J' I \111'1' ,l'>';I)l'j:lliollS to:1 p,lITncr allows the individual student to
I' i1I""lllIW ,pn'j;ll ;ll1d Pl'l"soll~1i the story he or she heard or internally
Cold, night falling, she was terrified, wind rising
,I' 1Il'd I',> hy di·; ..'o\,(·ril1g It'IW differently other people saw the story.
Began to grope her way down tree
1'1,,11111' .1'.'•• ", i.lll'''! ,11 ,lW', (1111 Illjl\~', .... oft <.'11 otherwise unsaid.
Her foot slipped into space
Took off hood, looked down: no branches
Her arm itched, looked down: feathers
Felt back of head: something growing
Her feet on branch: claws
Gust of wino knocked her off tree
She was flyillq; callt'!cl 0111 t)rotjll~r"; 11,11111', 11l',1I&1 'I' .tnlY,

KllCllY'

I'j
Stories and follow-ups For heginners

2.3 For beginners Before class


Read the skeleton vety carefully amI decide how to get certain
Skeleton words across with mime and drawing. From the above story you
CJn get across the idea of leaning on Cl stick, carrying bags, hobbling,
Mrs Peters walking straight, waving etc., by miming. Label, bottle, steps,
Mrs Peters was 80 and leant on a stick hench cao all be very simply drawn. If you have never rold a story
I used to carry her basket back from the shop to complete beginners before, rehearse the story to yourself, using
One day she showed me a bottle she had bought mime. 1£ all your students have the same mother-tongue, you may
The label said: 'One sip of this will take 20 years find you can translate the odd word or idea.
off your life' I Photocopy the split sentences below, one set to every four students.
She hobbled up the steps into her house Cut the pages up so yOll cnd up with 16 half sentences from each,
which can be stored in envelopes. In writing your own split
Next time I saw her she was walking ram-rod
sClltences for other stories, make sure yOll cover all the key move­
straight. Her stick was gone. She waved to me
tllents in the narration. If you can't, the story is probably too
That Sunday I went for a stroll in the park 'oHlplex anyway. More than about eight sentences can feel
Mrs Peters was sitting on bench near the gate overwhelming to the complete beginner. In writing your own split
wearing an elegant dress and scarf sentences punctuate dearly as punctuation and lack of it are
She fooked about 40 11I<ljor re-combination and sequencing markers.
The following week I met her in the park again
She was dressed in tight jeans and a sweater III l:!ass
I sat down next to her and took her hand
I asked her to the cinema Tell the story, slowly, measuredly, using mime and plenty of eye
She said she wanted to go and change, She said she'd , ('lltdCt. In no way will everybody 'understand' everything the first
meet me in the park in an hour's time. I iJlIC. Do not feel bad at this 'incomprehension' - there has to be
l'knty of it on tbe way to piecing together even partial com­
I came back in an hour-nobody there,

I went to her house and hammered on the door,

Ill"chl'nsion.
J (;rollP the students in fours. Give each a set of split sentences. Ask
No answer

IIWllI to join the halves up and sequence them. Every now and
(we learnt this story from a telling by Jan Aspeslagh)
I [WIJ ll10ve a person from his or her group to tbe next group. Go
.'11 11)( I :ll1swcring questions and helping where necessary.
'1',,11 IIll' qory ;lgail1, still miming and being very explicit. Let them
Illtlk 1l1l'ol'l,h thcir sequencing again.
1('11 I Ill' slnr)' :1 third timc, with kss mime and slightly faster,

What sort of complete beginners? 1III ',1'1 11 ~I' 1'11, r--~ll";

You can nsefully tell stories to complete beginners if their mother Oil :1';1 ick"
languages are reasonably close to the target language. 1£ you are
teaching English to Dutch, German, Scandinavian (barring Finnish)
speakers and to a lesser extent french, Sp:mish, Italian slw:lkns then III t. d, (. I (I \' C',11 '. ( ) 11 \' C1111 Ii f ~.:
storytelling;1(" 'I.ero-st;\(·t !t'v('] cm he 1IS(' fll I. [t is 1lo1 111111 1111"1' 10 fry
1111111
stl1rytdlirl!', 10 I'Ir:I!,j,,· (11" ./;III,IIll";(' "IH":lkilll',I'"lq.l'l' I" ,'1'1111"1',
•I
Stories and follow-ups Taking roles

She was wearing an elegan t dress and she looked about 40, ( )Id Maid can well be used for revision of some of the language in

I :-.Lory weeks after meeting it,

I sat down next to hn and took her hand.


I asked her to (;Olll~ with me to the cinema,
I I VEL The principle exemplified in this unit of making a very
I hammered on the door of her h()llS~ but there was no answer. Lhl (icult chunk of language gradually more and more accessible to
'1Illplete beginners by mime, drawing and then a co-operative or
, "lllpctitive reading task, followed by further tellings, can well be
VARIATION
IllpllCd to other levels of learner. So, for example, you could tell a
Old Maid This is a good story follow-up ,lCtivity at post-beginner '.I 11 I I P of elementary students a story that would only be readily
level. II1Idtrstood by upper-intermediates. This is very useful psychologi­
"ily ;,lS the elementary learner is thus having his self·expectations
I 11 "l'll beyond their normal level. It is wonderful to end up pretty
Before class
I,ll 'l1loerstanding something one at first felt confident one would
Take eight split sentences and put each half sentence on a playing 11I 1/IIJlderstand.

card sized piece of paper or cardboard, e.g.:

Taking roles
I sat down her and took
next to her hand,

The bear that wasn't


You will need one pack of 16 cards for every four people in your
Bear saw geese flying South, leaves fluttering down
class, so for a group of 20 you will need five packs.
Said to himself 'It's time to sleep'
Went to cave, piled up leaves: soon asleep
In class October
111 DeCernl)er men came, built factory over cave
1 Group the students in fours. Give out a pack to each foursome M<lrd1
and ask one student to shuffle and deal the cards. B , I W k(-) lip, went to cave mouth: no grass, no trees,
2 Explain the rules: 1:llilllrwys
Aim of game - to lay down as many complete sentences as you rllllll!lllt it WilS a dream, pinched himself, no change
can. I nrr'rllllll 'WIlV ill(~l1'l you working?'

Players must not show their hands to one another. '1IIItl"II" hC:;II'

Player A starts the game by randomly picking a card from Player 'Nc" YIIII".~ /1111. YIlII'le:;, ~;jlly /lwn who needs a shave and
B's hand. A then lays down any complete sentences he or she can. 1Nl' Ill, ,,1111 (,ll,II'
B then repeats the process, taking a card from C etc. l,ljC.rII.lp 11111 I"','f III (,( IIf:lirl Malll, f.lr: Jiale man, big
The group sequences the completed sentences once they are all on 1I!".I',I',lld
the table. 1""'111 IIllo'li"il'
The cX~J"(.:ist' c\lllw Jl1ade h;ndlT hy splitlilll', 111(' '11 111!'111 I", illlo wltl'
t1Hl;(' hn'; l',lch Clr hy 111l11I,lill", 111011' ",'111'11'0 '. '1'111 '1"1111111"", I, 11' Villi IILol Volt,'", /1;1/ ,IJO It'

,, , \
Stories and follow-ups Theme words

All droveto zoo 11l1'n;IJl, 11 1 '1';; 'ndillac NOTES This is a rather intimate exercise that should not be
Little bears in ca~l~ 111:111 Iq,tH' -l:)ked 'Is he a bear?' ,lttempted until people know each other fairly well. There are some
Little bears laughed 'I[ Ill. was LI bear, he'd be inside !,roups where there is not enough mutual trust for it to be attempted
the cage with us' C1l all. lf you try it too soon it may get done skittishly and superfi­
Bear depressed 11:111y,
They went to circus: same: tl1il1~l with bears on funny bikes There is no way of knowing in advance which roles will be seen as
Bear more depressed 1 wgative by students. Cadillac, from the set above, has been seen by
Back to factory, bear worked on machine I 'lIe person in a group as an insult and by another in the same group

October ,I'. ;1 fair compliment.


Oil crisis, factory closed, men back to families Very often inanimate and animal roles are richer than human
Bear in wood: saw geese. leaves - said to himself ," ICS, despite the students' initial wonderment at this novel form of
'It's time to ... no .. I'm a silly man who needs a .. .' 11I11acy!
Colder and colder; white stuff fell, snow
Walked to cave, went in, piled up leaves, went to sleep
\1 "NOWLEDGEMENT The idea of role allocation we learnt from
saying
1''''l"ll:ud Dufeu who had worked with it in the context of psycho­
'I'm not a man, I'm a bear'
,11,1111<1.,
(after Tashlin)

In class
1 Tell the story.
Theme words
2 Group the students in eights. Write up the following eight roles on

the board: ',/, ·It.. ton


zoo bear Cadillac

Jack and the beanstalk


foreman cave

wild goose manager


Jack lived with mother in cottage, very poor
Bear fluttering leaf
She sent him to sell cow
He met butcher - soH:! cow for beans
3 Explain to the students that each of them is a film dire~tor who
Mother Angry - threw beans out of window
has to cast the eight roles. Each person must cast the eight roles
within his or her group, allotting a role to himself or herself too. N(~)(t rnoming Jack's room dark, Beanstall< rising to sky
4 Ask the students to work individually, withobt communicating I il~ c:lillll>l!d to top - strange land
their decisions to anyone else, MI,t W()lllHll she said land belonged to giant. Giant had
5 When this has been done, ask each person to work with one I<illl~d rli:; t;lttwr tltld stolen his money

partner to explain how they cast the roles. I?o r'lot allow the ,I Ic'!< w,dlald, 1110111 f(!II, came 10 castle
students to group into threes and fours, whIch wdl happen unless l ,f,I1II", wilo 1lllWillillfjly rook him in, fed him, hid him in
IIV.'11
you expressly stop it. .
6 When MO partners have finished talking ask them (';H.:h to fmd ,1 1'1.111\ fl'llIlIf,itl. ',lJilll)il'llllllrl kltdl(~11
n w partner. . 'I •"". r I, I." I, 11111 I
7 Ollly :d'llT SOll1l' I ill\(' :,llllw grollps of lllllrl' Ih,lll 1'\" I" l"rlll. It IS I 1111 11111I·I,I""d 101 ,1111111111' 11111.111
(,:,',il'l I" dj',III','. illllJIl:I\l' t11l11j'," ,\'j,h ,,'1,1' "d)11 d, 111 \11111,1 )',1111111 1II'II~' ,.1'1/"1,1110' hi' 11" d
I'll 'Jlllhl Id 1",", I.. 11111, I l l , I", ,d'
Stories and follow-ups Discussion

Giant ate huge 'Supp r, culled for his hen, roared: 'Lay!' ,6 Discussion
She laid 12 eggs, Gi<:lllt wonllO sleep, snores shook castle
Jack stole hen, ran to IJ8811swlk, back home .' 'kti!leton
He and mother rich
Jack back up beanstalk - (jis~luised Peacocks
Taken in again by giant's wi.fe -- hidden in cupboard Peacocks
Giant returned: 'Fee fi ...' Huge supper, counts money, In park in town centre
snores Dozens of magnificent peacocks
Jack steals money, back down beanstalk One day 10 peacocks fou nd dead
Builds mother new house Next day another 10
New disguise - back up beanstalk Outrage, Police investigate
Taken in by wife, hidden in wash-tub No clues
'Fee, fi. ..' Huge supper, giant calls for harp: 'Play!' Inspector interviews all peacock fanciers
Harp plays, giant snores
Jack grabs harp, harp cries 'Master, Master!' Meets old man who once bred peacocks
Giant wakes - chases Jack Alone, house neat, military souvenirs, old soldier
Jack fast down beanstalk, giant close behind He cannot help but be interested in case, pleased to talk
Calls 'Mother, Mother, the axe!' Leaving, Inspector sees photograph of young man in
Chops down beanstalk - kills giant uniform
'Your son?'
'Myself when I served the Emperor'
In class
Next day old man comes to police station
t Tell the story as fully as you can, Case fascinates him
2 Write up the words below on the board and ask the students, 'To kill a peacock is the perfect act, for a peacock is itself
working individualty, to put the ideas they find most relevant to perfection'
the story first and the least relevant last. Be ready to explain
Nif~ht after night police in wait outside park
unknown words.
At last Inspector sees figures approaching: man with three
hLl~le dogs
Mun cuts fence - dogs attack peacocks
Man luns off
I j-ll:C~ c: 1l1~1ht in light of streetlamp
II .fir 'tor recognises face of young man in photograph
(,11(/:1 Yuklo Mlf.ihima)

, .'"",
3 Pair the students and ask them to justify their ranking to their 1 1,1111, 0,111111 1110, 1Ill"'.1111\'.

partner. Get them to re-pair two or three times, These explanatiolls ,11,,\ I , , , li' 11111'" 111\111111"/ 11'111'1 lilllllipH' aft'l'r telling, then ask
re-cycle much otthe language heard in the story widllllll IlI<1king Ill. IInll,II'. In 11"lllj, 1111 11 1IIInJ'II'I,III"ll~ of thl' story IJl groups
the stlldellls rctdllhl' story ('0 '1 l)ersoll who h.I', )11',1 III 11,1 Ill(' III d".. 1I, iI '.' ".", 1I "1'1, , I" I" \\'
sdi ~i:1I1H' slory,

't °
Stories and follow-ups Shapes and characters

EXAMPLES In a lower-interlllnli:llt' group in which the above


Hrafnkel understood - horse hard ridden

story was told, almost every studl'1l1 had :1 different interpretation,


Set off for Einar's hut

including:
'Did you ride Freyfaxi?'

1 Rosa thought it was a problem oj idelltification around the photo


'I did'

and the young man with the dogs: perhaps the killer was the old Hrafnkel raised axe

man's son. Einar stood - did not run - did not defend himself

2 Yannick saw the story as a versioll of .Jekyll and Hyde. Without malice, Hrafnkel killed Einar

3 Hans (who had also seen a film based Oil the story) thought that in (from the Icelandic)
murdering the peacocks the old m:lll was rediscovering his youth,
which for him had been destroying things :lIld people in the war.
4 Christof felt there was no real feeling of time in the story or that
there was 'time crossing' - the time of the photo and the time of Shapes and characters
the kiUing of the peacocks were blurred or the same.
S Umberto thought that the old man had discovered who the peacock
killer was and had photographed him: he had the photograph in
his house because he identified with the young man in the act of Rumpelstiltski'n
killing the peacocks.
Poor miller. Beautiful daughter

NOTES For this very open, direct exercise to be effective, the story He told king 'She can spin straw into gold'

chosen should be capable of a very wide range of interpretation, and King locked her up with spindle and straw

the telling should be clear and simple: i.e. the complexity should lie If no gold by morning: death

in the story rather than in the language, She wept

Here is another story: Door opened: Funny little man said

'What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold?'

Freyfaxi 'My necklace'

Whirr, whirr - gold

Hrafnkel was priest of god Frey


Owned sheep, herd of mares and fine stallion Next night Kling locked her in larger room - more straw
Dedicated stallion to the god: called him Freyfaxi hdrne seqL!enCe as above with ring instead of necklace)
Swore only he should ride Freyfaxi Illird night king promised marriage if she'd spin the straw
Einar came to work as shepherd
In quid
Einar prom ised not to ride Freyfaxi
('"IIIW sequence as above with first-born child instead of
1ill! II
Einar lived in hut at head of valley
One day 30 sheep gone - searched - could not find them W,'ddil1!:1
Decided to ride out after them
t I'll" Vlld' 1:II'tl l:hild - She had forgotten little man

Went to catch a mare - all ran off


t I1 .1,1" 11 '.11 ,'c1 '( iivlI 11 le: V Illl Gh ild'

Freyfaxi stood waiting


',Ill' nit, wd 1 IlIIl t., lit: l'l'lused - ~Javei her three days to find
Dare he ride the horse?
Ill'. /I 1111"
Mounted, Rode Freyfaxi all over mountains ~ no sheep
',11.· "1" 11111 11111 "I'l 1I'I'.\I.,ll,1t1 rlilllH:~i
Returned to hut - sheep there bleating
'.111'11'·1 .. 01 dll'1I11" h i l i 1111111'11'1111
Unsaddled Frevfaxi
Ilnr~HJqllllllpndr.lm hlotllolll tIll I" rhl'l 1'1,1 It II1"f)',I"OlIIlI,I.IV '""11 I lid

'"
Stories and follow-ups Completion

Third day messenger rcporlod little man in wood singing: IIIIlucent helpful astonished
'This guessing game slw'll Illlver win, Rumpelstiltskin is Ilo;lStful poor stupid
my name' 1',1 '-dy childless worried
She told the little man his n<Jrne , ,lred surprised cruel
IIIIJ ridiculous desperate
Rage - 'A witch has told you, a witch has told you!' 11'llItiful terrified little
He vanishes ,11,lnge amazed tearful
1,1, h regal queer
1"ldly-dressed sleepless polite
1',II'II-working motherly angry
In class
l\ 'I'r-joyed unusual odd
1 Tell the story. 11. lighted ambitious empty-handed
2 Give the students the geometric shapes and adjectives below and I" ('!c. llil nt cross enigmatic
ask them to work on their own. They are to decide
a) which shapes represent which characters: miller, king, I h NOWLEDGEMENT Lou Spaventa and Gertrude Moskowitz
daughter, Rumpelstiltskin, baby. (I behind this exercise. (Caring and Sharing in the Foreign
I, II1

b) which adjectives go with which character. i ,III,I~lliJge Classroom, Newbury House, 1978.)
Encourage them to use dictionaries, to ask their neighbours or ask
you if they do not know the meaning of some of the listed adjec­
tives. Completion
3 PaIr the students and get them to explain their choices to each
other.

