The magic world of Storytelling
I recently bought the captivating book Videotelling ( it’s also a finalist for the ELTons 2017) by Jamie Keddie, and I was inspired to use some of the storytelling techniques to approach this brilliant video. I hope to do justice to the book.
As you all might know, Professor Robert Kelly found himself struggling with domestic matters two weeks ago when, during a Skype call to discuss South Korea with BBC One, his two cute children burst in behind him. Besides that, his wife frantically dashed in to retrieve the kids. Needless to say, the video has gone viral and it’s the perfect timing to discuss working from home.
The main purpose of this lesson is the storytelling and discussing with students and not to make them guess what viral video it is about – I suppose guessing the video would be easy for students as the video went viral quite recently.
This lesson plan is suitable for A2- B1 students.
Story and Procedures
- Read the story aloud but don’t say it is based on a video
- Make eye-contact to develop awareness of your audience. Are your students paying attention?
- Use gestures and actions to mimic the characters. This will be fun!
From Jamie Keddie’s book: Familiarize yourself with the text and read it out a few times before taking it into class. Identify moments that require vocal punctuation ( rising or falling intonation, attention to rhythm, phrasing, pause, etc.)
Teachers are supposed to read the story and make pauses to ask and interact with students. The main purpose is to engage students into the story and make them curious.
If you want to listen to my version, click here.
1.1 You can read the story and interactive questions here: BBCInterviewfromHell-Forteachers ( Timing : 30′ for reading the story and asking and getting feedback from the questions)
- Show the word cloud and ask them if they know the video. Handout here ( Timing : 15′)
2.1. Pair up students and they have to come up with a story using 5 words from the wordcloud.
- Students watch the video ( Timing: 2′)
3.1 You can find the story as a PDF file and hand it to your students after they watch the video : BBCInterviewfromHell-Forstudents
- Revisit the story after the video so you can draw the students’attention to key words and phrases ( Timing: 10′)
This is the new vocabulary you might want to explore before telling the story:
- You’ll slay it! ( informal for “you will succeed”)
- Groomed (= looking neat, clean and smart)
- Show off ( = to try to impress)
- Blur of yellow ( = blur is a shape you can’t see clearly)
- To bop ( = to dance)
- Sassy head ( = smart and stylish
- To tilt ( = move it slightly upwards or to one side)
- To shove the girl out of sight ( = to push the girl with a quick movement)
- Keep his cool ( = to manage to remain calm in a difficult situation)
- To waddle ( = walk with short steps, swinging slightly from side to side)
- Muffled cries (= unclear and quiet sound, in this case, the cries of the children when the mother closed the door)
5. Sequencing Exercise – Students will practise transition words so that they can use the new vocabulary in final task ( students’ storytelling)
Handout here : BBCInterviewfromHell-Sequencingexercise
Discussion & Follow-up Questions ( timing : 15′ )
What I liked about Professor Robert Kelly was the fact that he experienced the moment most of working parents dread: being at home on an important call, only to be interrupted by his curious children. Apart from the interview itself, there aren’t any dialogues between the kids, the wife, and the professor. It’s just brilliant.
Now it’s time to ask further questions. According to Jamie Keddie, questions are the key to storytelling. Asking suitable questions help students engage, comprehend the world and reduce teacher input. Some suggestions are:
- Do you work from home? What are the perks of working from home?
- What are the perils of working from home?
- Do you have any ritual when you work from home? What do you wear? What is the room like?
- What kinds of jobs offer flexible working hours?
- What do you think happened in Professor Kelly’s house when the interview was over?
- How would you feel if you were the professor?
Final task: Students as the storytellers ( Timing : 15′)
Ask students to recreate the story from the mother’s point of view in pairs or trios. Why did the kids burst into the room? What happened in the living room after she grabbed her kids?