Learning Another Language Through Storytelling

Books on a shelf at the Library of ALCCStorytelling is one of the oldest ways of teaching. Hundreds of centuries ago, humans told their stories in the form of cave paintings. Today, the power of storytelling is universal. Read on to learn more about how the telling of stories advances the ability to learn English or another new language.

Feeling the Effects of Neural Coupling

Research from Princeton University has shown that during storytelling, the process of neural coupling enables the brain of both the storyteller and the listener to align as if they were living the same experience. Both minds share not only their areas of controlling speech and language but also that of empathy—the beliefs, desires, and goals of others. Additionally, research from the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies also found that stories can raise cortisol and oxytocin levels in the brain. These chemicals are associated with a higher level of focus and connection.

Sharing in Universal Stories

Generations throughout the world have grown up with Aesop’s Fables, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and hundreds more. This shared familiarity creates an instant connection to almost any language. When told and retold, they have set the stage for the shared aspects of speech and literacy.

Understanding the Structure of Stories

Language learning is best achieved when conversational skills are developed in conjunction with the literacy of the language. Narration and dialogue make the stories more effective as language learning tools. Learners can embody the characters in the story when reading the dialogue to gain new conversational skills. While narration helps learners gain new vocabulary with descriptors and action words fueling the plot.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, ALCC American Language offers a range of courses to help international and local students learn English and prepare for the TOEFL. Please call us at (212) 736-2373 or fill out our form to learn more about our course offering. We even have an entire course dedicated to American Short Stories and the art of storytelling!

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