Art and Languages

Eight Benefits of Learning Languages
by Storytelling

Storytelling is a robust means of communication present in all cultures and societies. In fact, stories represent some of the first learning experiences for children all around the globe. They’re equally common in India just as much as they are in Chile or any other country in the world.

We are all connected through stories. We learn about the world and how to express ourselves by storytelling. And even before we could speak our minds, we could make sense of our world through stories. 

So if you’re wondering whether storytelling can help you learn a foreign language, the answer is yes, definitely. 

This powerful approach is becoming more popular in language learning classrooms for a good reason. In fact, it’s for at least eight good reasons. And this article shares what they are.  

But let’s start from the basics.

How Language Learning by Storytelling Works?

Language teachers across the world are starting to realize the efficiency of storytelling in the classroom. Besides improving the four essential skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing), this approach also helps grasp vocabulary, language functions, and grammar more easily. 

Storytelling shows excellent results for children who first start tackling a foreign language. Since every child loves stories, they can explore the magical world of storytelling by getting numerous language- and development-related benefits. 

In truth, language learning by storytelling is suitable for different ages, personalities, and learning preferences, and it’s one of the most customizable learning methods out there.  

Whether you’re 7 or 77, you can benefit from this language learning method, and here’s how.

The Benefits of Learning a Language by Storytelling

  • Enhances Focus

Storytelling is a great way to enhance focus, especially in young learners. Children often struggle to keep their attention for long. Their minds wander off easily when the content doesn’t interest them anymore. 

But storytelling is different. 

The stories in a language learning class are tailored to the student’s age, interests, and personality. They’re designed to prolong their attention span and help them improve focus. And let’s face it – a sharp focus is an essential skill in the world of distractions that we live in.

  • Fosters Imagination

People are naturally interested in telling their own stories rather than repeating ready-made content. It’s in our inner nature to express ourselves and learn through stories. When we create stories, the setting, the plot, it fosters our imagination. 

In language learning, children and adults are invited to come up with stories they have complete control over – there are no limits to how far creativity can go. And the imagination aspect is especially important for young learners. It turns them into creative thinkers, which is another vital skill to have today.

  • Boosts Cultural Understanding

Storytelling in a language learning situation often includes various types of cultural elements. When children work on stories that include different places, traditions, and cultures than their own, it opens their eyes to new things. They get to imagine visiting places they’ve never been to, think about children their age who live in another corner of the world, or talk about a traditional recipe of another country. 

There are plenty of topics in storytelling that help learners of all ages and levels embrace cultural differences and promote cultural understanding.

  • Enhances Deep Learning

For years now, researchers have been studying how storytelling promotes deep learning. 

They found that some features of the storytelling method facilitate the process of deep learning:

  • It being a reflection-involving activity
  • Its developmental, integrative, and self-directive approach
  • It being a lifelong experience

By creating and telling stories, learners develop skills that allow them to link subjective and objective perspectives. The usage of both visual and audio content in a language learning class seems to go in favor of this as well.

  • Enhances Communication Skills

All language learners have a common goal – learn to communicate in a new language. And storytelling is all about communication. Whether it’s about describing a dish, giving directions, or talking about an event, stories promote communication skills big time. 

Students get to speak in real-time and learn from their mistakes, further enhancing their communication in a foreign language. 

This approach also improves communication skills in general. By being assisted in the process of telling a story that speaks to them, students who lack confidence learn how to express themselves without feeling judged. They feel motivated instead.

  • Applies Language in Context

Every new word, preposition, phrase, and other element students learn in a storytelling class appears in context. And learning from context is one of the most natural paths to content retention. This means you’ll never learn a new word with this approach and not know how to use it. 

Students learn which words go with each other naturally, without being forced to learn grammar rules.  And we all know how dull learning grammar can be. But thanks to storytelling, students get real-life examples of those rules that bring sense to everything.

  • Makes Learning Fun

Storytelling is an extremely customizable method. For every person learning a language through a story, there are numerous topics to match their interests. This creates the path to a tailored learning experience where the student actually has a good time in class and learns by discussing topics they like.

If you love origami, you can improve your Japanese skills by creating stories about how this paper folding technique works as if you were explaining it to a younger sibling. Or, if you’re a French language learner who’s also crazy about traveling, you can put your vocab skills to the test and come up with a story describing your last trip in French.

There are countless situations you can use storytelling for, and they are all of tremendous value to the student since they make the whole language learning experience fun.

  • Develops Creative Problem-Solving Skills

You can think of storytelling as a brain stimulator. This approach lets you rehearse problems and learn how to deal with them better. 

And the explanation for this lies in human nature. People are better at remembering stories than facts because stories enter our brains differently. We have this innate ability to analyze and retain information as stories. 

Our brains got used to receiving information in the story format since early childhood. They established neurological pathways that lead us to use the story structure to process information. So we are taught to think in the context-problem-solution structure that all stories have. 

This way of thinking also boosts our logical abilities. We create our own “story” database of life experiences we use for creative problem-solving throughout life.

Realizing the Power of Storytelling

learn languages through storytelling course

Cultures and communities were built thanks to stories. Every day, millions of children learn about the world around them by reading stories. People across the globe share stories to get to know each other and exchange information.

Given the omnipresence and importance of stories, it’s no wonder why storytelling is so efficient in language learning. Not only does it promote all four crucial language skills – but it also makes us better thinkers and problem solvers. 

So if you’re willing to try the storytelling method to enhance your English or French skills, contact Art & Languages for help. We can come up with a tailored learning experience to help you reach fluency the way you’re supposed to – naturally and through context.

Darija Stojanovic

Art and Languages

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