SHAPES AND ADJECTIVES The two sons


Germany - towards end of World War 11
A farmer dreams that her son is calling her
Wakes, gO€ S into yard, sees son by pump
illl it i.; not her SOI'1 - one of Russian prisoners of war who
work 011 the farm
Tllo ..,amo sequence repeated several times over next
Will'! :~
I .11:11 UITU) :;l1r: realises it is the Russian POW
"iJi~ :,i~1 " 111l:JW~; IlH~etjng secretly - they are planning
,,'.t Ill!'
'"IV', flldl 11 I 1l:'lp:: 1111)11 -e)(tri~ food, blankets
11, 'I '.' 111 .11 IIVI', ',Iy'; 1-111l :;j'tn ;HrllY 20 ktns away - war is
1,,,"1
I 11' W".II , 11 dt ClI III ," • I' , I d IILI "

"'" I Ill, 1.1 /1/ \ '/ ' .. hilt'}

'11 "I
Stories and follow-ups Completion

Third day messenger rcporlod little man in wood singing: IIIIlucent helpful astonished
'This guessing game slw'll Illlver win, Rumpelstiltskin is Ilo;lStful poor stupid
my name' 1',1 '-dy childless worried
She told the little man his n<Jrne , ,lred surprised cruel
IIIIJ ridiculous desperate
Rage - 'A witch has told you, a witch has told you!' 11'llItiful terrified little
He vanishes ,11,lnge amazed tearful
1,1, h regal queer
1"ldly-dressed sleepless polite
1',II'II-working motherly angry
In class
l\ 'I'r-joyed unusual odd
1 Tell the story. 11. lighted ambitious empty-handed
2 Give the students the geometric shapes and adjectives below and I" ('!c. llil nt cross enigmatic
ask them to work on their own. They are to decide
a) which shapes represent which characters: miller, king, I h NOWLEDGEMENT Lou Spaventa and Gertrude Moskowitz
daughter, Rumpelstiltskin, baby. (I behind this exercise. (Caring and Sharing in the Foreign
I, II1

b) which adjectives go with which character. i ,III,I~lliJge Classroom, Newbury House, 1978.)
Encourage them to use dictionaries, to ask their neighbours or ask
you if they do not know the meaning of some of the listed adjec­
tives. Completion
3 PaIr the students and get them to explain their choices to each
other.

SHAPES AND ADJECTIVES The two sons


Germany - towards end of World War 11
A farmer dreams that her son is calling her
Wakes, gO€ S into yard, sees son by pump
illl it i.; not her SOI'1 - one of Russian prisoners of war who
work 011 the farm
Tllo ..,amo sequence repeated several times over next
Will'! :~
I .11:11 UITU) :;l1r: realises it is the Russian POW
"iJi~ :,i~1 " 111l:JW~; IlH~etjng secretly - they are planning
,,'.t Ill!'
'"IV', flldl 11 I 1l:'lp:: 1111)11 -e)(tri~ food, blankets
11, 'I '.' 111 .11 IIVI', ',Iy'; 1-111l :;j'tn ;HrllY 20 ktns away - war is
1,,,"1
I 11' W".II , 11 dt ClI III ," • I' , I d IILI "

"'" I Ill, 1.1 /1/ \ '/ ' .. hilt'}

'11 "I
Stories and follow-ups Story to poem

Skeleton B Years later


Messengers arrive - announce Emperor wants to build a
Yvonne temple
Villagers feel honoured - want to give wood for temple
Gloomy town in Amazon forest Offer willow
Crocodiles in river Heitaro has no trees of his own now - cannot save willow
Men come to search for gold: gringos Thinks 'I will lose the willow -I still have my wife'
Raven-haired Yvonne in bar, meets men Villagers chop down willow
leaving bar, many never seen again
20th disappearance Heitaro's wife is found dead
Police from la Paz cross Andes to investigate.. ,
(newspaper account, June 1982) In I, ):~;;

I ,,11
I
"ll'
t11\;til,
students the story,
working alone, to respond to the story with a poem:
In class
1,1.1111 that they are not expected to retell the story in poem form.
1 Tell the students one of the stories, breaking off abruptly.
2 Ask the students, in pairs or small groups, to work out endings for 11,'1 I A lower-inrermedia te student produced this poem:
the story.
3 If the class is not too large, ask each group to nominate a storyteller I 'he WiLLow Tree
to tell the group's proposed ending.
>,onlcrhing we must love
I ,lllilll~ll)
., lllll I~l'?
.1 11" T~

I 1"II..IJ"ll loved ;1 tree

Ill'11\' 'J

2.9 Story to poem i1ll'luVl' 11l;1l!e life


ill'" lit" W,I";1 wife

Skeleton 1\ '" ,'hild n'lI ..

,dW,I\'" ~I I n,'(

Willow
Il't' "IIII""I"'H kill,'d I I1\' trcl'
In a vi'llage - a green willow, centuries old I" 1ll,I,k,ljl:lhn'
For the villagers - shade from heat, meeting place , I,·d.lll" w,llltHI! It)\'!' 1s;1 dC:ld tTCl'

For Heitaro, young farmer, place to sit and think 'I" I ,I 11011-.,'

One day villagers decide to build bridge over river I Ill' I I ,',' h, I ' "" "I

They come to cut down willow for its wood 1111 \l'd"I',I', ,1",,1

Heitaro: 'No, take my trees but spare the willow' 1111 r 1t,,1 Ill" 1"\,, f" ~I it'll ,11'"

Villagers accept I 11, " Ill' "1.11 1 I, 11.111),


Next night Heitaro sits under willow- be~utiful nirl 11" d, 11" l,d,lr, I1 \\ dlll\' ri'
appears 1,1 1I1~' lit 111
I , '".," "I tit,

Tlwy nwc)!, ninlll ,If!HI Iliqlll It , t ,d 11" ,11.. 11"1, I

III!y IllOlfly
Ill.llr , I I. 11111111111

: j
Stories and follow-ups In new clothes

OTHER STORIFS AllY :-.tl)l~ III I1 llll'\'()\'arive scenes or actions will 2.10 In new clothes
serve well for rhi' excrciSL'. I kll" I', .1l1111hn you may like to try:
,...· keleton

Skeleton The piper of Rome


Cars everywhere, piazzas, streets, pavements, blind alleys
The singing mushrooms St Peter's Square - some parked on dome of St Peter's
A widow - three sons: Ogun, Oja and Little Brother Mayor - gold chain - called council together
They go off to war. Each promises to kill seven men, take 'What can we do? It's impossible'
seven captives Council chorused 'It's impossible. What can be done?'
O,gun and Oja laugh at Little Brother
Enter Piper
Each does as promised Offers to free Rome of cars
Little Brother also kills enemy king and wins treasure Mayor offers all the deposits in the banks and daughter's
Ogun and Oja angry hand in marriage
Piper also demands freedom of streets for children to play
On way home pass through desert
in
Thirsty Agreed
Little Brother fi nds strea m
Ogun drinks first, then Oja Piper plays sweetly - everywhere motors start up
Little Brother bends to drink - they cut off his head Piper leads cars, buses, lorries to remote spot on River
Bury him in desert Tiber
Mayor's car first to plunge into yellow waters
Brothers
Mayor and councillors cry 'Stop!'
Tell mother Little Brother killed in war
Beg the piper to send their cars underground
She mourns
Life continues And now the cars, buses, lorries in Rome go underground
Children play in the streets and piazzas
One day she crosses desert
Sees mushrooms (after G. Rodari)
Picks them - they sing story of Little Brother's death
Return to village - vengec,nce I 1./·....
Brothers hide in corners of house
! 1I rill' :-.lory,
They turn to bronze - become household gods
.1 1111' ',llIdcIIIS if rhey know any stories like this one. Someone in
(after 'The Story of the Singing Mushrooms', in Folk Tales ,Ill ~11111J' .dV\";lVS knows the original story.
and Fables, ed. p, ltayemi & P. Gurreyl IIV. 1,,1. rlH' \;[TIc!I'II(S 1'0 work in pairs, bringing old stories back
11111111111 ,lllll, dl·,'idil\.I'.ltoW to ll)od('f'llisc' them.
,""11' rill ',llld"II1s 11110 IOllI'S. '1"1)(' p:1irs r('por!.

111"1111" 1111I,lllIlIl.ll willII11l'11l'1)',ill:1I story, scc story (1)


Stories and follow-ut).' Problem stories

2.11 Birth order , Ask people to take a partner from another group and compare
'. '·xpenences.
Skeleton
( ) 1'1:, Other stories in this book which are suitable for this exercise
The Billy Goats GrlJ \1" Three Pigs and Kacuy.
Three goats in mountain valley
Bridg1e over river - under brid(JQ troll- ate people \ i J'NOWLEDGEMENT We learnt the birth-order exercise from
Goats wanted to eat grass other side - greener and
I M oskowitz, Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language
sweeter !oI",.room, Newbury House, 1978.

One day smallest goat onto bridge, trip-trap, trip-trap

Troll's ugly head appeared

'Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?'

'Only me, the littlest Billy Goat Gruff'

'Then I'm going to eat you up'

'No, don't eat me, eat my brother - he's bigger and fatter

than me'

'Mmmm, OK, off you go'

Littlest goat crossed bridge, began to eat grass

Next day middle-sized goat trip-trapped onto bridge

(same sequence as above, substituting 'middle-sized')

Biggest goat -long beard, sharp horns

TRAP TRAP TRAP onto bridge

'Who's that trap-trapping over my bridge?' Problem stories

'It's me, the biggest Billy Goat Gruff'

'Then I'm going to eat you up' I ,'/1'11111 A

'Oh no you're not'


Big goat lowered horns - ran at troll- tossed him into
The two doors
river
TIlH king never condemned cr,imjnals to death - this is
Since then bridge safe to cross what he did:
1110 crilllindl was led into an arena with 2 doors
/lIJllirHI olle a ravenous tiger
Ilf~llirld tho oth Jr 'beautiful girl
In class
11,1 111.111 did '101 kr owwhich doorwaswhich

1 Tell the story. 11.,d III dlllCi .• O h~: I)'lten or marry the girl

2 Ask who are: 1111'. W,I', 1.111 JJl.1II'H f It: in his own hands

a) only children 1.111 ,Ii"d d,lllqlllol

b) firstborns
',Ill ",11111 IIlV(' wHir p'lll" ~lgldiH

c) lastborns
11,111111111', yllllfl 111Ijlll,lIrl~~;t~r1
d) between-borns hi """,1111' I" )~.r~d Ill' " I<ll1q ,11111 r/:III!lhtl?f
Ask the students to split lip illto their hirrh-ord('J' ",141111'" :lIld disclls~ 1', ", I '.'. I ""W will, I1 01 I'" 1 Wol', wll" 11
what it's like b 'i!ll~;\ lirslhnl"lI, !:IstbOII\, ('I' VVII.l\ I'J/I.t! did ',1'1- '111/1'111" I"Vl'l t
Stories and follow-ut).' Problem stories

2.11 Birth order , Ask people to take a partner from another group and compare
'. '·xpenences.
Skeleton
( ) 1'1:, Other stories in this book which are suitable for this exercise
The Billy Goats GrlJ \1" Three Pigs and Kacuy.
Three goats in mountain valley
Bridg1e over river - under brid(JQ troll- ate people \ i J'NOWLEDGEMENT We learnt the birth-order exercise from
Goats wanted to eat grass other side - greener and
I M oskowitz, Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language
sweeter !oI",.room, Newbury House, 1978.

One day smallest goat onto bridge, trip-trap, trip-trap

Troll's ugly head appeared

'Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?'

'Only me, the littlest Billy Goat Gruff'

'Then I'm going to eat you up'

'No, don't eat me, eat my brother - he's bigger and fatter

than me'

'Mmmm, OK, off you go'

Littlest goat crossed bridge, began to eat grass

Next day middle-sized goat trip-trapped onto bridge

(same sequence as above, substituting 'middle-sized')

Biggest goat -long beard, sharp horns

TRAP TRAP TRAP onto bridge

'Who's that trap-trapping over my bridge?' Problem stories

'It's me, the biggest Billy Goat Gruff'

'Then I'm going to eat you up' I ,'/1'11111 A

'Oh no you're not'


Big goat lowered horns - ran at troll- tossed him into
The two doors
river
TIlH king never condemned cr,imjnals to death - this is
Since then bridge safe to cross what he did:
1110 crilllindl was led into an arena with 2 doors
/lIJllirHI olle a ravenous tiger
Ilf~llirld tho oth Jr 'beautiful girl
In class
11,1 111.111 did '101 kr owwhich doorwaswhich

1 Tell the story. 11.,d III dlllCi .• O h~: I)'lten or marry the girl

2 Ask who are: 1111'. W,I', 1.111 JJl.1II'H f It: in his own hands

a) only children 1.111 ,Ii"d d,lllqlllol

b) firstborns
',Ill ",11111 IIlV(' wHir p'lll" ~lgldiH

c) lastborns
11,111111111', yllllfl 111Ijlll,lIrl~~;t~r1
d) between-borns hi """,1111' I" )~.r~d Ill' " I<ll1q ,11111 r/:III!lhtl?f
Ask the students to split lip illto their hirrh-ord('J' ",141111'" :lIld disclls~ 1', ", I '.'. I ""W will, I1 01 I'" 1 Wol', wll" 11
what it's like b 'i!ll~;\ lirslhnl"lI, !:IstbOII\, ('I' VVII.l\ I'J/I.t! did ',1'1- '111/1'111" I"Vl'l t
Stories and follow-UIJS A serial story

Skeleton B Day two


Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest

Unexpected
St Clare had committed many crimes in his life

Monday:

Secretly he had raped, tortured, pillaged

Teacher says she will sprinu totally unexpected test any

His doctor knew this; blackmailed him

day between now and Friday


To get money St Clare sold secrets to enemy

Students say this is impossible:


If test not given by Thursday, then Friday it will be His aide discovered this - threatened to expose him

expected St Clare drove sword into aide's body - point snapped off

Iftest not given by Wednesday, on subsequent days it will Where to hide the broken sword?

be expected, etc. Where to hide the body?

Therefore, no way she can spring unexpected test


St Clare attacked Olivier's great army with tiny force

Thursday:
Men outnumbered, many killed, rest taken prisoner

Test comes
All then set free

Who was right?


But

Alone with St Clare survivors guess truth

(after Watzlawick)
Hang him from tree - broken sword round neck

In class Where does a wise man hide a pebble? On the beach

1 Tell one of the stories.


(after G.K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown)
2 Ask the students, working individually, to consider possible

solutions to the problem.

3 Ask the students to find a partner and discuss their proposals.

II1 , 1,1:;";

2.13 A serial story 1 / ,1\ lllll') Tell the first pan of the story.
1 / ,1\' 1\..... 0) Ask the class to get into small groups. Ask each group
Skeleton , •• Will k 11111 ;Ill explanation and continuation of the story.

The sign of the broken sword I l·.1 I, group 10 appoint';1 storyteller, who will then tell his or
III I /'.I'"IJl\ vcrsiOll of the story to the whole class.
Dayone I " I ,1\ h "tlllylcllt-r to Il'lI his or her group's version to the rest.

Where does a wise man hide a pebble? On the beach I I 11 rill' ',I' 1111 d 1':1 rt (,I' d1L' story in the version given in the skeleton
III~ J\ I

General St Clare: successful soldier, had won many battles


Olivier was a great leader and a great general
Il' \':\ 1I J ,\ I 11) "
St Clare attacked Olivier's great army with tiny force
I [Ill., .1.III1I.II.1hll!<ll",1 tlf ',111111'111 ',lmYlL'llillg (Day two, 2) is high,
His men outnumbered, many killed, rest taken prisoner
,,1'"11 1'''11111111 11', \1',11 \'I',·,iellJ.
All then set free. Olivier famous for honour and chivalry I, 't ,,10111.11111 ' "11111 ,., i',lIIll III lilt' Wllllll' d:lss It,ll it to :111y
But "i1'I' d.1l Ill" I" 11.1 Ill!,. ,Ill'" 1111\
St Clare fou nd hangp.d on tree - broke:n ',Will I I 11111f HI neck ,11, I11 I1 \ I" I ",11'1' ","1111/', \'11111 ""I',illll ,I', lilt", llln'( I'

Whyt
Stories and fulloUJ-1f I),'

FURTHER WORK Onct' lilt' )',It 11q' I', 1,lllLll';l!" with the method used tion 3 Retelling

above, it may be developt.:d In liLt! Will I( 111~\lT texts, even of novel


length, by spreading the telliJlg 11\;\'1' ,1 111111111('1' of days.

