May 31, 2011
The Art of Retelling
The communicative tool of retelling has been used at least since the days when Moses was commanded to repeat the works of God to the children of Israel. It continues even today when parents tell their histories to their own children.
The methodology of narration is important to learning. A student learns to visualize a scene he has heard or read about, to assemble what he knows, to inquire, criticize, organize, select, and even express himself through speaking and writing. The narrator becomes actively engaged in the learning process.
Begin to hold your children accountable for what they are hearing, reading, and observing. Ask them to retell parts of their lessons. Do this after readings in Bible, history, science, and literature. Do it as they solve problems in math and as they observe art and nature.
Several powers of the mind will be activated as students begin really to know what they are reading and observing. Students will be able to develop a clear understanding of the material and will be able to participate in a broad variety of discussions with a certain degree of knowledge. They will learn to reflect, ruminate, remember, and participate in thoughtful discussions.
Here are some practical ways to use the process of narration with your students:
· Begin a new lesson or selection from a book with a review of what the students previously have learned.
· Introduce new vocabulary, background information, and facts before you begin the lesson or the reading.
· Read slowly and carefully though the material once. The students are to read or listen with the understanding that they will narrate or retell what they are hearing. Students are inclined to pay closer attention if they know they will be accountable for the information. In turn, their listening and attentiveness skills will be strengthened.
· Then have students narrate orally the portion read or heard, or the lesson observed. Students can be called upon in turns to narrate the passages or chapters until the whole is told back. Narrate less before you narrate more.
· Narrate point by point, episode by episode, not word for word.
· Do not talk too much, interrupt, or prompt.
· Assign written narration only after a students are fluent in oral narration. You may act as a scribe for younger students.
· Keep a record of written narrations as evaluations of the students progress. Evaluations should be according to sequence, details, and word choice.
· Follow up written narrations with the students reading aloud their work. For younger students, the teacher should read back what the students were told.
· Take time to narrate daily. Make this time calm and unhurried.
-- Maryellen Marschke