There are four macro skills involved in communication and language arts: listening; speaking; reading and writing. These macro skills can be further divided into sub skills that somehow connect from one to another.
For example, listening skills are necessary to acquire sounds of letters and new words. Thus, it leads the listener to produce the sounds and speak the words. Writing the words help in remembering. When the words are read, meaning and context are shaped.
Another example on the interconnection of the macro skills happens when reading. A reader encounters the text and studies its structures like cause and effect, problem-solution and chronological order. When there is mastery of skill in understanding such structures in a text, the reader can model these into writing. The reader becomes the writer. The writer continuously reads.
Looking at this basic example, we can see how the four macro skills work together.
Learning the skills in communication arts is empowering. Research shows that people with good communication skills are better learners who can pick out information, use them creatively and responsibly and evaluate its worth.
Ideas and emotions, opinions and feelings need to be conveyed in different manners and in a variety of ways. There are even special occasions when a particular communicative skill is called for while the rest take a back seat. In the acquisition of information and ideas, listening, speaking, reading and writing may be used separately, in pairs, or all together! To know when to use which macro skill to acquire, access, encounter and evaluate information and ideas is a higher order thinking skill that can be learned over time and with much practice.
In formal instruction, techniques and strategies are taught to
build on sub-skills and the proficiency in its facility. Storytelling is one of the many strategies that teachers and learners use to develop and hone the macro skills in communication arts. Besides, storytelling is a process of communication. There is a sender of a story and a receiver accepts it. Feedback occurs in response through different means like writing, art, retellings, etc.
A. Storytelling and Listening
There are many kinds of listening: marginal, attentive, critical-analysis, critical-evaluative and appreciative listening. These listening skills find their place in classroom instruction through strategies that teachers employ for students to acquire and learn. In storytelling, appreciative listening is developed as well as attentive listening.
Appreciative listening is the enjoyment of sounds, words and literary pieces like stories, poetry, ballad and song. Attentive listening is the focus by which the listener involves himself/herself in the communication process. Both listening skills are developed through storytelling.
A listening audience, be it child or adult, derives enjoyment from the tempo, rhythm, rhyme and tone color of poetry, chants and songs. These are found in stories told orally. Once the listener is exposed to such components, understanding on the given literature or text is achieved as well as pleasure from the experience.
B. Storytelling and Speaking
When a story is heard, two things happen. First, meaning is taken from it. Second, it is shared through retellings, role- play, songs, chants and the like. Storytelling sessions are venues where the listener takes in a message (story) and sends it back to convey it to another through oral means.
C. Storytelling and Reading and Writing
Another way to transfer stories is through writing. Coding a story through book form, on-line format or in a collections of stories via published print formats (journals, anthologies) preserves them for future readers and tellers of the tales.
Storytelling sessions are springboards to reading and writing activities as well.
Pre-storytelling activities that prepare listeners to the story are excellent ways to arouse schema and the development of context. This is one means by which the listener’s understanding is activated prior to the encounter of story. In reading, this is very important since comprehension occurs through connection to experiences, feelings and ideas. During storytelling activities, the teller may inject songs, rhymes even questions that elicit predictions and inferences. It is also in this part where “think alouds” are ideal as it help establish what-if moments leading to creative thinking. Upon reaching the finish line of a storytelling session, post storytelling activities that involve writing can be done. This is the part when listeners can give feedback through writing. Feedback may be in the form of letters, essays, posters, advertisements, poems, scripts, etc. Some creative productions like the staging of a reader’s theatre or a mini-skit/play is not far fetched. In fact, these may prove to be a relevant communication arts activity for the listener, young and old alike.