Focus Question #1: Oral Literature, What is the Role of Oral Storytelling?
Student Performance Objectives
We remind you that most communication is oral, not written, and that while the written word has been extolled in western culture, humans are basically an oral species. Moreover, it is our orally shared stories, whether those of great heroes, a spider named Anansi or of the events of our day, that bind us together most forcefully as human beings. Oral literature has a variety of genres, characteristics and purposes. Reading 1 Oral Literature contains the concepts and ideas necessary to teach these lessons. Please read it before proceeding.
Based on the readings and your own knowledge, what oral literature is most popular in this country?
What is the major purpose of this kind of literature?
Why are these songs so popular?
What groups probably listen to these songs?
What political and social issues are these songs about?
What is the point of view of the singer? What action does he want people to take?
Where do most people hear the music? On MTV? On cassettes? In concerts? Are they alone or in groups? Do you react to a song differently depending on where you are and who you are with?
(Option: Do a similar assignment with country music or any other genre with which your students are familiar and deals with social issues.)
Divide the class into groups and ask each group to identify an important issue in the school, community or country that they wish changed. Have each group create a poem, song or story that expresses their point-of-view.
Ask students to write a "family story." For homework, students can question family members to tell them their family story and then record it in their journal or learning log. Compare the two versions.
1. Divide class into groups of three. In each group, one student tells story as it would be told to a best friend. A second student retells the story as if to a parent. The third student retells the story as if to a teacher. (It is necessary to limit the time of each story to 5 minutes or less.) The class can then discuss what kinds of information and details are included or left out in each register.
2. One group of three students will choose one student to tell a story and the other two students will be the audience. They will record the story on tape. The remaining students will write a story. The teacher will transcribe the taped stories over night and distribute copies of that story and a representative written story to the class the following day. The class will compare the written story to the oral tradition.
3. Discuss reaction time differences between written and oral texts to current sensational events.
Collect jokes and anecdotes about a current sensational event and discuss how soon after the
event was publicized they began to circulate.
Proceed to next activity. Return to the American Forum's On-line Materials Index page.
Proceed to next activity.
Return to the American Forum's On-line Materials Index page.