I know the Storyline approach only as connecting a series of video segments or pieces of a book to form a narrative for learners. Public Broadcasting in the U.$.A. has created such series for learners of French and Spanish. So I'm not exactly sure how this might apply to my teaching context other than the fact that the ongoing narrative of students' lives (in their other classrooms) will inform and shape the content of our ESL class. Please let me know if I'm off track there.
Perhaps the following will provide some background information.
This is a quote from Steve Bell, one of the developers of the Storyline Method
The Storyline method is based on the theory that knowledge is complex and many layered; that meaning is guided by one's prior knowledge and experience. The Storyline creates a context for learning with active involvement of the child. It provides tasks which arise from the context in which the child sees as significant and meaningful within it. The Storyline gives the child opportunities to develop understanding and skills with the support of the context. The critical elements of the storyline are:
Setting the scene in a particular time or place.
People and/or animals.
A way of life to investigate.
Real problems to be solved
Each Storyline consists of a series of chapters and each chapter begins with a key question, designed to elicit the combined knowledge of the class about the subject to be explored. The children start from what they know and build their own hypothetical model of the area to be studied. They then use their imagination to hypothesise about the model they have, realise there are gaps in their knowledge and design their own questions to study further to fill in those gaps. They then test the model against any evidence they have and make any further changes necessary. This procedure is repeated for each chapter in a linear fashion as the storyline develops. With such a method children learn how to learn, they develop lifelong study skills.
The storyline to be used in a language classroom can be developed with teachers of other subjects and the key questions can relate to these subjects. This way the language classroom can reinforce/supplement the non-language curriculum with students having to use grammar and lexis about subjects that are meaningful and relevant to them.
As far as I know Storyline has only be used with young learners, but I do wonder if it could be adapted to suit teenagers and adults.
I have written an essay on the subject for my Masters if anyone wants to read it.
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