Douglas E. Forster


The Need for Story-Centric Language Teaching

Sat, May 15, 16:00-16:45 JST

Language teachers often struggle to inspire student interest. To solve this problem, we present a “story frame” for engaging learners. More than just using stories, the story frame helps us plan lessons and guide learning. For instance, we can use the story frame “character + conflict + attempted extrication” (Gottschall, 2012) to guide discussion. Students read about a man (character) who gets sick (conflict) from eating fast food daily. Students suggest five things he can do to live a healthier life (attempted extrication). Even with grammar lessons, we can add story spice. Often, students do dull dialogs. But with a story frame, teachers can give students example sentences and images in a story nutshell. For the present continuous, students see a surfer (character). He is surfing a dangerous wave (conflict). The teacher asks, “What’s he doing?” Answer: “He’s surfing.” In the next picture, the surfer is about to fall. The teacher asks, “What’s he doing?” Answer: “He’s falling.” While these ideas are not new, we provide a story frame for teachers to use in every aspect of teaching because story works as the most powerful form of communication, and enhances every form of linguistic interaction.