When told well, stories can engage and inspire young people, helping them to learn and grow.
There are many benefits to using oral storytelling with teens. Stories can:
Help teenagers learn about themselves and the world around them.
Stories can provide teenagers with a safe and engaging space to explore their experiences and emotions. They can also help teenagers to learn about different cultures and perspectives.
Encourage teenagers to be creative and imaginative.
Stories can spark teenagers’ creativity and imagination, helping them think outside the box and develop new ideas.
Build adults to build relationships with teenagers. Stories can build trust and rapport between teenagers and adults when told well. This can be especially important for teenagers who may not feel like they have a voice or may be struggling with difficult issues.
If you are interested in using oral storytelling with teenagers, there are a few things you can do to get started:
Choose stories that are relevant to teenagers’ lives.
Stories relevant to teenagers’ experiences will be more likely to engage them. So, choose stories that deal with topics that teenagers are interested in, such as relationships, identity, or social justice.
Tell stories in a way that is engaging and interactive.
Use your voice, facial expressions, and body language to bring your stories to life. Encourage teenagers to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings about the stories.
Make storytelling a regular part of your interactions with teenagers.
The more you tell stories, the better you will become at it. And the more you tell stories, the more likely teenagers are to be engaged and inspired by them.
Oral storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to connect with teenagers.
When told well, stories can engage and inspire young people, helping them to learn and grow. Oral storytelling is a great place to start if you want to connect with teenagers.
Here are some additional tips for telling stories to teenagers:
Use humor. Humor can help to make your stories more engaging and memorable.
Be yourself. Teenagers can tell when you are genuine, so let your personality shine through in your storytelling.
Be flexible. Teenagers are not always predictable, so be prepared to go off-script if necessary.
Have fun! The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and let your passion for storytelling show.
For more reading, see the article, “Listening Sideways” by Sean Buvala, posted on Medium.
For a book with stories that can be told with young teens, see Harriet Cole’s book, “Fifteen Pounds of Muscle and Bounce.”
Sean Buvala is the director of storyteller.net. He has worked with storytelling and families since the 1980s. This article first appeared on storyteller.net in April 2023. Photo by Komorebi Photo on Unsplash