Storyline is a structured approach to learning and teaching that was developed in Scotland It builds on the key principle that learning, to be meaningful, has to be memorable, and that by using learner's enthusiasm for story-making, the classroom, the teacher's role and learning can be transformed. Storyline is a strategy for developing the curriculum as an integrated whole. It provides an opportunity for active learning and reflection as essential parts of effective learning and teaching. At the same time it develops in learners a powerful sense of ownership of their learning.
A key feature of the approach is the very positive way in which it depends on and builds on pupils’ existing experience and knowledge. Also significant is the degree of pupil involvement, both imaginatively and in practical problem solving. The Storyline method poses problems and asks questions of pupils rather than giving them answers to questions they have never asked. The pupils and the teacher explore ideas together. The approach is essentially experiential and constructivist. It draws the curriculum together using the environment and social subjects as a stimulus to explore, using expressive arts and language as a means of discussing, describing and explaining. Research and reference skills are extended as pupils are encouraged to search for answers and information in various ways...orally, through technology, videos, by use of databases and through study of books, posters and photographs. As topics are developed pupils record their ideas, understandings and responses in visual and written formats thus creating powerful classroom displays as well as individual files of work. Both of these enable the process of review and evaluation when the storyline is completed.
Jeff Creswell is an experienced classroom teacher and staff developer who has been working with the Storyline method since it was first brought to the United States in 1989. He is the author of Creating Worlds, Constructing Meaning: The Scottish Storyline Method, published by Heinemann Books. He has trained teachers throughout the United States and Europe, and is on the leadership team for Storyline International. Jeff recently retired from classroom teaching after 32 years. In addition to his work with Storyline Design, he is a facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal, an organization founded by Parker Palmer, working with educators and other people in the helping professions.
Eileen Vopelak has been an educator for 40 years. She received her master’s degree in Elementary Education and has both Administrative and TESOL credentials. She has been an eleme
ntary school teacher, staff developer, student teacher supervisor, and adjunct professor. Eileen was introduced to the Storyline Method in 1991 and has since been using the method and sharing it with teachers in California and beyond. In addition to being a Storyline instructor, she is an adjunct professor at Santa Barbara City College where she teaches English as a Second Language.
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