2.14 Story to picture

Before class Parallel stories


Choose an anecdote about yourself Ih;11 f()('lIsst's rhe listener's
, "/r'fOIl A
imagination on a single scene. We lIscclthj~ OIlC:
I was 9 Seguin's goat
Early morning - a fourth floor hotel room in Genoa
Parents not around Mr Seguin .Iived at foot of mountains
Went to window, looked down He had had six goats: each had jumped over fence round
Heads and hats scurrying to work field and run into mountains
I spat: hit a bald one [,Jeh eaten by wolf
[)rew back - fear, thriJlI, guilt White was Seguin's seventh goat
Peeped out again I cthered her in field
Spat At first she was happy - he moved stake round­
Again ... again ... ..liways fresh grass
I felt fear until we left H,Q milked her
,uld her about other six: how sixth fought all night but still
die~d
In class
1 Tell the class you r anecdote.
I L~W w(H-)ks later White became restless

l'lillt-)d 011 rope - kicked at milking time

2 Ask them to draw the scene you evoked, or a previous or later

:;()llllill nskerJ why

scene in the story.


'1l1dtu lhis stak~. I want to go up into the high mountains'
3 Ask them to compare drawings in small groups. Ill: II )(;/wtl Iw! in shed
4 As homework, ask them to prepare to tell anecdotes about them­
selves. Explain that these should be one-scene anecdotes. 1/,11 I flllflott n window at back open
WIIIII' II!oIIl1 llut up into high mountains
/\,1,' t 11 W ! I rrll;~i, cl r;:mk horn streams, ju mped from rock to rock
In the next class
1111' ".1nl, IH!;IIc1I1( wlinH ill mountains above her
S Get those who have anecdotes ready to tell them to a small group. 'd 11' 1101' II ;IWi,y l:llLi!ej fiO 110 further - precipice behind
6 Ask tbe hsteners to draw the scenes evoked. Lct the tellers re~group 1"'1
and listen to each other's stories while rhis is going on. (,"", w1dll'1. y,,·i1wlll1 hl~1 ;dlllighl
7 Using the drawings ()s () centrepoint, ask the students who were . ,Ill r l'f,1 i"lld I. '11 ''-11111' "i 11 lJuill hutted and stamped _
listening to tell the stories they have learnt to others who h()vG not I" pi \J 011" f f
yet heard them. ,I 'lit I WII'!I'''",.,",

.. 11 I" 111'1 .111 IWI,III·.IIIII1',1

Retelling
Parallel stories

Skeleton B 11 I I, I:" •

The cat that walk I by itself Ilgg '~t two ways of tunning this exercise.

Once upon a time all allilll.Jis together in forest: lion, tiger IIII lANGUAGE LABORATORY
etc, and cow, dog, gOClt, Crlt - all wild
Man lives with Woman and Baby in cave - outside forest " 1111 (JIlt the story yOll have taped to half the booths. Half the
One day dog hungry - nQthinn to eat in forest - goes 11,1"llts listen to this in their own time. In the meantime you
hunting outside l'II',IL!;lst the other story to the other half of the group.
Comes to Man's cave - smell of meat - warmth of fire .1 I Ill; 'srudcnts if they want to listen again. As soon as some of
Dog sniffs, comes closer 1I J, I11 ,\ I'e ready ~sk them to take off their headphones and pair off

'Do you want something to eat, Dog?' iI, ',(II(Jcnts who listened to the other storv. Thev tell each other
, I ~ 11 ',I () I'll'S. ' I

Dog shy, but comes closer - man repeats question


Man tempts Dog with meat, then proposes bargain
11 I I!\SSR OOM
Man to give Dog food and warmth, Dog to help man hunt
etc, I 11.11 f I he cbss to listen to the tape you have made. Make sure
Dog agrees "'1' I,d d1('1l1 call work the machine.
Later, same with Cow - milk etc. I 11, Ihe' 1I1ht:r half of the group to another room, into a corridor
Later, same with Sheep / Goat etc. , '11'11'1'11 'r"CC and tell them the other story,
Very much later, Cat very, very hungry and thin, comes I' 1111'. IIll'St' sllldents back and ask them to pair off with members
along 101 11" ',1111'1' group. The partners tell their respective stories.
Cat sneaks into cave, Man absent, looks for mice, curls up
nearfire, plays with Baby I1 ,,,ish to gmerate discussion after the telling around
\1111
Man comes back - very angry - throws rocks at Cat IJlld,lI'Illl'S \'011 could brainstorm a theme word such as
Cat leaves 'lI,r,':lliij1fl/"/I'" ell' J )011I lsticatio!'1 or Freedom prior to the listening
Later, Woman calls out into darkness '1111"" <,I"rie':,; ;1 ~ood W"ly of doing this tS to ask students to
'If you will come around now and again, hunt mice, keep 11" r J' ',1 l! 1111)' 1 h;11 COli1CS in to their heads on hearing the
Baby amused, I'll let you have scraps, a little warmth­ ""I ~ lj'·,.II:;siol1 of the dmwings then naturally provides a
but if Man is angry he will throw rocks at you' 11!'"11 Illl di'7(·ll.s"ioJl of the theme,
Cat agrees,
(after Kipling, Just So Stories)
'I S(lIril';; ·IIOS('11 for this exercise should be
',1111< 111\,
I, ,11,,, I illllllW" ,IS ,dlll\'(', or ill slIpcrtici:ll cOlltent. The
III
Before class I", 11' ~'·'.IIl>ll" III.I} t',i\(' ;111 it/L'a of Ihe rallge.
Tell one of the stories to a tape-recorder. As you tell imagine you 11 I" 111/ ' ,11,,11"1 wiill i11l' Ir,t.liliolla] C;oldilocks story (sce
have a real aud.ience, as you would have to do if you were making a
radio recording for transmission. Prepare to tell the other story 'live'
I" tllII'! t (',-11

I'
Retelling Parallel stories

And some said

They make porrid!Jl: '11) (lilt for walk while It cools


Little old woman t:()lhl!~; 10 ,~()ltc ge 'You made the blind see, why didn't you save Lazarus?'

She looks through 1,11e; kllyhull'! Jesus went to Lazarus' grave


She lifts the latch Asked people to remove the stone

Not nice old woman didll't knock Called

Three bowls of porridge un tllble - she tastes them 'Lazarus, come forth ['

big bowl too hot - she sClY~ ~I bad word


middle bowl too cold - says bad word The dead man walked out of his grave
little bowl just right, eats it all, not enough - she says bad (St John's Gospel)
word
Three chairs - she tries them
big chair too hard - bad word
middle chair too soft - bad word
little chair right - sits, breaks it - bad word
Three beds He came still wrapped in graveclothes

same thing Staggered, blinked in the light

falls asleep in smallest He stank

Bears return fleople shrank from him

See bowls, see chairs, see beds, see old woman ~~isters led him home

She wakes - jumps out of window


Wi;lshed him

What happened to her? broke neck? lost in forest? Arreste


still stank

Hc;)
as vagrant?
Bears never saw her again Sisters gave a feast for him

Villa~Jers came

(after Robert Southey)


Tllll srncll got worse

I', 'pp!/-) 1I nable to look at his face

Nu l)'ll~ spoke to him

(b) Tell 'The river' p.l2 (in parallel with 'Two friends' (3.2).
(c) Divide your class into two, three or four groups, then tell two or 11,: Idl tile room

more of the following in parallel: 111111 !fi1fden

MlllHllinllt, fresh air

Skeleton A I "Xl rJlo/llillg Mart/la found him


11.111 ",11 on oliv(~ tree
Jesus was across the river (,lIlt:1 11,,":; I uilmr, AllJumente fur Lazarus)
He heard that Lazarus was ill
He waited two days, then returned to Bethany
Lazarus was dead
I 'f l I
He found the house full of people
'If you had been here he wouldn't have died' said Martha
'IIIIIH.I"I"I, I ,1.,.1/11:, W I' ',lll"'!1 dt home news came:
They sent for Lazarus's and Martha's sister Mary 1"11.1 "I/"',ld" III JI1III' .l'It III
'If you had been here he wouldn't heWO dj""" Id Mary ,11 ,M.lIl"",,,,," ill 1101 ,11'" ,,/',,111111
11" I I" I I I1I 1111 I,·
.JII 'IH; rli'f!n', kllnw wll 11 tn dn

I I I,
Retelling Storymaking and retelling

Lazarus unwillin~~
Story-making and retelling
Doesn't feel well

Cold outside: afraid il~:'11 WL:l a chill

hasn't felt too good sil1(~(: ,

'" since he was ,,' 'so ill'


Two friends
'Lazarus, come with us'

During war two friends meet in street


'I will." only".
Before they used to fish together every Sunday
I'm so afraid of dying again' Now war has stopped this - battle very close
They drink in cafe - decide to go fishing
(after Karek Capek, Lazarus, Apocryphal Stories)
Collect tackle - walk into country through own lines
Persuade officer to let them through into no-m an's land
Skeleton D Across the river the enemy
Guns start'up - they ignore them, begin to fish
Jesus looked at Lazarus
They fish, they talk, they fish
Lazarus looked at Jesus
Men surround them - the enemy
Both smiled

'What is the password?'


Lazarus went home
They don't know
Three months later he was married
hey shake hands - are shot
Jesus stayed by the grave for a few minutes 'nemy officer has ~heir fish cooked for his supper
Spoke about God and eternity
Then left, back across the Jordan (uftor Guy de Maupassant)

Lazarus was in Jerusalem when Jesus crucified


the news came: Jesus' grave empty
Laza ru s we nt to see
I 'w"I,I.rclSl·' fro!1l the story, e.g.
He looked into the empty grave

friends
And the light went out in his eyes

li~;hillg no-man's land


(after David Kossoff, The Book of Witnesses)
IHT'ill:ldl' Sunday
Both Capek and Kossoff are good sources for variant stories. In the
area of traditional fairy stories, we recommend Iona and Peter Opie,
officer
The Classic Fairy Tales, OUP 1974 and Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses
of Enchantment, Penguin 1978.
Fairy stories in the news
Retelling

NOTE When preparing yOIJl" nWIl wo!d roses, you should be


careful to choose words that ,Ire 11("ltlll']' loo general to glVe a clue.t~
rothers cleare of
the story, nor tOo specific: 'keywords' tend to rob the exerClse of itS urder
variety. 'd f f cl Two brothers who killed their sister's husband in a knife
By setting the words in a 'rose' yon r\'l\l~lVC the 1 ea 0 a lxe,
fight were found not guilty of his murder at Huddersfield
sequence of ideas, and allow the thell1es uf the story to be seen 1I1 Crown Court yesterday after the prosecution withdrew all
greater clarity, charges,
I
Peter Alb~rt Finnist?n, 19, body in then:, He was strange
Cl corporal In the Pnnce of that way,' saId Mrs Barber.
Wales Regiment, and his Later, when her husband
3.3 Fairy stories in the news hrother Lewis Finniston, 23, a retumed and found the key
Sl~CUrity guard, had acted in missing, Mrs Barber told him
Ihe only way they could to de- what she had done, 'He
Skeleton
fend their sister, said the picked up the kitchen knife
judge. and came at me like a mad
Bluebeard instructing the jury to find thing. If my brothers hadn't
Ugly man, blue beard - rich castle Ihe defendants not guilty, Mr arrived, he'd have done me
Has already had seven wives \ Justice Holmroyd said that in,'
Marries a young gir~ hut for their intervention Mrs Giving evidence, Mr Peter
JlIli\!. Barber, 19, of Halt Finniston described how he
One month later . Manor Farm, Woodley, would had been home on leave from
Gives wife all his keys - she may use all except little key ll.sslll'edly have been killed by the Army, and had decided to
This opens room in tower ,I wr husband. ride over to Woodley to visit
He leaves on business - she explores the ~astle E~lrliL:r the court was told his sister.
Opens room in tower - blood, heads, bodies of seven how Mrs Barber had married 'We heard the screams as
wives 111(".t1 farmer Jacob 'Bluey' we came into the yard. When
Terrified - drops key, picks it up, locks door 11.111)('1, il widower of 53, 'out we got to the back door we
Key covered in blood - will not wash off "f (I il'llllship' in July last year. saw Bluey bending over Julie
'11.' was Cl qui t, gentle man,' with a knife in his hand. ]
Bluebeard back: she gives him all keys except bloody one '..lid l\1rs narblT, 'and ] kicked down the door and
'Where is it?' tll"III~III Ill" wOllld take care of grabbed him while Lewis tried
She tells him Ill" .lfl,', Ill\' f;llhvr died.' to get the knife off him.
'Then you must die.' 1111 till" .Ifl('rno()1I of the Somehow the knife must have
1'1111 {), lobL'l, Mrs Barlwr was gone into him.'
She begs 15 minutes to pray
,oI"llC" III Ill' IltlllSL' whilt: her Superintendant Roderick
Calls to sister standing on battlements 11I1')1.111l1 W;\S oul Oil the C..rimstone, of West Yorkshire
7'
'Anne, sister Anne, what do you see". , 11''''''', 'IlllIulillj( 11]1 slray I'lllice, refused to comment to
'Only the green grass and the sun shining •. 11' "1' n.-porters about persistent ru­
'An ne, sister Anne, .,. ' '.11l dl"ld,·d ICI jll~'ll('l"t lIlt, l11()urs in the district that hu­

'Only the green grass ... ' Ill" "I I I.,· I /111 l'C'llllII' 111;,11 ITmaills had been found
111110111011',.' ,Ilid l""h IIIl' l,,'v ill till' dttic of Holt Manor
'Anne sister Anne, ... '
'A clo~d of dust far away in the distance' 1,,'"1 I 1111" II1 11\1" 1,11,IIl'11 ]0'.11111. '\\1(' dn' still making
III ,dw,,\' h"pl Ill, .1111l', "'1l11111W into Ill(' III;lI\for,' he
'Anne, sister Anne, ... '
I I L. ,I "1111 \ "1'010111'1 1.'1 11" ' .. 11.1
'I see two horsernen coming'
0111111"'1111/1'1 /,',1 011,1",/ 'I I I;: ,)
Ilr!1 11IOHH~f'; ilrr\V!~ kiIII\IIII·!II1,lld
Retelling
Fairy stories in the news

Before class
Prepare sufficient copies of till' Ill'w~p:lJH'r itl'm for one quarter of the
class.
The state of mind of a
mouse
In class Bloxwich pet-shop owner mouse, unharmed, after about
1 Divide the class into two groups.
Gurmit Singh walked free five minutes,

2 Ask the students in one group to forlll p:1irs.


from Walsall Magistrates'

Court yesterday because two Local vet Peter Barnwell


3 To each pair, give one copy of the newspaper article. (Students
veterinary surgeons could not said that in his opiniop the
co-operate more closely when working from the same copy.) mouse would have been ter­
agTee Over a mouse's state of
4 Ask each pair to list on a piece of paper the main fact11al items in mind. rified at the very sight of the
the article. snake, and should have been
Mr Singh, 53, a dealer in removed 'after at most two
S Take the other group away to a quiet place and tell them the story rare animals for over twenty
oudined in the skeleton. minutes', but his view was
years, had been brought to contested by Dr WaIter
6 Ask the students in this group to form pairs, and to work out in l:c>urt by the RSPCA for Barnes, senior lecturer in vet.
each pair how to tell the story to the students who have not heard iJlllj'cting unnecessary suffer­ erinary medicine at Aston
the story. ing on the mOUse by putting it University: 'If the mouse had
7 Bring the class back together and ask each student to team up wicll in a python's cage. been terrified, it would have
one from the other group. I le explained to the court made frantic attempts to es­
8 Ask the students in each new pair to exchange stories and facts. I hat he had been very worried cape, which it did not.'
abuut thc python's state of The python later died.

V ARIA TION An alternative way to use this material is to treat the h ·alth. It had refused all food

article as a norma] comprehension passage - use any method of I t}j over a week, and had even

presenting the passage that is within their expectations. Don't tell ! :Ilkd to respond when a dead

them that the article is only a simulated piece. IIlOuse was put in the cage.

Then ask the class, in small groups, to discuss the article to find In d 'spt:ration, he said, his
out if it reminds them of any traditional story they have read or 0111\[ lIt'l hac! tried to tempt
heard. rill" '11':Lt 1Ife 's appetite with a
Finally, tell them how the article was composed - and tell the 11\" Iql..IIJ,~l', Whl'lI this also
story. 11I1lll"ll, 01111101 to bl' to its lik­
111.', ,,11l' had removed the
As a further exercise, in a later meeting, the class might like to
compose their own 'newspaper items' from traditional stories.
1I JI' !lyt 11 Oil
CHOICE OF STORIES/ARTICLES If you wish to create your own
materials, you can work either from story to article, or the other wa It,ll 111111' 1101111 Iivl)l! ill p.liJl:(J Bokhara
in
round. In the following example, we took a newspaper article and 11, 11 I I I "" lit:! '. c:.lllfld I,iirlh. ii"f~f1i<:~, tanks of exotic fish
produced a story from it: '11 'I I' . III 1111/1\ ,1IIc~, 111l~1I1
1o"II.IIIIII1I1I.!.lIl"jlll l ll w,/r (•. fl1t1 ~wntl8
I, ''1' 1"·1111 liT r, 1IIIId"llIlI! s~lcl Slll~ hid from

1'''11

I ~,,,,II"II·,J,'llll'i,II·. .1111 11 11111".


