Modern Languages - Il etait une fois ..

Alison Scott

What's it all about?

"Qui passe sur mon pont en faisant clac, clac, clac?" demand the children in a Wiltshire primary. It is their French lesson and they are retelling the story of Les Trois Cabris. With correct intonation and expression, actions and a story map, the meaning of the story becomes clear, even to these 10-year-olds. They are studying French with the Story Making programme, and Les Trois Cabris is one of the original stories created for it, which the children learn to tell through a combination of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approaches, writes Alison Scott.

Story Making in French has been researched and developed at the International Learning and Research Centre near Bristol, and has been successfully introduced in schools through teacher participation in training courses and language conferences across the country. Children learn to tell stories using this approach in the language being taught in their school.

Young learners are enthusiastic. "Story Making is really enjoyable because it brings the whole class together . Everyone's involved," says Sally, 10. And 11-year-old Mary-anne says: "We have creative minds . We have started changing the story . I like the freedom of choosing what you do."

Teachers have been equally impressed. "Story Making methodology has motivated my class to be able to tell whole stories in French, one tells me. "It's now an integral part of language learning in our school."

Perhaps most rewarding is the children's enjoyment, increased motivation and sense of achievement in being able to recall and manipulate whole sentences in the target language.

What else?

Try some storytelling lesson ideas from Teachers TV. Or discover La Belle au Bois Dormant in a clear and colourful lesson from Bonnie Rafferty.

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Alison Scott

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