Story-telling is an art and listening to stories is a passion with children. Stories which are women round the unknown past, human adventures and man's quest for the unknown tickle children's imagination and satisfy their instinct of curiosity.
It has been rightly said by an expert: "As history is story and biography, in junior stage, it is mainly a question of telling the story well. The story should be told in vivid, graphic manner in the vernacular, observing the chronological order."
Types of Stories
Stories are of varied nature. Certain stories are matter-of- fact type while others mix curiosity and imaginative details with the known facts. So, we have:
(a) True Stories. These are stories which are based on and are replete with historical facts.
(b) Myths. Mythical stories are imaginative. These stories are not based on facts. They are the result of the flight of one's imagination. They have for their characters fairies, unknown animals, mythical gods and goddesses. They excite curiosity and heighten emotions.
(c) Legends. These are the stories which contain a fair element of historical facts and are based on events and incidents related to historical personalities. The lives of such men of history as Alexander, Ashoka, Chandergupt Maurya, Chanakya, Razia and many more have become legends for posterity. However, such stories lack accuracy of details.
"Historical stories, then, whether they are facts or legends", says Prof. Jervis, "must be formulated by a truthfulness which is higher than mere accuracy of incidents."
Story-Telling Method (How to Tell Stories?)
Story-telling Method follows well-defined steps of procedure. These steps are:
(a) Selection of the Story (b) Telling of Story
(c) Use of Aids (d) Black-Board Work
(e) Reading from the Text-Book (f) Role of Children
(g) Role of the Teacher
(a) Selection of the Story
(i) Stories should be selected lusciously, with an eye on historical facts or events, (ii) The stories may be about the early man, about historical personages, battles fought, won or lost and so on. (Hi) The selected stories should suit the mental level of the students; (iv) The selected stories should be absorbing and should maintain children's interest.
(b) Telling the Story
Story-telling is an art. While telling a story, the teacher must proceed in well-selected manner of articulation. Sometimes he/she should take a pause and sometimes he/she should express excitement. The manner of telling the story should be absorbing. Action is an essential ingredient of story-telling.
(c) Use of Aids
With the use of aids, story-telling becomes lively and all the more interesting. Use of flash cards, cut-out pictures, paper- strips showing
sequence of events, puppetry, use of transparencies-all such aids create interest in the story. Charts, models and time-line graphs are also useful aids to story-telling.
(d) Black-Board Work
Black-board work is done to summaries the main points of the story. Black-board summary also helps the teacher to develop the story with the help of recapitulatory questions. The main points of the story help the children to write answers to the teacher's questions.
(e) Reading from the Text-Book
Reading from the text-book is helpful to the children to do revision work. It is likely that certain children miss at certain points on account of their inattentiveness. Text-book reading would compensate children in this regard. An illustrated text-book makes reading all the more interesting.
(f) Role of Children
Children play an important role in the success of the lesson an history is presented in the form of story-telling. The teacher should see to it that children also participate in the development of the lesson. They can participate.
(i) by asking questions, and
(ii)by answering teacher's questions. Children may also be called upon to narrate a section of the story or the full story. Certain historical events may also be got dramatised in the class-room by the children.
(g) Role of the Teacher
The teacher plays an important role in the story-telling method. He should:
(i) Tell the story in an interesting manner, with appropriate gestures;
(ii) Lend an air of dramatisation to the story;
(iii) Lend an artistic and realistic touch to the story;
(iv) Not skip the main parts of the story. Each new part should automatically emerge out of the previous part;
(v) Take care that the selected stories have rich details which are vividly presented.
Merits of the Story-Telling Method
Good stories if narrated well tickle the imagination of children. Their historical sensibility is enriched.
Story-telling trains the creative faculty of children. Students may be encouraged to prepare models of caves, of battle-lines, historical buildings and so on. This also develops love for the subject of history in their minds.
By listening to the details of some of the historical events, students may dramatise them in the class-room or on the occasion of annual function of the school.
The students also learn the art of narration. They may be asked to narrate stories related to life histories of such persons as Alexander, Rama, Ashoka, Rana Partap, Shivaji and many other historical heroes.
Stories of great men infuse moral sense in the hearts of students.
Good historical stories help in producing in the pupils such traits of character as truthfulness, patriotism, valour, discipline, sense of sacrifice etc.
Limitations of Story-Telling Method
1. This method is not useful for all levels of students. Occasional story-telling is useful for high school students, but not the whole of teaching the subject of history.
2. The social, political and economic issues of different periods of history cannot be presented in narrative form.
3. Children may not always respond to story-telling because all story-telling may not attract children's interest.
4. Every teacher is not a good story-teller. The art of story-telling is acquired only by a few teachers.