I '.'1111" '.1 1.111 IIW' •• 1,,1

,'lor'lll I p/

.11
,i
Retelling In old clothes

One morning pedlar came to gate


I flu' next class
Laid beautiful box before merchant I' I11 1 he students and ask them to tell each other their stories, and
Inside - blue, green, gold coils - python with unblinking 1,), tllq find them sad.
eyes I I hem to exchange articles with their partners. Then ask each
Merchant asked price - pedlar vanished ,'111"111 to go rhrough his or her partner's article, and to write

Merchant built python gold and ivory cage I. 1\\'11 the live most important words in it, on a sheet of paper.
Gave python special servant to serve him choicest food I1 till' members of each pair to hand their sheets of paper to the
Merchant caressed cool coils '''' IldH'l'S of another pair.
1.111 ht· students to prepare, as homework, to tell a story in the
After a week merchant noticed snake's colours less bright
I ••• I11 ic 111:11 'Once upon a time...' fairy-tale manner, using the five
Dismissed servant - prepared python's food himself
I q ,I,. I hq. ha v'e been given as keywords in their stories.
Snake would not eat - motionless
Daughter found father weeping - took python to her roo
Laid it in wardrobe on her silken clothes - it was light now
One of her pet mice died - gave it to python - no reaction
Offered him live mouse \ "111111(' d~\ss in fours, so that each group of four contains the
Mouse paralysed with fear • ,," 1('1', of I he original pairs involved in step 4 above.
Python stirred, raised head, eyed shivering mouse I . 11.11 of the groups in turn to tell his or her fairy tale.
11I1'mhCl'

Shuddered - collapsed - died Ill, I 1,1111 1I,Iling the member who originally wrote the keywords

Enter father - mouse sniffed python - jumped over his .,",d.1 '.lllll111;\rise the article they were taken from.
coils
Father told daughter to pack bags I I' I I 11S1I';l(.1 of asking students to pick the saddes t article,
Told steward to sell animals, house - divide money 111'" .IIClos' the most stupid, the most important, or the least
among servants ., or .\. ,11 t Ic 1(', l'1e. The idea should always be to get them
Father and daughter walked out of city of Bokhara 111 .1" h.1 \\';1 • th;lt they are personally involved and aware.

I I I It, 11111 N'I Wl' Ie'unt the idea of emotional selection


'.1110'> M;\l·/,lll.

3,4 In old clothes

Before class
Get hold of a different English language newspaper for each student
or use a class set of one or more EFL collections of newspaper
articles (e.g. Janice Abbott, Meet the Press, CUP 1981).

In class
1 Give out the newspapers or books of articles and ask the studeni
as homework, to select the saddest article they can find. Tell the!
to come to the lJcxt chss r ':ldy to tell :,110! 11('1' IWI·.1l1l i11l' c:onlclI
of 11)(' ;\I'I;dt· :llId wllv tl1I'Y /IIH1 il ~;Id.
Grammar practice

Before I -..".·...·n ... They go upstairs and look at beds


Section 4 'Who's been sleeping in my bed?'

Baby Bear adds: '.. ,and who's still sleeping there now?'

Goldilocks wakes, jumps up, out of window and home

4.1 Grammar practice I 1'" '.('111 ;lnddrill ot practise the present perfect continuous in your
111"111;11 way. Lead into a situation in which one student can
If vou are involved in structure te,lching, whether straight or cloake "tll ,I iL';dly' say to the class: 'Who's been sitting on my chair I
in"notions', and wish to move beyond l11t'ch::ll1ical drilling you mlgh I 11', 'hook?' Get people eating each other's sweets, biscuits etc,
want to try this exercise: '" )'1CldIICC a situation for: 'Who's been eating my chocolate I
I "Ill'.... idly-babies.'
, 1I I Ill' ~I ory ::ll1d get the class to chorus the 'Who's been .. ' bits. A
Example structure X \ ~:~e been -ing Y
I 11 ',1111111 is to split the class into three groups and allot Father

(present perfect continuous) I'.. I, '" \,.Irt to onc group, Mothet's to the next and Baby Bear's to
I" 1.)'.1 !~r()llp. They can be asked to chorus in deep, normal and
'1'1, ,,I \' voices.

Skeleton III I ·.II{lICTllRES, OTHER STORIES Plenty of stories use


I. ,,'1"'111 iOIl of sequences or sentences as an essential device.
Goldilocks q " I 1,.1111\'11 h r gra mma r structure will naturally occur as part of
Little girl goes for walk in woods - mother warns her no~ t 11111111, 1I11' n:pL'ti tiol1. being central to the story, and pleasur-
Comes to house in clearing, knocks - no answer - goes In

Tries three chairs I •• ·.I,>IIo· c .I,l'!o\o\';\reofthissorr:


Big one too hard, middle one rather hard, little one just rig
" I ,.,j
Breaks leg of little chair
Tries three bowls of porridge
Big one too hot, middle one rather hot, little one just right
Eats porridge all up
I,ll",' wi"hes
Tired - goes upstairs - tries three beds
11 L III .lIllllli~; witl.neithor rich
First one too big, middle one rather big, little one just righ
I11 V I,II~ flllllf~lrIliql1hours· richer than they
Goes to sleep
'11111,01111111\' wiull( !; . .' ~>ilicl th~ wife
House belongs to three bears - they tramp back through I I 111111'1" 1'/:lt"llill:;,'~nidhe
forest
In turn, Father, Mother and Baby Bear look at their chairs (.'11" ,1111"11111l'~I! wh;lles- goes
'Who's been sitting on my chair?'
Baby Bear adds: ' ... and who's broken it?'
They look at bowls and say, in turn
I, 11 1 ," I' '
'Who's been eating my porridge?'
B;:l!Jy B ilr ~l(trls:' ,IIH\ wl1n':. ,!;I\"1111 .• 11 '11'" 11" -1"1 .. 1,, .. 111)1' \/..,111," Id. 11' 1,l.ly
Re("ore ] he,!!,;"'"

4.2 Theme sentences


Next mOll111111 11, II,d,1 ,.

Says 'I wi:;11111 "I., ,,!


Skeleton
Yard of t)l"ck I'lldolll1'1 '

Husband fur iUII'.


Brontsha The Silent
'I wish itwollld ,.tll f 1" ''I''''

It does - she trln .1(11'11111 1 ,'11


Brontsha died silent and unremembered
'I wish it were YUIII"
But in Heaven they knew of him and waited
It goes
His trial was prepared in Great Hall of Heaven
They realise what lln:.lloI)'I' III ,I
Brontsha arrived. Defending angel stood to speak:
'On earth Brontsha never complained
Circumcising knife slipped - he did not cry out
1]'II , + infinitive Mother died when he was eight - he said nothing
won t
Stepmother gave him mouldy bread - herself drank coffee
with cream
Skeleton Father made him chop wood barefoot in snow
Brontsha never complained
The three little pigs Went to city - found work as porter
Boss said 'I'll pay you next month' - didn't - Brontsha
A mother pig and three little pigs
She sends them out to build their own boil'.,,,. llilt mind showed no anger
Married - wife ran off - Brontsha brought up child
the wolf!
First pig begs straw off a farmer - builds IlClil:": ut straw
When 40 Brontsha run over by rich man's carriage
Second pig ... sticks from woodman
In hospital full of groaning people he did not groan. He
Third pig ... bricks from builder
died
Wolf comes to first pig's house

No one sad - 10 people waited for his bed, 50 for his place
'Little pig, little pig, let me in'

in the mortuary
'No, by the hair on my chinny chin chin,

I won't let you in'


Prosecuting angel stood to speak:

'Then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow the house down'
Words dried on his tongue, he sat down

And he does, and eats the first little pig

Judge welcomed Brontsha to Heaven:

Second pig - same


'What reward do you want - you can have anything'

Third pig - same, but wolf cannot


Brontsha said:
He gets angry, tries to come down chimney
'Your Worship, could I have, each morning, a hot roll with
Third pig is waiting with pot of boiling water
butter for my breakfast?'
End of wolf

Judge and angels bowed their heads


1,,-lY Wllre ashamed to have created such meekness on
, '.11111
Before I begin ... A picture starter

Before class 4.3 A picture starter


Puteachofthefollowingsl'IIII'IIlI' '0)1 '1 , ']' >11 wil.l need
a set of cards for every four ~l licl.-111 Skeleton
The poor produce the rich
Beggars can't be choosers Gelert
Heaven is tomorrow A man had a favourite dog, Gelert
Anger begets meekness Dog devoted to man and his infant son
Dog guarded house when man away
In class One day he goes hunting - leaves dog on guard
Wolves attack house
1 Group the students in fours.

Dog defends child - kills one wolf - wounds many


2 Give each group the first sentence ca I'd.

3 Ask the students to discuss the mcallillt~ cd 1111' ',llill'llI I' ;I~ it
Man returns - blood everywhere, cannot find child
stands. When discussion runs low on tld~, ,]'.1' 1111'111 III reverse
the Thinks Gelert has killed his son: kills Gelert
underlined parts of the sentence, as 'The I it 11 I" Id III c' I h~l2por',
C
Too late - finds son patting dead body of wolf
then ask them to discuss the reversed s ntcrl'l'.
4 Then give out the second sentence card alld flop!':tl. ]'.~ putting the Before class
sentences on cards, you can feed in new thCllll:S :I~ :llld when each
group is ready, Prepare to dra w on the blackboard a picture of an Alsatian or other
5 Tell the story. (frightening) dog, or ask a student to do it for you.

CHOICE OF SENTENCES FOR REVERSAL To k::ld ill 1"0 a given In class


story the sentences need to be broadly related to rhe d1l'Jlic(s) of the
story, and semantically and grammatically reversihle. 'lhey should 1 Put up the picture (or ask your student to draw) on the blackboard.
be simple. Sayings and proverbs are powerful material for this kind Let the students look at the picture and ask them to share their
of exercise. associations, feelings etc. about the dog.
2 Tell the class that you are going to tell them a story about the
V ARIA TI 0 NS Further examples of this style of exercise can be picture - invite them to speculate on what form your story will
found in Frank, Rinvolucri, and Berer, Challenge to think, OUP take.
1982. 3 Tell the stOry to the group.
4 Allow a few moments' thought after you have told the story then
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We first met the teversal idea in the invite comment from the group. '
writing of Edward de Bono, but we suspect it may have an older
history. NOTE Another story that lends itself to this treatment is:

The pigeon
I";II~(I (If ':rrl:-lll, modern house in Montevideo
Hl'Il'l!,I,dflC:i.d
: ,'Ii" filii" c 11I1C~rotr~
1','/, ,",1.,11 .d,lrI1111w;lil~; ~~'~il~·;()tl'S first rbll:0
III j I I 111.111,.1,1/111111;111111' ill tir',1

I: ,'I
Picture rose
Before I begin ...

A big black cloud came between sun and earth

He sees bird cirdillllllV"illl1,1I1 '1.1i1y 11 I Hl':ord I?


Sun's rays could not get through - sun was unhappy etc....

He knows it is his hil d


Bird circles - refuso~,14I' 1111 .... Ii.WII f'"1l1Io!t Cloud shut out the sun - made grass green

Late afternoon - sun "ll1klll'l Cloud poured down rain on rock - it made no impression

Bird has special cylin1kr 1111 I. 11 110: 11111',\ ~;tarnp cylinder in Cloud was not happy ...

a time clock to prove 'filiI


Rock stood there - man came with pickaxe and shovel

Tries to lure bird down In lofl: IHII:, 111111 .. 1 h wears when


Hacked stone from the rock

feeding birds

Rock said: 'This man is stronger than I', Rock not happy

Rattles feeding tins

'I want to be the q uarryman'

Whistles - no good

Angel appeared 'You are the quarryman'

Fetches shotg un He was a quarryman, hacking stone from the rock

Aims His work hard - he wondered if he was happy

Shoots down bird - grabs it - fmlCl5 (~ylinJer into clock


His first win - surely (after Multatuli, Max Havelaar)

He clutches broken bird

Breaks down
Before class
'What have I done?'
Prepare to draw a number of images suggested by the story (say 4-6
(after Carlos Martinez Moreno, 'La Palorna') pictures) or arrange for a student to do it for you.

In class

4.4 Pictu re rose 1 Put up the pictures on the blackboard as shown below, e.g.

Skeleton

The quarryman
The quarryman's work was hard - he wasn't happy
Said: 'If I was rich, I could sleep in a bed with silken
curtains'
Angel appeared: 'You are rich'
Man was rich: slept in bed with silken curtains
King came by - gold carriage - horsemen in front and
behind
Rich man not happy. He said 'I want to be king'

Angel appeared: 'You are king'

He was king

Sun shone down - burnt up grass

King saw sun hlld more power than him - he was n-\

happy ,~t('
1,1
,,11
Before I begill ...

2 Tell the class that yCl11 ,Ill' ,.,,111' I.. I 1101(. 'I' , '''I' .IICllllld the
Section 5 Co-operative telling
pictures oO-the bo,lrd ~11\'JI' 11" ill I .. I" I filii' "" \\'li,ll torm
your story will take.
3 Tell the story to the gmllp.
4 Allow a few moments' tllDlI)',111 .ill' 1',"111 h.', ",1.1 b' story, then
invite comment from tht: I~rolq',

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Th:lllk', V,I I I" I Ill" 111,1 r .ll1d('cl1 Sion for 5.1 Co-operative stories in the language lab
translating this story out of the Drip,IILd 11111.11,
Skeleton

The unicorn
The husband woke up and looked out of the window,
Describe the husband
He saw a unicorn eating a lily in the garden,
Describe the garden
He woke his wife up and told her there was a unicorn in the
garden eating a lily, She said: 'Don't be silly, there can't
be; the unicorn is a mythical beast.'
Describe the wife
The husband went down to take a closer look atthe unicorn,
but it had gone, He sat down on a bench near the roses
and went to sleep, He had a dream
What did he dream?
The wife rang the psychiatrist and the police. She told
them her husband was going mad, She asked them to
come quickly with a straitjacket.
Describe the psychiatrist
She told the psychiatrist: 'My husband said he saw a
unicorn in the garden eating a lily.' The psychiatrist asked
the husband: 'Did you see a unicorn in the garden eating a
lily?' To this the husband replied; JOf course not, the
unicorn is a mythical beast.'
Finish the story
(after Thurberl
'hl' instrlll'li'III'; ill ilalic :lre to the student.)

I 1111"1 )'111 Id .\,1 I Ii ." 11,,' ',Ill 1"111 111.ld1l1H'~; Ill' rnvillll ;dll1ll'
\.\1111· Ill!' 111'\ 1",11,1'11.111, 11'"'.0,1""1,1'," i"llh 111,1',1"1 .lllil'.ll1c1l"1ll
1101' I,.
Before I begill ...

2 Tell the class that yCl11 ,Ill' ,.,,111' I.. I 1101(. 'I' , '''I' .IICllllld the
Section 5 Co-operative telling
pictures oO-the bo,lrd ~11\'JI' 11" ill I .. I" I filii' "" \\'li,ll torm
your story will take.
3 Tell the story to the gmllp.
4 Allow a few moments' tllDlI)',111 .ill' 1',"111 h.', ",1.1 b' story, then
invite comment from tht: I~rolq',

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Th:lllk', V,I I I" I Ill" 111,1 r .ll1d('cl1 Sion for 5.1 Co-operative stories in the language lab
translating this story out of the Drip,IILd 11111.11,
Skeleton

The unicorn
The husband woke up and looked out of the window,
Describe the husband
He saw a unicorn eating a lily in the garden,
Describe the garden
He woke his wife up and told her there was a unicorn in the
garden eating a lily, She said: 'Don't be silly, there can't
be; the unicorn is a mythical beast.'
Describe the wife
The husband went down to take a closer look atthe unicorn,
but it had gone, He sat down on a bench near the roses
and went to sleep, He had a dream
What did he dream?
The wife rang the psychiatrist and the police. She told
them her husband was going mad, She asked them to
come quickly with a straitjacket.
Describe the psychiatrist
She told the psychiatrist: 'My husband said he saw a
unicorn in the garden eating a lily.' The psychiatrist asked
the husband: 'Did you see a unicorn in the garden eating a
lily?' To this the husband replied; JOf course not, the
unicorn is a mythical beast.'
Finish the story
(after Thurberl
'hl' instrlll'li'III'; ill ilalic :lre to the student.)

I 1111"1 )'111 Id .\,1 I Ii ." 11,,' ',Ill 1"111 111.ld1l1H'~; Ill' rnvillll ;dll1ll'
\.\1111· Ill!' 111'\ 1",11,1'11.111, 11'"'.0,1""1,1'," i"llh 111,1',1"1 .lllil'.ll1c1l"1ll

1101' I,.

Co-operative telling Group story

In class Two brothers


1 Explain any words in the sk\'k1"11 dl,ll rill' , h,s is unlikely to A mother left her two young sons alone in the hut while
know. she went to market.
2 Put the lab into 'broadcast (Will tIll', IlII',tlk' 1l10dt and explain Describe the hut
that you are going to tell thelll ;1 :,111I y. I\t n'rt:lill points you will When she was away, raiders attacked the village and
pause and ask them to fill in the dl'l,.llls, ·'pC:lkillg Oil to their own carried the boys off into slavery.
tapes. Ask them to set their machill\':. 10 In( :ORD. Describe the leader of the raiders
3 Tell the first section of the skeletoll ;t!JllVl' :\IlJ give them the first The boys are sold to different masters, but promise each
instruction. Monitor with ear and eyt.:, ,11111 whcll Il~;arly everybody other that whichever finds freedom first will buy the other.
has finished speaking break in gently with 'jv1:IY I tell you the next The first son is lucky; he gets a good master and learns a
part?' Then repeat the process until rh, ('IIJ of the story. trade. Eventually he buys his freedom.
Describe the first brother's master
4 Ask the students to wind back their tapes :llld thcn to swap
The second is sold to a bad master, He becomes ill, and at
booths. Invite them to listen to the tape in rhl' Ilew booth and to
las~ becomes his own brother's slave. His brother does not
note down on a piece of paper three lallgll;,ge Illistakes they spot.
recognise him, and ill-treats him.
S Ask the students to swap booths again, Itaving the slips of paper.

