Tales from the liminal classroom: preservice teachers and oral storytelling

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses - 2009 Archive

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Victoria Campbell

MEd(Research) thesis, conferred 2009

This qualitative case study explores the pedagogical implications of preservice teachers learning to become oral storytellers. Turner's concept of the liminal (1974) and Arnold's notion of empathic intelligence guide the themes that emerge throughout the work. The study specifically focuses on the experience of four preservice primary teachers developing oral storytelling skills.

As part of the research design, the participants engaged in an intensive learning-and-teaching intervention where they focused on the paralinguistic, performance and relational aspects of storytelling. They also explored how narrative functions as a type of 'holding' structure for the listener/teller relationship. Overall, the participants said that developing these skills had positive implications for their emerging teacher identity and pedagogy.

The research revealed that notions of the 'personal' and 'self' are central to participants learning to become confident storytellers. Themes that emerged and are discussed and analysed were personal identity; artistry; the potential for positive transformation of teacher/student relationships; and enhanced learning about narrative. In conclusion, this thesis offers a rationale for oral storytelling to be included as an integral component of teacher education.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Michael Anderson