A status check on the tradition of story telling in the times of super connectivity

We have listened to stories forever. How we consume our tales has moved from oral, the telly, to the internet, our Smartphones and social networking sites. According to Deeptha Vivekanand, founder of Ever-After and founding member of the Bangalore Storytelling Society, “Storytelling has always been a part of our culture. Human beings are naturally wired to process information through stories. While parent-child storytelling is the simplest and earliest form, storytelling is in reality more diverse and relevant today than it ever was. Facebook is full of stories. Customers review brands, restaurants, etc, through their experiences which are again stories.”

She says a story’s importance lies in the fact that it blends emotion and logic. “Neuroscience has proved that both the right and the left cortex are equally activated when hearing a story/watching movie.”

Michelle Kurian, a preschool teacher says: “If you wonder why kids prefer the TV and the internet over books, it’s simply because entertainment is what they want and parents today either don’t have/make the time to tell/read stories to their children. Irrespective of what age one is, storytelling can be educative and informative and it is time we started capitalising on these two aspects in the classroom and at home.”

Stories bring speaker and the listener on the same page. Abhaas Singh, a life coach, says: “Social experiences are important and storytelling is among the best ways to initiate communication and social bonds. Children are able to learn better when they’re taught through stories. It enhances their listening skills and also helps increase their vocabulary. Storytelling can inspire a child to learn to read, study and write their own stories.”

Professional storytelling may not be everybody’s cup of tea but there are ways to develop the skill. Deeptha says: “Storytelling is as much an art as it is a science. One has to put in extra efforts to communicate through stories. Using the right words and body language are also an important part of storytelling.”

Manushee Kumar, a mother of two, finds: “Storytelling is most effective when stories are read out/ narrated with emotion. Change of pitch according to what the story necessitates is important. I think it helps a child imagine a world beyond his own and that’s what leaves him yearning to hear/read/learn more.”

Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director, Media Psychology Research Center, has said: “Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemas, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.”