Describe the i//-treatment


6 Repeat steps 4 and S.

The slave makes friends with his brother's little daughter.


7 Ask the students to return to their original booths anJ to listen to
She brings him food from her own plate. He tells her his
their own tapes while noting the mistakes noted down by their story,
friends. Tell the story the slave told
8 With earphones off; allow time for questions and comments on The first brother notices his daughter slipping away to the
the slips. slave quarters,
Finish the story
(after 'The Two Brothers Otete and More', in Folk Tales
V ARIATlON If you don't want to work in a lab the above exercise and Fables, ed. P, itayemi & P. Gurrey)
can also be done in writing. In this case, the story will have to be
read:
1 Explain unfamiliar words.
2 Dictate the first sentence and give the first instruction. Move
round the class helping and correcting as needed. Then continue
with the second sentence, ete.
3 At the end of the exercise, put up the stories round the walls of the 5.2 Group story
room so that students can read each other's work.
Skeleton

The ghost
NOTES The best sort of story for this exercise is one that can easily
be reduced to five or six sentences I short paragraphs. It should be A woman lay on death bed
YOI'llI[.j
unfamiliar to the students. rIIld 'lId)Hnc! not to take other woman after her death
When preparing the story for laboratory use, make sure that at 11 ill' did, '.'111' Wtlldd come and haunt him
least S<)Il1C of the descriptions by students are- of more than just
11" 1"11'1 d.". f.,illtllil fill' tllr': rllo,ntht;
individll:ll char:l ·tcrs, likt· th drc:l1l1 desc;.rip,tiol1 (ahow). TIlt'
11,· rll"· I VI '"JllIl. 11,11' In I(lv,:, not flllq. q ~(I
fnlluwi Ill', :.t III'}' I" ('1\ 11'1 i lie I bI',;
Dictation
Co-operative telling

Every night wife's ghost blallwd 11111' for engagement In class


Told him in detail about his COIlVc:t ·.ations with sweetheart 1 Dictate the words in the list singly and in the order given.
Ghost described presents he nav l : 11 er 2 Appoint one member of the group as secretary and ask him or her to
Young man desperate . stand at the blackboard.
Deci'ded to consult sage - sage livud in mountains 3 Ask the other members of the group to read out the words they have
written down and to agree on spellings for each: the secretary
Sage said 'Tel.l your wife that if sh<.: answers one question should write down the agreed spellings, in order, on the blackboard.
you will break off the engagement' Allow the students to work out their versions before confirming or
Young man asked what the question was otherwise.
'Take handful of beans, ask her hoW many you've got' 4 When the whole list is on the blackboard, ask the students, working
'H she doesn't know you will realise she is only in your alone or in small groups, to construct a story from the list, following
head' the order given.
--- 5 Ask the students to share their stories.
Next night young man told ghost she knew everything
about him
Ghost: 'Yes, I know you visited a wise man yesterday' Skeleton
Young man: 'How many beans have I got in this hand?'
.. __ ....­ If you or your students feel the need for a 'definitive' version, you may
There was no ghost there to answe r the question like to use this:
(after Watzlawick)
The seventh rose
A man, 38, schoolmaster, self-contained
In class Mother dies
Invite three students to come out and sit behind you, facing the Though he has not realised it, very fond of mother
class. Tell the three that whenever you stop in the telling of the story After funeral, breaks down, cannot cope
you want them to speak about what they can see in their imaginations Teaching, living - all goes wrong
at the point reached. During the narration you may feel you want to Obsession, guilt, compulsively ta'lks about mother
replace the original panel of three with another panel. In the skeleton Harley St - sees psychiatrist
above stopping places are suggested! but you should be aware before Psychiatrist hypnotises him
you start telling a story where you are likely to want to stop. Gives him seven roses - tells him to throwaway one every
day for a week
Each time he throws away flower, guilt willllessen
With seventh rose, problem will have gone
5.3 Dictation Man goes, does as psychiatrist says (we think) - career
improves - becomes professor at University
Material But
In his buttonhole, always, is a faded, weedy flower stalk
SCHOOLMASTER HYPNOTISE
BACHELOR SEVEN ROSES (nftor Ken Whftmore, The Seventh Rose)
MOTIIP..R
THROW AWAY
DEATH IMPROVEMENT

( '11< ) 11 I I 11 ~ J 11/ t\I SlOrit,;s fonhis <;:xerciSl: should


FIJNERAI SUCCESS

!lJ'I·!l'I.d,h I, ''''I'' "1111 1 ,1 •. 111,1 rid! ill strong '(,Cltl\l'lll-words'.


( )!~ SI:, SS) ( ) N

I". Y( 1111\'1'1< 1',1


p.II'rT()NHOI.F
I t\ I) F)) IILlI' \'. (I. "t· III 111 !

,ot
,.
Co-operative telling Scene to story

VILLAGE 5.4 Scene to story


EMIGRATE
MARRIAGE Skeleton
ABSENCE
PREGNANT The dragon of Nara
SHAME
ATTACK There once lived priest in Nara - ugly, long nose etc.
DESTRUCTION Everybody made fun of him: Bitter
BIRTH Decides to play practical joke
DEEP WELL
He puts up notice by lake
SUICIDE
ON MARCH 3 A DRAGON
A 'definitive' version of this might run: WILL ASCEND
FROM THIS LAKE
TO
Skeleton
HEAVEN
Villagers read, rumours spread
No name woman Fisherman says he saw dragon asleep at bottom of
Village: poverty, emigration lake
Before leaving, young men marry Little girl has vision
A year after husband left, girl is pregnant Others dream of dragon's ascension
Shame
March 1
When birth due villagers gather
Masked figures trample crops, open dykes People begin to drift down to lake
Kill animals, burn outhouses March 2
White masks, lanterns, wild hair Hundreds of people camped round lake, some from
Faces stare in at windows far away
She is silent in house
Villagers break in, smash everything March 3
Smear house with animals' blood Thousands by lake - priest joins them - they wait, day
As they leave, take oranges and sugar as blessing passes
She goes to pigsty (to deceive gods) No dragon - priest begins to regret his notice
Gives birth Suddenly: rain, thunder, lightning
Feeds baby Dragon ascends
Goesto well
Priest is ashamed - confesses
Jumps in with child
No one believes him
What bitterness - so to poison the well
(after Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior)
Before c:lass
In[l:I'Il;lli' Ill' '.1'11 \' seqllence, and prepare an initial picture in your
(0

mind, Itl) '''"1.1, 1111' lilst picture below. Your aim should be to
('st.t1di'.I, 111" .... 1 "rIlill Y"llr~t'lf, :lIld hcul'l' in I hI,' group, rather than
l"lq'l 11· , 1""'"1, '10 11I1J"""'on t1I('I',I't1I1P.
Co-operative telling
Scene to story

In class 5 Continue
h ' still witho lit spea k'lI1g, to lI1Vlte
" ver b a1suggestions
' f ram
1 Bring the group into a half-circle rOllnd the blackboard - try t e ~ro~t' ~hen express these in furrher development of the picture
throughout the exercise to maintain the hlackboard as the group on ~ e 11 af board. As the exercise progresses, the story will
focus, rather than yourself. gra ua y )utld up, bQth on the board and in the minds of the
2 Begin by drawing a strong central image on the board, to set the ~toup. ~raduallY alsC), to a greater or lesser extent the stoty will
scene, e.g. epart. rom the skeleton given above: this will depend both on the
cr~lal.tJvlty 0 f tfhe students and, in even latger measure, on the
WI mgness 0 the tea .
cher to lI1terpret t h"
elr WIS h es .
.)
--r-~~_~"4. -_/

---

~~
3 Without speaking, invite the group to translate what they see into
words: allow as many people to speak as wish to. Do not block
any of the suggestions offered. 6 When the Story ha ' k d
k' 1 s teached a natural concluslOn, as the stu ents,
4 Add a further image to the blackboard scene: try to make the ~ork lr:
g
~ on\to Ptepare to retell the story as they understand it.
development fit the mood of the students, as expressed in stage 3 ,a e(~ c ear t at ~h.ey are free to alter or expand the story as they
above, e.g h
wls · ) s preparatJ()n, the 'mumbling exercise' (6.1) may be found
usefu.l

NOTES The aim of tL '. .


' f ~le exercise IS to encourage the co-operative
te 11 lI1g 0 a story -
' ., the>-' ' h er to f0 11 OW or to d epart
"'e IS no 0 bl"IgatlOn eH
from t h et h e ongmal' . 'd
'. I f ' Story Ime, but rather for the teacher to provl e
a potentia .rame m w L ' b d
~llch a story can e constructe .
Three item stories
Co-operative telling

5.5 A story from four words 5.6 Three item stories

In class
In class
1 Ask each student to think of a story, Allow flllC'(' or fOllr minutes 1 Give the students these words:
BIRD ~1ETAL FIRE
for this.
2 Pair the studen ts and ask them to tdl each 01 hn dwi [' sI lries. Ask Tell them these words are keywords in a story you have in your
them to pick out two keywords from each slory. head.
3 Ask thc pairs to take their four keywords and trolll lhe!'it build a Tell them their task is to unearth your story by questioning you.
You only answer Yes or No.
new story.
4 The stud~nts then form new pairs and tell th" stories horn from One story behind the three items is:
the four keywords. [n the dry South African Veld fires are frequently caused when
vultures, having landed safely on overhead power lines, try to take
EXAMPLE In one pair the girl told how a boy had shut her and a off agatn. Bctn? very heavy birds they can only take off by migh ty
girl friend into his car because they wouldn't go along with what he flappmg of theIr long wings. If a vulture provides a contact between
wanted to do. He stood and laughed as they frantically tried to get two high tension cables, it is instantly electrocuted and falls to the
out of the car. Finally they wound down the window of the car and gound below in a ball of flames. This often starts major veld fires.
escaped. 2 When th~ students have half reached your story through their
The man student told rhe story of the two women who came to
queStlOnlOg, stop them and ask them to work in pairs making up a
Solomon claiming they were both mothers of the same baby. He
story that could have BIRD, METAL and FIRE as keywords. Tell
ordered a servant to saw the baby in two. This revealed the true
them to make up their story quite freely.
mother: she asked him to give the child to the other woman rather
3 Ask the students to re-pair a couple of times and tell their stories
than see ir die. to each other.
Keywords: ESCAPE BABY
4 Usually they also want to find out your story; if they ask, tell
CAR SAW
them.
After some head-scratching this pair decided that SA W symbolised
threat. The girl then produced this tale:
EXAMPLES In one group the following stories were produced:
A couple had wanted a baby for a long time. Finally they had one.
A A man was caught in a forest fire, Hc was carrying a gold nugget
Some weeks after its birth threatening letters started to arrive,
he had found while panning. He had with him a carrier pigeon, so
Desperate to keep the baby safe they one night got into their car
he tied the gold to the leg of the pigeon which carried his wealth
and escaped to another town, leaving everything behind them.
to safety.
ACKNOWLEDCEMENT We have adapted this technique by H. B A driver of a great truck fell asleep as he drove through the
Auge, M.F. Borot, and M. Vielmas, from Ie/.lx pour parler, Ieux mountains. The truck plunged down a ravine and burst into
pour creer eLE International, 1981, flames, but he was thrown tree.
, Wh~11 rl'SCl1l'rs found him three days later they found he had
died ollli illjlll'i·· and been eaten by vultures.
(; 1\ p,111l11 111 ,I 11Il'1;d l'agl' saved his owner's life by shrieking in the
llwl,II,· ,.I 1111' lI'VIIl WIIl'I) rill' hOl\se caught fire.
Co-operative telling
Picture composition

5.7 Random story 5.8 Picture composition

In class (In this exerci~e it is intended that the teacher shou1ld function as part
1 Tell the class that you arc alJ g(ling to wlllk 1111 '"Illlles, of the group, J.e. that he or she should participate in the activities.)
2 Take one student outside and :Isk hilll or IIl'l' \\'11.111\'11(' of story he
or she would like to work on. Offer Lht' tollowillg wdl·clcfined In class
categories of story:
Newspaper crime story 1 Draw this on the board, in the top right-hand area:
Bible story
Story about unemployment
Football-star story
Fairy story
Let the student choose one category.
3 Leave the student outside the classroom, while yOll lell rhe rest of
the group that he or she is going to try to discover a story that
'they have decided on'. In fact they are not going to decide on any
story but are instead to answer Yes or No to quest,ions, <lccording
to whether they end in a monosyllabic or polysyllabic word.
4 Bring the student back into the room. Tell him or her that the
group have decided on a story within the category chosen, and
that he or she is to discover what the story is by asking yes/no
questions. Warn the student that there may be inconsistencies as
the group could not agree on every detail.
5 When the questioning has gone on for five or ten minutes ask the
group to tell the questioner what has been happening.

VARIA TlONS

1 Instead of the rule given in step 3 above, other rules can be used, 2 Tell students that the group is going to fill out the picture and
for example: Is the final sound of the question a vowel or conson­ develop stories from it.
ant? Does the question contain a particular word (e.g. 'is' or 'are'). 3 Invite students to say what they want to add to the picture and
2 Instead of using stories, the exercise can be based on dreams: the then hand them the board marker/chalk and get them to draw in
person coming in is to discover a dream he or she has had, and what they have suggested. Add things you feel you want to add as
which the group knows, but which he or she has forgotten. This a group member.
frame copes better with the inevitable inconsistencies. 4 Stop the exercise before ,the drawing gets too cluttered. Ask people
to work lI:dlVldually or rn patrs to create stories. (With an odd
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We learnt the dream version from Chris ~L1mhn of st'lldcnrs, you can form part of a pair yourself.)
Sion. GiseJa Mueller had the idea of transferring the idea to a story S Wlwfl lIJl'I~I(lIIP IS l"('ndy, ask pt:ople to form new pairs and tell
frame. r111'1I ',1'11 11 , ,., 1',11 11 11111('1". Repeat the process twice more.

I, \ . \ 1\1111 I
Co-operative telling Dictog/oss

The group produced, among others, the following stories from the
picture:
A The three people in the foreground are factory inspectors, who
have come to check on workers' complaints about the pollution
in the factory. They are so disgusted that they are now going to
cross the stream and ha ve their lunch under the tree, away from
the filth, among the sheep,
B A great new factory has been built. It is in an ideal situation, near
a river, right under power lines with a road running outside the
front gate. Mts Thatcher has come to open it, but because she is
very unpopular she is being smuggled into the factory under
water, so as to enter by the back door.
C This factory is in Iran and the middle chimney doubles as a
minaret, The peopl.e in the foreground have just been summoned
to midday prayer. Such is their zeal that they pay no attention to
their fellow-worker, whom you can see drowning in the polluted
stream to the left,

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Sarah Braine showed us the power of free


picture composition.

I 5.9 Dictogloss

I Stories

A Solomon's judgement
I (Two women had quarrelled over possession of a baby girl
and brought their case to the king's court,)
The king heard their two stories out before ordering his

I servants to saw the baby in two, which prompted the true


mother to cry out: 'No, no! Give her to the other woman!'

B The forced burgl1ar


I
(On tleing questioned by his wife about his frequent
.dl',('/Ie !:~ from the house at night, John thought quickly,
f 111111. 11111,,,,:; ~rl to being a burglar.)

Will 11 Ill', VIlli" 1111:11 sti:lrtecl to nsk where all the stolen

ll'''''' 11 W"', fllrced actlliJlly to bccornc ~ [J1Jrnlar ill

I I.

1I ." It,, I I" I' h· 1111' I' VI cl c 11 (; I: 11I :; 11 p pll r t Ii I', " tll I y, 11111 t1,
Co-operative telling

unable to stand the strain any IOnUIII, 11«: lott home to live
Section 6 Students' stories

with his lover, at which point his wife :,llowucl the police
everything he had stolen.

