Encouraging children to become storytellers

Creativity is not something that one can conjure up by sitting with a pen and paper in hand.

Published: 16th April 2018 02:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2018 02:14 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Creativity is not something that one can conjure up by sitting with a pen and paper in hand. It comes from noticing things around you that are beyond the obvious, believes Debosmita Dam, the facilitator of 'Thinking up Stories' workshop, organized by the Sandbox Collective.

"For regular sights we see on a daily basis, children always have an interesting or creative perspective on it. In this workshop, we want to help them build on things they see around them and express it through stories," says Debosmita Dam.

The theatre artist, who works with children, uses a range of techniques to get them thinking. Right from asking them about books, movies and cartoons they watch, breaking down elements of a story to playing theatre games, writing, drawing and giving features to characters in the story.

" For instance, I will give a random word, like picnic, and count to 10. In those few seconds, the children will have to stage a scene. It is a very short time, so there is no room for conversation. So each of them poses as a dog, table, people, tree, etc," explains Dam, adding that this would make the children understand the elements to a scene.

" Writing and drawing becomes useful for them to flesh out a character. They create a protagonist and antagonist and I ask them to give 5 details about their hair, color of clothes etc," Dam opines, further adding,"Picking up an object around you, giving it a name and character requires imagination that a syllabus cannot teach."

Catering for ages 7 to 10, the two-and-a-half-hour workshop aims to aid the participants with reading and understanding stories better, whether in classrooms or while reading their favourite books.

A book that Dam always love to use as reference is Alice in Wonderland, because of its non-linear narrative. "Every time I read Alice in Wonderland, I find a new element which I did not notice earlier. It is brilliantly written, has all the elements to it, is colourful and stretches your imagination. Often, the children surprise me with interpretations I would have not thought of," she adds.

In her experience, storytelling aids teaching, creates empathy without being preachy and is a free form. The open event is a part of the Art Reach initiative under Sandbox collective's Art in Education programmes.

Thinking up stories will take place on April 21 at Atta Galatta, Koramangala, and on April 22 at Untitled Space, JP Nagar, both starting at 10 am.

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