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Stories used in teaching

  • 1.  Stories used in teaching

    Posted 08-02-2022 10:40 AM
    Dear TESOL colleagues, in my teaching with college-age students who are future teachers, I love using stories in addition to textbooks with learning theories and teaching strategies. Some stories I love to use include the following ones.

    1. Masks and Acculturation by Margret Montoya. We use this story to talk about various forms of community cultural wealth in the story.
    2. A short story from The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez We use this story to talk about migrant worker children.
    3. We use "The Icing on the Cake" from StoryCorps to talk about immigrant families and their strengths.
    4. We use Facundo the Great to talk about anglicizing students' names in schools.
    5. We use Mother Tongue by Amy Tan to talk about multilingual repertoire and strategic translanguaging.

    Do you love stories in teaching? What's your favorite story to use in teaching? Would you like to share some stories you use in this forum?

    Looking forward to your posts,

    Shuzhan Li
    Ithaca College
    United States

  • 2.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 09-02-2022 11:44 AM
    I work with an adult ESL program at a men's prison in Illinois. We also use "The Circuit" by Francisco Jimenez. You might be interested in My name is Jorge: On both sides of the river by Jane Medina. It is a book of bilingual poems.

    In addition to The Circuit, the men have chosen several others novels/memoirs. We get copies in English and Spanish.
    • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Chapters like "Name" might be interesting supplements for discussion. We
    • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
    • Burro Genius by Victor Villaseñor

    Amber Dunse
    University of Illinois
    Education Justice Project's Language Partners

    Amber Dunse
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • 3.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 09-02-2022 03:34 PM
    These are amazing stories, Amber. Thank you for sharing and for the work that you do!

    Shuzhan Li
    Ithaca College
    United States

  • 4.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 10-02-2022 02:42 AM
    Edited by Marijana Smolcec 10-02-2022 02:49 AM
    Dear colleagues!

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing these! I teach secondary school students. And last year I used Eveline by James Joyce. It's a short story and they loved it. In this classroom, I mainly have girls so there was a quiet debate about what Eveline could have done, or what choice did she have? Very interesting. At this point there we had distance learning so we discussed it via videoconference.
    I will look into some more of my examples and will try to share them as well.
    Bye all

    Marijana Smolcec

  • 5.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 09-02-2022 01:46 PM
    Dear Shuzhan,

    I don't have anything to contribute to this topic. But I want to thank you for sharing these resources, that represent a rich array of issues relating to supporting multilingual learners, as well as how you use these resources in your classroom. Storytelling, as an academic discourse genre, is a natural multi-voiced platform to build critical conversations in teacher education through perspectives shifting, and a user friendly way to help future teachers explore how their personal and precessional identities might impact on their teaching.

    Again, thank you!



    Ching-Ching Lin, Ed.D
    NYS TESOL President, 2021-2022

  • 6.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 09-02-2022 03:36 PM
    Ching-Ching! I feel that if we write a paper together, I can write the narratives and you can do the analysis. :P

    Shuzhan Li
    Ithaca College
    United States

  • 7.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 10-02-2022 04:38 PM
    Dear Shuzan,

    I like this volume because these are excerpts from memoirs of the lived experiences of immigrants from diverse countries.  Each week in my cultural issues in ESOL class, we discuss a story and talk about the implications for ESOL instruction. 

    Thanks for sharing,

    Gwendolyn Williams
    Auburn University 
    United States

  • 8.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 14-02-2022 07:50 PM
    On 2022/02/08 at 03:40pm, Shuzhan Li via TESOL International Association wrote:

    > Do you love stories in teaching? What's your favorite story to use in teaching? Would you like to share some stories you use in this forum?

    "Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers" by Marina Budhos.

    I would not say this is my favorite resource, but it is certainly in the
    top 10 or so. I used it for several years in USA public high school ESOL
    classes. It is also a great resource to help non-ESOL teachers understand a
    bit more about the huge variety of immigrant experiences.

    The author's site:

    At Bookshop:

    Chris Spackman (he / him)

    ESOL Coordinator, The Graham Family of Schools
    ESL Educator, Columbus State Community College

    Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (Wajima, Ishikawa 1995-1998)
    Linux user since 1998
    Linux User #137532

  • 9.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 15-02-2022 10:24 PM
    Thank you Shuzan for sharing these. I am actually gonna create a new reading list for me starting with these. I have used stories by Augusto Monterroso here in Honduras with my students. The stories bring some comic relief to the class but they also ignite conversations on identity, values and definitely promote critical thinking.

    I look forward to seeing more titles added as the conversation grows.

    Warm regards,

    Suzanne Rajkumar Action Tesol Caribbean
    Asst. Local Coordinator
    Corporate Bilingual Consultancy

  • 10.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 22-02-2022 02:22 PM
    I am so happy to meet others who use text-based strategies.
    But my absolute favorite picture books for high school and college beginners are the following,
    two of the books are allegories,
    all of them work with dramatization and with having students write A-Book-After-A-Book: (Some can be found being read on Youtube)
    Perfect Square by Michael Hall (2011) published by HarperCollins. Allegorical.
    My People by Langston Hughes (2009) photographically illustrated by Charles E.Smith Jr. published by Simon & Schuster
    Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane Evans published by Square Fish (2015)
    Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (2004) published by HRP.  Allegorical.

    I published a book on 'Teaching Beginner ELLs with Picture Books: Tellability' in 2012. Although the audience was elementary school teachers in the U.S. you may find the free 1st chapter online interesting  

    Ana Lado
    Marymount University

  • 11.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 22-02-2022 03:10 PM
    What terrific discussion. Thank you all for sharing the resources you use in your classrooms! :)

    (The only of these texts I've used in class is "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan, but I now look forward to incorporating some of these others.)

    Christine Nicodemus

    Department Chair- Humanities, Social Sciences, & Fine Arts, Wayne Community College (USA)

  • 12.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 05-12-2022 03:54 PM
      |   view attached
    Dear TESOL friends, to follow up on this thread of conversations around teaching using stories, I'm sharing a short article that I wrote for TESOL Journal. In the article, I described in more detail how I use some of the aforementioned stories to foster a strengths-based approach to teaching multilingual learners. Hope it's helpful to you in your work!

    Shuzhan Li, PhD
    Ithaca College
    Ithaca, NY, USA
    TESOL Membership Professional Council


    Li2022.pdf   1.22 MB 1 version

  • 13.  RE: Stories used in teaching

    Posted 06-12-2022 04:25 AM

    Thank you for sharing these resources. They have come just at a time when we are exploring the applications of translangauaing more deeply in a community of professional development of adult ESOL educators.  Here is an article by TESOL Connections titled "Translanguaging in Bilingual and ESL Classrooms" that may be helpful.

    All the best,

    Ramin Yazdanpanah, PhD
    Past ICIS Chair