Myths for Mutual Pedagogy 9: Story Telling

You are teaching an upper-level ancient Greek class on Homer’s Odyssey and you reach the ninth book of the poem and Odysseus’ re-telling of his wanderings to at the court of the Phaeacians. You start the class by telling the small group of students that even though this part of the poem is devoted to storytelling and it places great stress on an individual statement to the group, you (the professor) would not be leading today’s class, but instead you (the students) would share your stories before getting down to reading the Greek text.

Each student would then be asked to walk around the interior of a circle, created by the other students. The student is asked to tell a story that they had never told to anyone before, something that happened when they were a child. A phone, on flashlight mode, was handed to them, illuminating their features, and they were told to pass the phone/flashlight to another person when they had completed their story.

 

As it was passed, on another phone, random songs from YouTube are played by another student, who would move to the music. The story telling would be woven into the moving (phone/music) and the passing of the light (phone/flashlight).

In this class, each student and you, the professor (of course, you would tell a story as well!), would reveal the intimacy of themselves, their deepest feelings, in a story that was so personal that they had never told it before. The use of the light (phone/flashlight), the place you chose to tell your story, the gestures you used, all contribute to the inner qualities of the story.

After this experiment, and the Greek lesson, towards the end of the class, you ask the students to take our their phones and send a message to a friend, inviting them to a karaoke bar. You do the same. That evening, when the students, their friend, you and your friend, are sitting in the bar, listening to people singing their hearts out, you and the students proceed to tell their story to the friend sitting next to them. The evening concluded with everyone moving and dancing a very soft and ceremonious dance with his own phone/flashlight lighted.

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