In class
1 Tell the group that you are going to read a vny short story to
6.1 Mumble, listen, tell
. them once and once only, and that they will h;t ve to reconstruct
what you have read out: they will be allowl'llt o write during your
Before class
reading, but there will not be time for them to wrixl' everything,
i.e. they should focus on keywords and then attempt to reconstruct Get toge,ther a wide choice of story skeletons andlor stories. If you
the rest afterwards. Ban shorthand. ha ve 20 III the class make sure you ha vc at least 20 stories or skeletons.
2 Read story A, or an equivalent single-sentence talc.:. Read at Make three or four photocopies of each skeleton, so there is genuinely
medium-slow pace, but not at dictation speed. plenty of choice.
3 When you have finished, ask t'he students to amplify the notes
they have made, working in pairs. (If this is the first time they In class
have done the exercise, you might wish to read the story agam.)
4 When the students working in pairs seem to have got as far as they 1 Spread the texts on a flat surface. Ask the students to take any
story they want and go anywhere in the room they like to read it.
can, allow them to mix and help one another. ,
5 Then appoint one student to act as secretary, and ask hIm or her Explajn that they will be asked to tell each other their stories (not
to write up the story on the blackboard, taking dictation from the
read them aloud),
You should move round and very quietly help with unknown
rest of the group. words. Be available as a whispering reading aid.
6 Finally, as a check, give the text to one of the students (not the

2 Tell the students they will be telling each other their stories but
best) to read to the group.
that first they should 'mumble' the story to themselves, to make
sure they have got the English the way they want it. A good way
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We tearnt this from an account by Diane
to mumble IS to shut your eyes and say the words quietly to your­
Fitton of work done at Sydney University by Charles Taylor. The self.
original idea is to be found in an article by O. Ilsen in Language 3 When the first students have finished mumbling ask them if they
Learning 12, 4 (1962). are ready to tell. Do all this very quietly, so as not to disturb those
s(ill preparing. When ,students are ready, pair them off, making
sure each paIr has a different story. Ask them to tell each other
the,ir stories in low voices or whispering. Go round listening and
wnte up sentences you heard going wrong on tbe blackboard. (It
IS best If, dunng your writing, the blackboard can be angled away
from the group.)
4 When the first pairs finish, c1sk them to set about deciding how
the)' ''''Old.! ~'OITl'ct the sentences.
Co-operative telling

unable to stand the strain any IOnUIII, 11«: lott home to live
Section 6 Students' stories

with his lover, at which point his wife :,llowucl the police
everything he had stolen.

In class
1 Tell the group that you are going to read a vny short story to
6.1 Mumble, listen, tell
. them once and once only, and that they will h;t ve to reconstruct
what you have read out: they will be allowl'llt o write during your
Before class
reading, but there will not be time for them to wrixl' everything,
i.e. they should focus on keywords and then attempt to reconstruct Get toge,ther a wide choice of story skeletons andlor stories. If you
the rest afterwards. Ban shorthand. ha ve 20 III the class make sure you ha vc at least 20 stories or skeletons.
2 Read story A, or an equivalent single-sentence talc.:. Read at Make three or four photocopies of each skeleton, so there is genuinely
medium-slow pace, but not at dictation speed. plenty of choice.
3 When you have finished, ask t'he students to amplify the notes
they have made, working in pairs. (If this is the first time they In class
have done the exercise, you might wish to read the story agam.)
4 When the students working in pairs seem to have got as far as they 1 Spread the texts on a flat surface. Ask the students to take any
story they want and go anywhere in the room they like to read it.
can, allow them to mix and help one another. ,
5 Then appoint one student to act as secretary, and ask hIm or her Explajn that they will be asked to tell each other their stories (not
to write up the story on the blackboard, taking dictation from the
read them aloud),
You should move round and very quietly help with unknown
rest of the group. words. Be available as a whispering reading aid.
6 Finally, as a check, give the text to one of the students (not the

2 Tell the students they will be telling each other their stories but
best) to read to the group.
that first they should 'mumble' the story to themselves, to make
sure they have got the English the way they want it. A good way
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We tearnt this from an account by Diane
to mumble IS to shut your eyes and say the words quietly to your­
Fitton of work done at Sydney University by Charles Taylor. The self.
original idea is to be found in an article by O. Ilsen in Language 3 When the first students have finished mumbling ask them if they
Learning 12, 4 (1962). are ready to tell. Do all this very quietly, so as not to disturb those
s(ill preparing. When ,students are ready, pair them off, making
sure each paIr has a different story. Ask them to tell each other
the,ir stories in low voices or whispering. Go round listening and
wnte up sentences you heard going wrong on tbe blackboard. (It
IS best If, dunng your writing, the blackboard can be angled away
from the group.)
4 When the first pairs finish, c1sk them to set about deciding how
the)' ''''Old.! ~'OITl'ct the sentences.
Students' stories Spoof stories

6.2 Comprehension questions In class


1 Take out your stone and hold it in your hand so that the group'
In class s
attenti on is caught . Calmly and serious ly begin to tell the group
1 Give the studen ts the questio ns below. Ask 1111'111 10 decide o~ the about the stone. Explai n that it is a Cambo dian soupst one and
story they see lying behind the questiolls. Tlwv 11I;\Y dll thiS eIther that you bough t it in an open-a ir marke t in Cambo dia many years
individ ually or in pairs. ago. The stone simply needs to be simme red for half an hour very
2 Ask each studen t to tell their story to onc nllllT pcrsllll . gently to produc e the most excelle nt soup. Explai n how you
refused to believe this when you acquir ed the stone but now you
QUEST IONS have no choice, since you have had so many good soups from it.
If you tell the story convin cingly enough , taking their incred ulity
1 Where was the giant tortois e?
as someth ing you expect , some studen ts will want to believe your
2 What was the boy doing to it?
story. Hand the stone round, let them feel it, lick it and smell it.
3 How did the man help the tortois e?
2 Now ask the class if they know the word spoof. Ask them if they

4 What did the tortois e offer to do for the man? can bring to mind spoof stories they have read in the papers or if
5 How did the man get there? they can think of times when they or people they know have
6 What sort of place was it deep below the sea? tricked others into believing someth ing false or absurd , e.g.
7 What are merma ids? around April 1st.
8 Why was he happy there? . 3 Depen ding how many people come up with spoof, pracric al joke
9 Why did he want to go back to the landt etc. stories group the studen ts in small groups so that a couple of
10 What was he given as a farewell presen t? tellers have a group of listeners.
11 Where did the tortois e take him back to?
12 What was his village like now? VARIA TION If the stone story above does not appeal to
you, try
13 He opened the tiny box - what came out? thIS newsp aper spoof story: 'Last Sunda y I read this amazin g story
iu
14 Why was his face wrinkl ed? an English newsp aper .... '

CHOIC E OF STORI ES For this exercis e you need to ~hoose s.tories Skelet on
with a simple structu re, the outline of which you can Imply faIrly
clearly with a relatively small numbe r of compre hensIO n questIOns. British Airway s to revolu tionise air travel
Londo n-Sydn ey: 55 mins
Passen gers will be sent by 30-foo t rocket
ACKN OWLE DGEM ENT The tortois e story we learnt from
a Research team in Nakab uro workin g on pigs, has

Japane se studen t. The idea for the techniq ue came from .lean Paul discov ered wonde r 'shrink ing' drug

Creton . Passen gers miniat urised at Londo n Airpor t regain norma l

size at Sydne y by taking revers er drug

Schem e not yet perfect becaus e no way to shri nk

passe ngers' luggag e

(After Sunda v Times spoof story)

/\ c: K \I O\'X' I I 1)(; F ;\-II:.!\iT We owe the Cambo dian soupst one story
6.3 to ,) ll'i1illJ'. hv ( .trlo.., r·v1:11.:ZrLI.
Spoof stories

Before class
Find;\ ',nIlHll h, illl\'ITS lillj', !llokilll ', 'ilOIH' In l:lkl' into, 1.1·.·. \\ illl \'!lll
From beginnings...
Students' stories

Prince came, heard Rapunzel singing


6.4 Story of the film Watched witch climb plait
Next day did same
In class Rapunzel shy - they became friends
1 Bring a student to the blackboard as the grc1l11"" '.(', Il·I.I1'V'. Get the He came every day
other students to shout out film titles to hilll 111 hll,.II·.11. The
secretary should write the titles down in disurdl'l ,dl (l\'!T the One day witch found them together
Chopped off Rapunzel's plait - threw Prince from high
board. . ' window
2 Ask each student to choose a film he or she lu.. 1l.111 LU1Lu'Iy liked
He fell on thorns - blinded - wandered earth for three
and make a poster advertising it. . ,
3 Pair the students and get each person to CXrLl111 hI' or her poster years, begging
and tell the story of the film behind it. Rapunzel escaped tower - wandered everywhere looking
for him

NOTE It is, of course, possi ble to dispense wi rh step 2.:1 hove and Found him in desert

simply ask the students to tell the film stories. Wc have (mind, Wept - tears fell on his eyes

however, that the time spent drawing is pleasurable [or the students He saw again

(as a change of activity) and provides valuable rhtnkl11g space,


They went to his father's palace, married and had many
children

In class
1 Tell the story of Rapunzel.
2 Ask the students to shut their eyes for a couple of minutes and
thll1k back to a love story they know and find important.
6.5 Love stories 3 Ask them to move around and find a partner, They should then
tell their story to their partner.
Skeleton

Rapunzel
Man and wife lived in cottage
From bedroom window wife could see lettuces in 6.6 From beginnings ...
neighbour's garden
She wanted one - man unwilling to steal one - neighbour In class
a witch
1 Set a scene ,.. something like this:
He finally did - wife delighted
He went again - caught by witch A frog - deep down in a weU -lived there since she was a tadpole ­
She made him promise her their first child knows l'~ery crack and crevice - knows nothing beyond except
P::ltd1 Cllllght !llgh up above.
Rapunzel born - man gave her to witch Olll' d.I\' ,1 '1ILlil f1il'1\ ;lLTOSS the patch ( flight - sets frog
When 12, witch took her to tower in forest - no door
1h 111" Ill!'.
Rapunzel had long, long hair, done in plait I A·J ·.111,h Ill', 11' \\.,,1. '1IIIhl'iro'l"'Il,or il\~rollpsClflwoorlhl"(,l'IO
Hung her plait from high window - witch climbeclllp it in
\\(','\1 I .,,\ "'"11 dll,.I"'!:lllllilll~,lllhl'\'work ,.10111' ,\1)'1'(· ... 1 till'\'
morning
I • , . , I~
t I" ~ I • " ,
R;\(:k down ;lq;lin in l~vlli1inq

.. ,to endings
Students' stories

3 When students have finished t11L" prL'Jl.tr.llI 11 ll Wllr!' (different 6.7 ... to endings
people take different times to do this) :\,,1- dll'Il1 III ... 11111 their eyes
and mumble the story to themselves ill F111~1i"h, pi illr to telling it In class
to someone else, This produces ~1 1111H'h 1111111' (ohL'rl'llt telling. 1 Dictate the following story ending:
4 Ask the students to tell their story to SOIlH'OIH' they !l;\Vl' not
The woman on his right began to tug, crying: 'Let me go, it's
previously worked with.
mornIng,'
EXAMPLES The above beginning prompted ~1)l1H' dL'nJ<::lltary But he refused,
students towards the stories skeletonised here: She turned into a wild cat, bit his hand and ran off into the woods.
2 Ask the students to work on their own, or in groups of two or
A Pretty frog - climbed out of well - w.alked and visitnl all day - at three, to make a story that leads to this ending. If they work alone
night afraid - tried to get back to well - lost - spL'nt night in suggest they take notes.
fear - jumped at a butterfly - but butterfly W;lS hunter of frogs- 3 When people h,ave finished the preparation work (different people
ended up in French restaurant. . take dIfferent tlmes to do thIS) ask them to shut their eyes and
B Sunny day - frog walking by river - plenty of food - OK, Boy
mumble the story to themselves in English. This produces a much
came to river - water warm - swam - saw frog - caught her.
more coherent telling.
Took her home to his garden - she was free there - then fell
4 Ask the students to tell their story to someone they have not yet
down well at end of garden, worked WIth.
C Frog happy in wet well- Two children looked down - asked frog NOTE If students ask for the 'original' story, yOll may like to use
why she liked the dark - frog asked what world up there looked this:
like - They invited frog up - sun's rays too hot - had to go back
Wild cat
to wetness of well.
Scholar and wife lived outside city gate
CHOICE OF STORY STARTERS The scene set must imply a Very poor, He studied far into night
continuation - the symbol of the bird suddenly entering the frog's
No food for a week - sent her to wood to pick chestnuts
confined world does just this.
She came back with seven shrivelled nuts in basket
Here are two other scenes:
Suddenly door flew open - woman came in with seven
shrivelled nuts in basket
Grandpa always in the way - people take his chair opposite the TV
She looked exactly the same as wife. in every detail
set - no one listens to his views - his daughter-i.n-Iaw never puts
Two looked at each other
sugar in his coffee - he has enough of being ignored - one day he
Both 'Who are you?'
goes to Trafalgar Square .. ,

Scholar pulled both to him - gripped each by an arm


(after Rodari)
So they sat all night
Cocks crowed
'Here's one that has to be put out of circulation.' The woman on his right began to tug ..,
'What's 'is job?'
'MP,' (Kore,m traditional story, collected by 101 Bangl
'You want me to use the three-wheeler?'
Ulnlcl II1 '.llll'Y I'~I)IN(;S Otherclldingsyoumighrlikcto
(after Vassilis Vassilikos, Z)
1111.1 ',I ill ',(ood 11l,.,idL' hilll, "llIilllll~, hellll 111'1'
1111. 1111' ·.11111111 (111 ... 11,., '
Doodlestrips
Students' stories

ACKNOWLEDGEM El"T The idea of fitting the story to the person


2 ... washed overboard and drowned. But YO\l ;\lld 11, liP\\' different.
comes f~'om IndIan therapy practices, and more recently from the
3 And Peter? Well, he still lives in the village, d\Clll~'.ll Illl longer in
work ot Milton Erickson.
the great house. He keeps the pub now, w'hG"(' till' wltllle story
started.
4 The farmer and the cow looked ar each olh "1', Thell, \Tl'y slowly,
6.9 Doodlestrips
they both began to laugh.
Before class
Prepare and duplicate abstract cartoon strips like those illustrated
below:

6.8 Objects tell stories

Before class
Choose three objects that do not make an obvious set, e.g. a bra, a
light bulb, a kipper.

In class
1 Take in the objects and let the students look at them, pass them
round and speculate about them.
2 Ask the students to group in fours and to use the objects as the
starting point for a story.
3 When the groups have found their stories, ask each person to
work with someone from another group. Ask them to tell the
story as one of the ohjects, e.g. 'I'm a light bulb. When I looked
o

down, I...' Do not give time for further preparation of the telling.

NOTE Switching narrative standpoint to that of an object in the

story has a powerful 'making new' effect and can considerably

modify the story agreed on in the groups of four.

VARIATJON lfyour students already know each other quite well,


the following exercise has a more powerful effect:
1 Pair the students.
2 In each pair A names three objects that he or she thinks are typical
of B, and B names three objects typical of A. 1/1 (:I.I~,'"
3 A tells the first part of a story ahout B, hringing in the tlH\'t' 1\,,1 d.
objects. R then finishes the story,
4 p, tells the fir~t p:\1'1 of:l slmy :dHl\l1 i\, \vhil\! f\ lilll"III'
Students' stories Triple stories

2 Give out the doodles trips, Olll' In ,';111111,1111\'11111.11 CII group. Ask the students ro read the stories and to correcr any language
3 Ask each individual or group to \"'lll k 11111 ~l1ggcsted by
.1 '.1111)' mistakes thev, scc in anv, of rhem.
their strip, and to prepare to telltlH' ~tC)I) ICI l)ilILT~ ill the class.
4 Ask the students to circulate and 1(,lll';llll ClIbt'! dll'lr stories. EXAMPLES Here are three of rhe uncorrected boy and gun stories
we got from older teenage elementary students.
VARIATION Ask students to 'COll1pklL" till' ',Irip by ;ldding an
I know a boy who liked a gun. He gOt a gun when he was fifteen. He
extra frame before proceeding to step 3 :I!Jo\'!'.
joined a marksmen society. He learnt to shoot with his gun. He was
a very good marksman, but he became dangerous and began to kill
FOLLOW-UP When students have workl'lllbrollgh slIch an exercise
people.
once or twice, it is a good idea to get thel1l drawiqg doodJestrips for
each other. There was i pleasant boy with his gun in a sitting room. The boy
was playing alone because he had no brother or sister. Suddenly he
N01ES broke a vase and he was very sad.

1 We find that working from abstract drawings such as these He was a boy. He want to had a gun. He got a gun-shop and bought
produces a very different exercise and group dynamic from work a gun. After he got in the wood and shout hirds. He was very happy
on conventional 'picture compositions'. The latter often lead to to have a gun now.
rather mechanical, uninvolved storytelling witb d high priority
given to 'getting the story right'. When abstract rather than VARIATION You can ask the students to write triple stories about
concrete pictures are used, students are encouraged not only to other items/people than those given above, e.g.:
give their imaginations free rein, but also to attempt (and succeed
soldier woman woman
at) more adventurous language.
. woman child lorry
2 When constructing your own doodlestrips, you might find that the
most productive method is to illustrate an abstract or very general
ACKNOWLEDCEMENT This idea comes from D.I. Malamud andS.
idea, rather than any particular story-line.
Machover, Toroards S'elf Understanding, Charles C. Thomas,
Illinois, 1965.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This exercise was suggested by the work
of Mo Strangeman (Magi-pies, Pilgrims Publications, Canterbury
1982) in the symbolic depiction of fairy stories.

6.10 Triple stories

In class
1 Ask the students each to write three stories that must not be more
than five sentences long, the first about a boy and a gun, the
second about a teenage girl and a teacher, and the third about a
young man and his employer. Ask them ro write them on three
different pieces of paper.
2 Ask the students to stick their stories up round the walls of t1w
classroom: use onc wall for the first .story, OllC for the ~", <111,1,111.1
OJlC for dJ(' Ihird.

