Tell Me a Story

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank.

Daniel Pink suggests in his book A Whole New Mind that there is a need for a new mindset. This new mind is based upon skills and abilities that we may have not valued in the information society. He talks about a conceptual framework and although his book is written for adults and it focuses on the business  world, I think that many of the skills and abilities that are described are things that children are good at. We simply do not value these skills, which means that we often do not nurture and allow them to develop and fully blossom.

Daniel talks about high concepts and high touch. High concepts  include skills related to creating meaningful narratives, detecting patterns and opportunities. The high touch skills include a focus on empathy and eliciting joy in others and one’s self.

High concept and high touch abilities require skills and tools in the following areas:  

  • Design – Moving beyond the function to engage the sense
  • Story – Add a narrative
  • Symphony – Big picture thinking
  • Empathy – Engaging emotion
  • Play – Bring humour and lightheartedness to the learning
  • Meaning – Give meaning to life from inside yourself

In a previous blog post Visual thinking strategies, a way to explore paintings with children was discussed. Children, even young children, often observe and detect aspects and ideas in pictures that may be difficult in when they are listening or reading a story. By asking questions such as “What’s going on in this picture?” and “What do you see that makes you say that?, we invite children to explore art and photos

Many paintings tell  a dramatic story and these are wonderful to use to encourage children to write or tell a story filled with emotions. The best stories are the ones that move you emotionally and make you think. Focusing on one idea or single point often makes the story more engaging. Engaging all the senses makes the story come alive.

  • What can you smell when you look at this picture?
  • What can you hear? What does the voice sound like?
  • What does it feel like to touch the dress?
  • What does the apple taste like?
  • What does the person feel and think?
  • What could have happened to make the person feel and sound like that?

Inspiring children to tell a story about a painting, filled with drama and emotions is a way to ensure that “new minds” are developing. . . and of course you can twist and turn the painting around, imagine that you step into the painting to create haunted images that will inspire a surreal story. . .





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