usually learn best by good example, but occasionally the lesson sticks
better when they are shown the incorrect way to do something. Through
this method, the student will see how distracting certain mannerisms are
when presenting before a group. This is what I share with teachers and
also use when doing storytelling residencies.
telling the students you are going to tell a story the wrong way. The
story content itself is OK, but the things you will be doing while telling
are distracting to the audience. Have them listen and watch and at the end,
they may tell you the numerous things you did that were distracting. (Students
love to have a chance to tell adults what they do wrong!) Seeing their teacher
demonstrate in this humorous fashion helps students identify and remember
Mannerisms to Include in Your Presentation:
telling before you have reached the front of the room.
the board or desk behind you.
any items nearby - chalk, books, paper.
look at the audience - just the floor, ceiling, walls, windows, etc.
in pockets and rock back and forth.
arms back and forth and side to side.
in front of your mouth.
shirt in your hands and pick at your clothes.
side to side.
softly and/or too loudly.
fast and/or too slowly.
and not be able to continue.
walking back to your seat while finishing the last words of your story.
pleasant voice for a story that is not pleasant.
in vocal inflection at the end of each sentence as if you are asking
pause for laughter. Just keep on telling so that no-one hears what you
As a matter
of fact, dont pause for anything - a huge outside disturbance
or distraction, a fire drill, a chance for audience members to catch
up, or to catch a breath.
17. and 18. were added thanks to storyteller Mary Hamilton (http://www.maryhamilton.info).
19., 20., and 21. were added thanks to storyteller Chris King.
a good chance for those teachers who have been hesitant to tell a story.
The students will be concentrating on your mannerisms, not your storytelling
abilities. In fact, if you mess up, just incorporate that into your wrong
Dianne Hackworth, a storyteller from North Carolina, tours throughout
the Southeast telling stories for all ages. Dianne brings to life Appalachian
and Celtic folktales; stories of fantastic beings, dragons and jugglers;
musical tales of cats, monsters, and toads; humorous stories, scary stories,
and touching tales. To find out more about this delightful teller, visit
her website at http://www.drurypub.com/hackworth
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