"I'
.,,\,\
Students' stories Triple stories

2 Give out the doodles trips, Olll' In ,';111111,1111\'11111.11 CII group. Ask the students ro read the stories and to correcr any language
3 Ask each individual or group to \"'lll k 11111 ~l1ggcsted by
.1 '.1111)' mistakes thev, scc in anv, of rhem.
their strip, and to prepare to telltlH' ~tC)I) ICI l)ilILT~ ill the class.
4 Ask the students to circulate and 1(,lll';llll ClIbt'! dll'lr stories. EXAMPLES Here are three of rhe uncorrected boy and gun stories
we got from older teenage elementary students.
VARIATION Ask students to 'COll1pklL" till' ',Irip by ;ldding an
I know a boy who liked a gun. He gOt a gun when he was fifteen. He
extra frame before proceeding to step 3 :I!Jo\'!'.
joined a marksmen society. He learnt to shoot with his gun. He was
a very good marksman, but he became dangerous and began to kill
FOLLOW-UP When students have workl'lllbrollgh slIch an exercise
people.
once or twice, it is a good idea to get thel1l drawiqg doodJestrips for
each other. There was i pleasant boy with his gun in a sitting room. The boy
was playing alone because he had no brother or sister. Suddenly he
N01ES broke a vase and he was very sad.

1 We find that working from abstract drawings such as these He was a boy. He want to had a gun. He got a gun-shop and bought
produces a very different exercise and group dynamic from work a gun. After he got in the wood and shout hirds. He was very happy
on conventional 'picture compositions'. The latter often lead to to have a gun now.
rather mechanical, uninvolved storytelling witb d high priority
given to 'getting the story right'. When abstract rather than VARIATION You can ask the students to write triple stories about
concrete pictures are used, students are encouraged not only to other items/people than those given above, e.g.:
give their imaginations free rein, but also to attempt (and succeed
soldier woman woman
at) more adventurous language.
. woman child lorry
2 When constructing your own doodlestrips, you might find that the
most productive method is to illustrate an abstract or very general
ACKNOWLEDCEMENT This idea comes from D.I. Malamud andS.
idea, rather than any particular story-line.
Machover, Toroards S'elf Understanding, Charles C. Thomas,
Illinois, 1965.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This exercise was suggested by the work
of Mo Strangeman (Magi-pies, Pilgrims Publications, Canterbury
1982) in the symbolic depiction of fairy stories.

6.10 Triple stories

In class
1 Ask the students each to write three stories that must not be more
than five sentences long, the first about a boy and a gun, the
second about a teenage girl and a teacher, and the third about a
young man and his employer. Ask them ro write them on three
different pieces of paper.
2 Ask the students to stick their stories up round the walls of t1w
classroom: use onc wall for the first .story, OllC for the ~", <111,1,111.1
OJlC for dJ(' Ihird.

"I'
.,,\,\
Photos

Section 7 From the past

7.1 Photos

Before class
Find a large quantity of old family photographs, preferably not
featuring yourself. Try to achieve a wide timespan over the photos.
You will need at least one hundred for a group of 25 students.

In class
1 Put the photos out on a flat surface and invite the students to look
through them and pick out one photo each that brings back a
memory, story, or scene of their own.
2 Ask the students to move around the room and tell each other
what their chosen photo evokes.

'J I
From the past It happened to me

7.2 Yesterday EXAMPLES Here'are three or four examples of the sort of things
people in one group drew and described.
In class
Elena, a Mexican, drew people sitting round an idyllic place outside
1 Draw three scenes on the bO(1(d ill which VClll Wl'I'l' involved Mexico City. She described this very happy period of her life when
yesterday, The worse you draw thl' Iwttc'l.' fill" Ill· (,xl'I'cise, as your she was at University.
bad drawing will make the studt:nts more l'(lIl1lnrtahle when they
come to draw. Marco, from Florence, drew a dramatic scene in front of the goalposts.
2 Ask the students to make drawings illustrallng duct: moments that This was the moment of his first goal for his town's professional
spring to mind from yesterday. Ask them 10 ;ldd times. under-18 team. This led him on to tell the story of his collar-bone
injury that invalided him out of football and condemned him to
3 Pair tl1e students so they can explain tht:ir drawings. Then ask
bored book-keeping.
them to share with their partner aB the 'SCt'I1l:S' from yesterday
that they care to recall. Explain your own scenes if ~lsked. Nicole, from Geneva, drew a 16th-century lady in a great hall. Her
dream, she explained, was to be an observer, an uncommitted
NOTES A kindred exercise is to be found on p.HS of Viola Spolin's person, at the court of Henri IV of France.
Improvisation for the Theatre, Pitman, 1964, though her aim is very
~uneyt, from Istanbul, drew a man fishing in the sea. He then told
different from ours. As with many pair exercises, the teacher can
the story of how his friend taught him to fish in the Sea of Marmara.
choose to take part as a pair member if there is an odd number of
students.
VARIATION Another way of helping students to recall storieslinci­
dents from their own past is to ask the student to draw an empty
boxing ring. The students copy the ring and put in it anybody they
feel or have felt angry with. They pair off and tell the storyJincident/
feelings behind the drawings.
7.3 Time-travel mirror
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We got the 'empty picture' ideas from
In class S. Striker and E. Kimmel, The Second Antz-colouring Book, Scholastic
1 Ask a student who likes drawing to come out and draw a large Publications, London 1980.
ornate mirror frame on the board. Ask the others to copy the
student's mirror onto large sheets of paper.
2 Suggest to the students that these are time-travel mirrors in which
each of them can see a scene from his or her past. Ask them to
7.4 It happened to me
draw the scene.
3 Ask the students to get up and move around. Then ask each
Before class
person to find a partner, sit down again and explain the story
behind the scene they have drawn. Let them re-pair several times. Choose an anecdote area such as 'stupid things I've done'. Prepare
(The point of getting up and moving is that it allows students to an anecdote of your own to tell the class.
choose a partner they want, unobtrusively.)
In dass
NOTE You may reassure students who feel that they cannot draw
by telling them that bad drawing improves the exercise; the greater '1.11111, .11 .'J \'11111 .lllt·nlull'.
the information gap, the more necessary and productive the Ol";t! I, ,. "I",' .. 11"11 .1.111'. lLII"I'"'i in IWoPh''s 1H';lds, hy rllt' clld cd
\I I '
comll1 till i<,;a liO!l. ''',,1 1.11 H 01 •. I' '" Id," 11,1,(, ·,t."vl·l'.d jl/l'lpl .. ill fill' ,1'.11111(' \villl

'I.' '11
From the past If"'lr . I rll

want to tell anecdotes of their OWII. (,('1 tlll'lll It·llilll-'; their stories In class
to the whole group. Display your pictllre - allow time for the students to look .11 I1 111
silence.
POSSIBLE ANECDOTE AREAS 2 Tell your fire story.
losing things: documents, passp< rts, h<ll1dh:ll',s, childrell ...
3 Invite students to bring to mind fire stories of their own, <lIHI1c l
running away: from home, one's job, awkw.\rd Silll;lLions...
prepare to tell them in English by mumbling them through.
near accidents: in the home, on the roaJ ...
4 Put the students in small groups so the storytellers have List<.'lll·r~,.
fear: of things, people, places, imaginary horrors ...
5 Ask the listeners to tell the stories they have heard to other
if only ... stories
students.

7.5 Fire stories


7.6 Hiding things
Before class
Get a large picture of a fire or of the results of a hre. It should be in Before class
colour if possible. Prepare to tell a fire story of your own.
Prepare to tell the students a story from your own experience of
people hiding things. For example, my son, when he was six, hid his
Christmas presents for the family so securely that even he could not
find them on December 24!

In class
1 Tell your story.
2 Ask the students to think of stories of things th;}t got hidden and
to prepare to tell them. Discourage them from writing them down.
Suggest they mumble their stories through to themselves.
3 Put the students in small groups so that people who have come up
with stories can tell them.
4 Ask the listeners to tell the stories they have l1eard to people from
other groups.

7.7 Heroes and heroines

1'1, I' I I I.· \. 11 i1'1 ,1.1" i111' '·.1 or\, of ',OIIH'Olll' VIllI rl')\:lrtl ;\.,<;j hero.
Ill' I Ill. 1,1 U "Pl' 111 ",ll I.IIIIII\' III ,ll111lllf', >'1111 Ili"Il<I" '.Clllll·
\. .. ,I ., ,,' I 111111 ,d rill' 1'.1'.1

J.
'1.1
From the past
Shame

In class hour -,some would sit in their cars for 55 minutes just to get their

1 Tell your story. money s worth - people coming from the divorce court next door

2 Ask the class to think of their own herolberoine stories. It is quite would tell him all about their marriages: he was the first human

a good idea to allow this to be done as homework, so that stu-dents being they met after their divorce

have a chance to get the details right. You should make it clear,
however, that they should not produce written accounts. ACKNOWlEDGElvlE0JT Paul Davis suggested this exercise.
3 Group those who have come up with stories with those who have
not.
4 Ask students to tell their stories to the others in their group.
5 Ask those who were only listeners to tell what they have heard to 7.9 Shame
people in the other groups.
Skeleton
EXAMPLE my grandfather - a miner - during a strike he waited
for the police vans to arrive - rolled rocks off a bridge on to the The orchard
vans - when the strike was over he could not find work in any pit Boy asks father to take him to work

Father refuses: work too hard

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This idea came from Paul Davis. Boy begs, insists

Father agrees

They walk out of town to orchards


Father tells boy to shout if anyone can see him
Climbs over wall and up tree
7.8 Stories from jobs
Father's hand touches apple
Before class 'Someone can see you, Father'

'Who?'

Prepare to tell a story involving an experience at work, either about 'God. What you are doing is shameful.'

yourself or about a close friend or relative. With urban, middle-class


student groups, stOries drawn from experiences as an unskilled (Jordanian story told to us by Lindsay Brown)
worker often have a powerful shock value: they are surprised at the
richness of jobs they had considered empty or mindless. In class
1 Tell the story.
In class 2 Ask the students if the story called to mind any situation in which
1 Tell your stOry. they were involved.
2 Ask the students to respond with job-related stories of their own, 3 Group students in fives to exchange stories, reactions and ideas.
or of their friends or rela tives.

EXAMPLE a carpark attendant - sat in hut collecting money - a


window on the world - businessmen would linger in rheir cars
hefore tnking rhem Ollt: the W'lstt"pap<:r hillS were full of t1H' t~ir'ljc'
1l1;q~;I/.ill(,S t hev 11;1<1 he('I] !"l'ad,ill/!, - rid] people would ;11 riil'l 1,'1' ,·Iy
11 v I 'I Il.ll' i 11) ~ I nI' I' 11 ,I d d Ii" \ .1, 1\'\'.1 .1 lc'\\' III i 11111 \' ,d I. I " " II III .1
Vanishing stories

Section 8 Vanishing Stories


word (though this should not be an absolute aim), as happened in
the example given below.

VA RIA nON If you have access to an ordinary domestic microcom­


puter, you may like to write a program to handle the text display and
deletion process. A feature of your program, which would be an
advantage over blackboard display, could be a sub-routine to recall
In class the various stages of the exercises: detailed grammatical discussion
could then be postponed !to a more opportune moment.
1 Write the following story on the board:
'God is everywhere, absolutely everywhere' the little boy was told 'God is everywhere, , the htrle boy was
by his serious, grey-bearded elders, and so, reaching up on tiptoe, told by his serious, grey-bearded elders, and so, reaching up on
he grabhed a half-open matchbox from oH the mantelpiece, tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open matchbox from off rhe manrel­
piece, snapped it shut and cried: 'Got 'im!'
snapped it shut and cried: 'Got 'im!'
2 Explain to the students that they are going to reduce this sentence 'God is everywhere, , the litrle boy was
as much as they can. Give them these rules: told by his elders, and so, reaching up on
(a) You may take one word out. tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open matchbox from off the mantel­
(b) You may take two consecutive words out. piece, snapped it shut and cried: 'Got 'im!'
(c) You may take Ollt three consecutive words. 'God is everywhere, ' the little boy was
(d) You must not add anything. told by his elders, and so, reaching up on
(el You must not change ot modify any words.
tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open matchbox from rhe manrel­
(fl You must not move any words.
piece, snapped it shut and cried: 'Got 'im!'
(g) You may delete, change, or delete punctuation as needed. 'God is everywhere, ' the little boy was
(h) After each deletion the student who has proposed it must read' told , and so, reaching up on
the remaining sentence aloud: this must be grammatically tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open nyHchbox from rhe manrel­
correct and must have a meaning, though rhe meaning may piece, snapped it shut and criecY: 'Gor 'im!'
change as the exercise progresses. 'God is everywhere, ' the little boy was
3 As soon as a student suggests a deletion, ru b it out at once, without told ' , and so, reaching up on
hesitation. It is the student who must justify the deletion, not you. tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open matchbox' ,
Often a srudent who wants to delete a wor d that makes the , snapped it shut and cried: 'Got 'im!'
sentence non-grammatical or nonsensical, realises this for himself
'God is everywhere, , the little boy was
or herself in the' process of trying to read it aloud. If the resultant told , and so, reaching up on
sentence is wrong and the student does not realise it, turn silently tiptoe, he grabbed a half-open O1archbox
to the others and ask their opinion with your face. If no one , snapped it shut ; 'Got 'im!'
realises it is wrong, put back the word(s) deleted without comment.
'God is , the boy was
NOTES In this exercise there is no need for you to speak at all. You raid , and so, reaching up on
tiptoc, he grabbed a half-open matchbox
can demand re-readings or indicate doubt by gesture, This makes the
, ~t1appcd it shut : 'Gor 'im!'
students concentrate much harder on the board and leaves space for
them to think. Give time for the student you are working with at any '( ., I, I It, (-he hoy was
glven moment to decide for himself or herself whctlwI the Ll1('~1 I' ,1,,1 ,:Jt1d so, rt':ll-hill!!, Ill' Oil
I1lil",1 11' 1'1, d.I"·,, ,I h,d! 111"'11 Ill.1l\.;hl ... \
dl'iclioll k:1V('S the s('11I('ncl' acceptahle or Ilut.
11 '1'1'. ,I '( ;,,1 'IIII!'
'I'h<' ",1"(1111' 1l1.ly \\,<,111)(' ;d,!t-I(lI,',IIlt'l"lw (Hi)'.il1.1i ~l"illl·II;;[·I,i '~lIli'
,11,
'Ill
Vanishing stories Vanishing stories

'God is the boy was checking inflectional possibilities


told , and so, reaching up checking syntactic possibilities
he grabbed a half-open matchbox listening very closely for meaning
,snapped ; 'Got 'im"
'God is ' [he boy was CHOICE OF STORY The story you start out with must be one
told , and so, reaching up sentence and no more. (It sometimes breaks into two or more during
he grabbed a matchbox the reduction process.)
, snapped : 'Got'im!'
Here is an example of a traditional story compressed into one
'God !' the boy was sentence;
told , and so, reaching up
he grabbed a matchbox The greedy mayor and bloated aldermen refused to pay the Pied
,snapped : 'Got 'im!' Piper the gold they had promised him for luring the rats of HameJin
into the fast-Howing river, which made him so angry that he led
'God!' the boy was
away the children of the city, who vanished for ever into the
told; reaching up
, he grabbed a matchbox mounrainside.
, snapped ; 'Got'im!'
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We learnt this exercise from our exposure
'God!' the boy was
to Silent Way, though we do not know whether this form of reduction
told;
was invented by Caleb Gattegno, thought up by people round him or
he grabbed a matchbox
snapped ; 'Got'im!' indeed incorporated in Silent Way practice from earlier thinking by
others.
'God!' the boy was
told;
he grabbed a matchbox.
'God was
told;
he grabbed a matchbox.
'God was

He grabbed a matchbox.

he grabbed a matchbox.

Matchbox!

RATIONALE This is an excellent exercise to do with tired students


as it requires and gets high concentration. Perhaps this is because so
many skills and operations are happening almost at once:
silent reading for mean,ing
l"t'ading aloud - intonatiol! - rhyllll11

1/111 1111
Music

Section 9 Revision
9.2 Music

In class
When a nUllIlwl Id ,.IOl'll'S h,lve heen worked on in class ask the
students, EOI hlllJII'Work, [0 choose a story and find a bi~ of music
they feel gOl'S willl 11. Thl' musical passage, snatch of song, etc.
should not he (HOrl' LlLltl two minutes long; ask them to come with a
9.1 A story you really liked cassette ready ,Il lIll' start of the bit chosen,

In class
In next class
When the students have done half a dozen story activities over a
period of time, ask which stories they can recalL Ask students each Find Ollt how m:l1lY people have done the homework. Ask one of
to pick one story they like and come to the next lesson ready to tell them to play his or her piece on the class tape-recorder. He or she
it. then tells the story to the whole group. Repeat with other students.

RATIONALE Even if the student told his or her story to someone


In next class when he or she first worked with it, this second telling will be very
Pair students and ask them to retell the story of their choice. Make different from the first. The telling will be affected by the passage of
sure they do not work with a neighbour who is a habitual partner. time, by the recall work involved in choosing story A rather than
story B, by the thought entailed in choosing the music, and finally by
TELL NOT REPEAT In this type of revision exercise the students telling the story to an audience under the influence of the music.
are not simply repeating a story they have heard or told or both.
They are rejecting stories they didn'tldon't like and reworking the NOTE This exercise may not be feasible if the students are away
story of their choice. Providing they have not been asked to do from their own collections of music.
written telling of stories, they have no frozen record to refer back to.
They have to re-invent the story from the fragments they recall which V A R [A TI 0 N The exercise can be done in the Ianguage lab if yours
may well include a mixture of plot strands, memorable sentences and has a group-work facility that allows one student to speak to three or
their own reaction at the time of first hearingltelling. As important four others and that allows them to listen to his or her machine. In
as all the above is that they tell the story to a person to whom they the lab, a student who has brought a cassette plays his or her music
have not told this story before - stories change a lot in telling them to a small group and tells the accompanying story while the same is
to different audiences. ~oing on in other groups in different parts of the lab.

11' I
Revision

9.3 Doodlestrip review Section 10 Story pool

In class
In order to encourage students to recall and rcteU stories they have
heard earlier in their COurse:
1 Ask the students to think back over the stories they have heard
and to draw any images that come to mind. A Snow
2 Ask them to choose one image and to develop it as d doodJestrip
(see 6.9). The typist in the office was happy
3 Invite them to show ea-ch other their strips and to explain how 'Snow I Snow l '
they reflect the story. Everyone except him crowded to the window to see
In one group, a student produced this strip to convey the story of the 'All you want is to be on your own.'
Pied Piper (see p.10l). But this was not true
Leaving office, he told typist she had a hair on her coat
He didn't go home
He walked through the snow
,,~
(j) He went to a bar, had a brandy
, " I Didn't know how to start conversation in bar
"
,,," , ,
J' '
f'r Left, walked on through snow
,,,' -+ Round a corner he saw man in the shadow, bowler hat
", """'
I ,
on head
At first afraid
Then saw other was all alone, like him, in the night
His heart opened to stranger - he told everything bottled
upforsolong
,.., Told everything to snowman with bowler hat
(after Antonis Samarakis, Zitite Elpis)
•• '-"., (~ J')
•• ' I r

, I ; •.

7, B The pulllover
t j. " David's gran gave him pullover with flowers on
, He hated it
'Lost' it - parents always found it
Left it in garden - dog brought it in
NOTE Before asking the group to try this exercise, you should have Put it in washing machine on 'Hot' - would not shrink
worked through one or more sessions of Doodlestrips (see 6.9).
Out walking one day
Found loose thread in sleeve - pulled it
Crow swooped down - grabbed end of thread
Crow flc;)w into tree - w'ound pull,over off David
M.ut" 111'1
IJ 101 1',1\1111 '.h'IWf'i1 '11.111111'011'''.1

J II I
Revision

9.3 Doodlestrip review Section 10 Story pool

In class
In order to encourage students to recall and rcteU stories they have
heard earlier in their COurse:
1 Ask the students to think back over the stories they have heard
and to draw any images that come to mind. A Snow
2 Ask them to choose one image and to develop it as d doodJestrip
(see 6.9). The typist in the office was happy
3 Invite them to show ea-ch other their strips and to explain how 'Snow I Snow l '
they reflect the story. Everyone except him crowded to the window to see
In one group, a student produced this strip to convey the story of the 'All you want is to be on your own.'
Pied Piper (see p.10l). But this was not true
Leaving office, he told typist she had a hair on her coat
He didn't go home
He walked through the snow
,,~
(j) He went to a bar, had a brandy
, " I Didn't know how to start conversation in bar
"
,,," , ,
J' '
f'r Left, walked on through snow
,,,' -+ Round a corner he saw man in the shadow, bowler hat
", """'
I ,
on head
At first afraid
Then saw other was all alone, like him, in the night
His heart opened to stranger - he told everything bottled
upforsolong
,.., Told everything to snowman with bowler hat
(after Antonis Samarakis, Zitite Elpis)
•• '-"., (~ J')
•• ' I r

, I ; •.

7, B The pulllover
t j. " David's gran gave him pullover with flowers on
, He hated it
'Lost' it - parents always found it
Left it in garden - dog brought it in
NOTE Before asking the group to try this exercise, you should have Put it in washing machine on 'Hot' - would not shrink
worked through one or more sessions of Doodlestrips (see 6.9).
Out walking one day
Found loose thread in sleeve - pulled it
Crow swooped down - grabbed end of thread
Crow flc;)w into tree - w'ound pull,over off David
M.ut" 111'1
IJ 101 1',1\1111 '.h'IWf'i1 '11.111111'011'''.1

J II I
Story pool

C Honour E Ivar
Teenager lost her job
IVBI' great poet of Iceland

Father policeman - didn't tell


Sailed to Norway with brother

Left for work each morning


King made him court poet

Returned each evening


Ivar sent brother back with message for SWf otl" III

Several weeks like this


Asked her to wait for him

Father asked for rent

Sweetheart fell in love with brother

She stole

They married

Police investigated

Father had case hushed up


Ivar to Iceland

Then he threw her out


Discovered truth

Back to Norway

(news item)
Each day more miserable

King: 'Angry with someone here?' lvar: 'No'

King: 'More honours?' Ivar: 'No'

King: 'A woman?' 'Yes'

D The figtree 'Shall I send for her?' 'Married'

Mukami, young, beautiful 'Another?' 'No help'

Muthoga already has four wives, many children 'Then when I am free, you can talk to me of hm

She falls in love with him sadness lessens when you can talk'
Father against match - says Muthoga beats wives 'You honour me, my Lord'
Reluctantly father agrees (:nrom the Icelandic)
Marry
Other wives jealous - Muthoga beats them -loves her
First year fine
After 2 years Mukami still childless
Husband cools
F In the cellar
After three years he beats her - seems to want to kill her Army retreat
Mukami leaves house Hiding in basement - very tired, no food, dark
Cannot return to father Suddenly: TICK-TACK in next cellar
Walks into bush - to where dead are buried Again
Owls, hyenas, wind howls, sky dark Terror
Comes to clearing of holy figtree ~ belongs to god Gripped machine-gun
Murungu
Friend with torch
Shelters beneath it, sleeps
TICK-TACK
Tiptoed to door
Dream - god's wife touches her TICK-TACK
Wakes - realises she is pregnant, several months Burst in
Walks back to husband's house 'wn flnns on a see-saw in corner
A cow moos
(af!Hr NUllO! Wi) ThiollllO, in Mnrn M()r!I.'rn Ar,il',lI/ :,f"I/'''.}

III .
Story pool Story pool

G The donkey She tries to vClnish things again


Fails
Two thieves see idiot leading donkey along road
'Pity, Granddad'
Decide to steal it
One slips collar off donkey - takes donkey's place (after Will F. Jenkins, in Saturday Evening Post Reader
Other takes donkey, s.ell in market of Fantasy and Science Fiction)

After a mile, idiot sees thief in donkey's collar


Thief explains:
Under curse for drinking, beating mother
Now curse lifted - mother must have forgiven
The man, the snake, and the stone
Idiot gives him money - sends him off Man lifts flat stone by road
Idiot to market to buy new donkey Snake comes out - says will kill man
Man begs for one chance
Recognises old one
'Aha! Been beating your mother again! Shan't buy you Snake: 'We'll ask next creature we meet to decide'
again !' Meet sheep - against man - mutton
One more chance
(from 1007 Nights)
Meet horse - against man - slavery
One more chance
Meet fox
H Oogledeboo Asks them to take him back to stone
'Make a penny go away, Granddad' Tells snake to lie where he was
He took penny, blew, it disappeared Fox replaces stone on snake
'Again' Fox asks payment
He did Go to man's house
'How?' Man gives chicken in sack
'I say "oogledeboo" and it vanishes' Says open sack away from house - neighbours won't like
She tries, it vanishes, Granddad leaves, puzzled him helping fox
Next day she goes shopping with Mummy 'Go to that clump of trees, it's quiet there'
Fat lady in way Fox goes
'Oogledeboo' Hunters in trees
Lady vanishes Shoot fox
Then she vanishes furniture, lift full of people, neighbour's
son Matter settled
Parents ca II doctors, psych iatrists, conju ro rs And man? His turn still to come
No effect (after Idries Shah, Caravan of Dreams)
One day Granddad comes
Tells her to bring things and people back
'How?'
Must say 'oogledeboo' backwards
She does
Tllinns iJ rt flC:Ofll(~ n~llll1i

11 )~ l 111'1
Story pool Story pool

J The baby He ran with gazelle -long hair like woman - hair matted
on body
Village family: 14 children
Trapper's son saw him at water-hole - froze with fear
very poor
Told father 'This man is strongest in world - tears up
father places eldest daughter, 12, in service in town
my traps. Help me'
one less mouth to feed
Father told him to go to city and get woman
she works 15-hou r day
mistress has baby Trapper's son to city
she looks after baby while mistress works Brought woman to waterhole
half day off per week - gets pregnant They waited there three days
mistress discovers - sacks her
Then Enkidu came with gazelle
nowhere to go
Trapper's son to woman: 'show yourself naked, teach him'
she meets a pimp ...
She did
Enkidu spent seven nights with her
He went back to gazelle, they bolted, his knees gave way
He came to her
Sat at her feet
K The husband Said 'Take me to the city'
Cold night (From the Epic of Gilgamesh)
Traveller crossing moor
Knocked on farm door
Woman by corpse - candle light
'He's just died in my arms'
M Ophir
Wept Fifteenth-century Venice
Asked traveller to watch corpse Old man, tattered, dirty, askl? to see doge
Fear Tells how he visited fabled land of Ophir
Came back with young man Asks doge for ship to return and bring back treasure!
Gave the two men tea
Doge, Bishop question him
Young man into bedroom
Tells them - sailed round Africa
She too
Flew inland on winged horses
Corpse opened eyes
People of Ophir traded iron for gold
Looked at traveller
Shipwreck - treasure lost
(after JI.M. Synge, The Aran Islands)
Bishop: 'Are there centaurs there?' No
'Birds of bronze with steel beaks?' No
'What trees?' Palms
Bishop says man is liar
L Enkidu "Iore are centaurs, birds of bronze
III I", r8 porne~lrallatQs
Goddess pictured Enkidu in her mind's eye
Took water, clay -let it fall in desert
Enkidu made I • I 11' I I 'I"" ,1/"" '1'1,/1./1. ;,,,",''.)

I I () I11
Story pool Story /I( 11,1

I\J A horse race IIH' plllH ,.~ and the pea


Merchant had two lazy sons 01111 01 1'111111'

They gambled, raced horses W 1111,"II" IIHII'Y;1 princess

Left his fortune to one of his sons - no division [111111 1{I,d 1'11111 I'f,~;

A horse race to decide who inherits I ll'w III !Hld '


Son whose horse reaches London Bridge last will win
()III' ,1.111. III Ihl
Merchant died : ; 1111 ) Il I ,1111 Ii ~J 11 t n i n 9 tl1 u n de r
Sons began race Know 11 (lilt)!"

Six months later they had gone two miles Killl1 Wlllll downstairs, opened up
An old man saw them -laughed Olll~, II~ 11 princess
'You can end the race today if.. .' l)IIPPlllq wet
Kill[J has idea
Advice was?
Invited her in - food, clean clothes
Becl for night - special bed!
o The wisdom of the world
20 mattresses, 20 featherbeds
And under all: one pea
Tortoise decides to collect all wisdom in world Princess to bed
Does so Not a wink of sleep
Puts it in gourd and seals it up Bed too lumpy
Goes to hide it up tree
Puts rope round gourd, hangs it round neck Aha! a real princess
Starts to climb, finds he cannot Prince fell in love
Hunter comes along Married
'Hang gourd on back' Happy ever after
Tortoise realises he cannot collect all wisdom And the pea is in the palace still, unless someone has
Throws gourd away walked off with it
It breaks So it was a true story
Bits fly all over world
You want wisdom? (after H.C. Andersen)
Go and try to find some of the bits
(after 'Tortoise and the wisdom of the world' in
Folk Tales and Fables, ed. P, ltayemi & P. Gurrey)

II I I
Story pool
Story pool

End of film
Q The poem
Photographer takes pola roid of old man
Great battle - victo ry Hands it to him
King to poet: 'Celebrate my victory in song' He looks, snarls, tears up photo
A year passes - a great poem Storms of muttering in Gaelic
King gives poet silver mirror The son translates:
'Now make a greater poem' 'This is a picture of an old man'
A year passes - second poem is mag nificent (after Harry Towb)
Much shorter
King gives poet golden mask
'Now a third - the greatest'
A year passes - poet whispers poem to king
Single line of verse
'True poetry'
King gives poet dagger of iron
S Ants
Poet leaves palace - kills himself
King leaves palace - a wandering beggar I saw a family of red ants - stamped on them
But I had stamped on other children
(after J.L. Barges, The Mirror and the Mask)
I walked on
Looked back - ant following me
Saw where I lived
Next day ants big as people came to our house
We ran away
Moved to better house
(Deborah, aged 10)
R An old man
West of Ireland
Film location
Sea, moorland
Director meets old man - wants him to act in film
'You should see my father'
Father lives in hut by sea
Doesn't speak English
Unbelievabllyold
Son translates - father agrees to act
Filming takes two weeks
Final scene: old man looks to sea, as family leave for USA
Director whispers to son
Son translates
Retake of'scene- S<lITH:, bllt old rntJ n'~ (~yes It 1111 r I. )1'1"",1
hllJe with 11:;11 :;
11,
I I I
Story pool Story !JOol

T The magic barrel Notes and sug "_ ions

New York student: to become rabbi The stories coIl '('ll'd ill Ill' Story pool are intended as a supplement
Needs wife to the stories to Iw hlllnd ill the body of this book, and as a starting­
Calls matchmaker point for te;H.:!ll'rS who \vant to build up their own storytelling
Photographs: widow, lame girl, schoolteacher repertoire. We havl', therefore, not provided lesson notes or exercise
Ag rees to meet teacher materials for them. As an example of how the stories in the pool
Disaster - he is shy
might be nseJ, the following is offered as a suggestion:
Matchmaker returns - more photographs
He has a barrel full of them, he says
Story Exercises
Student sends him away A 2.5 (you will need to write your own theme words)
Photos left on table - packet with six in colour and one 2.9
in black and white 3.1 (parallel with story E)
Black and white photo shows girl with deep eyes, a girl B 2.3
who has suffered 2.14 (in place at the anecdote given)
He falls in love C 2.2
Goes to matchmaker's home - bare, no furniture, 3.1 (parallel with story J)
no barrel 5.3 (you will need to select your own 'content words')
'Who is this girl' 7.9
Matchmaker turns white: 'my daughter - an error, not D 2.5 (you will need to write your own theme words)
for you - dead' 5.4
Student doesn't believe him - demands to meet her E 2.7
'She disgraced us' 3.1 (parallel with story A)
Insists - meeting under streetlamp 3.2 (you will need to construct your own 'word rose')
A thin, pale girl, gaudily dressed F 2.8 (e.g. tell astar as penultimate line only)
Tart? G 2.10
In the shadows, her father chants prayer for the dead H 2.4
I 2.2
(after Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel)
2.13 (break at line 13)
4.2 (try finding your own theme sentences, e.g. 'Death before
dishonour')
J 3.1 (parallel with story C)
3.4
K 6.7 (start ate.g.line 11)
L 2.5 (you will need to write your own theme words)
M 2.6
2.7
1.2 (you will need to construct your own 'word rose')
N ) I)
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Story pool

Q 2.6 Posts ript


2.9
4.4 (pictures of e.g. crown, mask, dagger, beggar)
R 3.2 (you will need to make your own 'word rose')
4.2 (you wiJ[ need to write your own theme sentences)
6.2 (this story provides a good opportunity to try writing
'comprehension questions' ohhis sort)
5 2.6 Books like this have no real business to finish, ThL' rl',ltkl '()ldd
4.3 (ant) usefully and excitingly go on into the following ;lI'e;1S:
T 2.1 (either write the questions yourself, or get one class to 1 Guided fantasies. The group leader, after Cl relaxatioll l'XCI\'i~t',
write the questions for another group) talks the participants through the outline of a fant;lsy so cOllsrnlClnl
2.7 as ro leave the whole filling-out of the situation to the expcrienn:
and imagination of the listener. A well-conducted guided biHasy
leaves the participant more with the sense of having lived through
a novel or dream than a short story, though the time of the tdlillg
is perhaps no more than five minutes, excluding pauses for inller
imaginative work.
2 Recall of buried stories from childhood. Everybody has stOries
heard in childhood and of great significance then, which resist
being dug up. They seem often to surface only in fragments, ami
areas in and around them are often blocked.
3 Childhood fantasies. The waking dreams people wove for thelll
selves as children, before reaching sleep. They may have b'cn
influenced by elements from such SOl,lrces as adult tellers, TV,
radio and books. They may h~ve had to do with atc;1S like fears,
omnipotence, sexuality.
4 Dreams. There are a number of non-judgemental, l1ol1"<:1nalyric
ways of working with dreams as stories variously understood hy
different people in a group. There are, too, the Gesralt ltchlfiqlll'S
for exploring a dream from the point of view of objects and
people within it.
':lle have not included exercise material in the above areas bCGII1Sl.'
our teaching situation did not allow us to reach the depth of 111l1tlLli
truSl required 10 enter such delicate and fraught territory. PCOpll'
interested in guided fantasies might find these two books of illtcn's(:
G. Moskowitz, Caring and Sharing in the Foreip,n J.i7Il'.;l!dkl'
Classroom, Newburv House, 1971'\,
John O. Stcvcns, Au/(/rc·!'/c.:;s: I ~'/J!()rill,l;, I'Xjll'rill/('lltin,l!., 1',\'/JI'ril'/I, III,r:,
l{",d l'l'upk 1'1'",,\, 111;\11, I ~ !,
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