Reflective Learning Narrative
The major questions to ask is why storytelling is so important, how do stories share and reflect cultures, does the audience and context matter. How do our readings show different cultures and how the stories from our readings show each culture’s understanding of what is considered good or bad behaviors and values?
Storytelling is the passing down of different stories, poems, chants, rhymes, songs, or any kind of lessons or origins that have been passed down through generation after generation. These stories were specifically passed down through oral tradition, which means “telling a story through voice and gestures” (Society). Each of these stories shares different myths, legends, fables, religion, from different cultures and even prayers, proverbs, and instructions. Examples of how story telling is important to different cultures is from National Geographic Society article, this source shows examples from Native American tribes like the Choctaw. The Choctaw uses storytelling to protect and carry on their tribe’s history and lessons to future generations. Specifically, the Choctaw use origin stories or Pourquoi Tales, which are stories that explain why something is the way it is, like why there are mountains or why the moon changes “shape”. Another example is from our readings “Why the Worms are Blind and Why the Elephant has Small Eyes” this is a Pourquoi Tale that explains how worms became blind, by giving his eyes to an elephant who lost his by trading them for food, this gives an explanation for how the elephant have small eyes when they are so big.
For every story I do believe that the context and intended audience does play a factor in how a person should tell a story, or what the plot is, and certain details that should be added or removed to create different version that are relatable and understood in certain places or cultures where the story is being told. Example, our readings of the four different versions of the story “The Little Red Hen”. Each version teaches the same lesson of hard work and the consequences of one’s action, but in different ways. In one version of the “Little Red Hen” is the most traditional version of the story, the hen worked hard to plant, water, and gather the grain she planted, then she and her children got the reward at the end and the other animals did not. With version two it is similar, but the story line changes at the end, the next time the lazy animals help. Also, the language in this version of the story was a little harsher compared to the first version. The third version was completely different in that the language of the story, the language was blunt and straightforward, which came from the way the story was written, but also the way the story was read aloud differently compared to the first two versions. Lastly the fourth version ending was completely different to the other 3 versions, in that the animals all got a piece of bread without work. The reasons why the stories are different from each other is that the stories were meant to reach different audiences in different cultures. What I mean by this is that one version might be understood better, version four might be understood better in the UK but here in the US, version three might be understood better.
The plot and how a story is told makes a big difference when considering different cultures. What I mean by this is that in different cultures, to be able to reach the audience that you want you need to consider their culture. When you consider the audience’s culture you can make sure that the message that you are trying to tell or teach is fully understood. A good example of this is from the article Storytelling Is A Different Story for Each Culture by Isaac Mizrahi, he is a businessman and wants to help others when you are marketing to different culture, but he specifically used an example from his own life marketing to the Hispanics. Mizrahi stated that you had to consider the narrative and its content because people will react differently, the reason why is because a person’s culture has an impact on how they will react to certain thing and situations. Mizrahi did this when marketing a two-way walkie talkie service, their tagline or slogan was “Done and was focused on the fact that Nextel’s two-way push-to-talk technology allowed businesses to run smoothly and accomplish more, fast” (Mizrahi), which did not resonate with the Hispanic consumers. At first his team did not consider that this kind of bluntness or coldness was not a part of Hispanic culture. The team then changed the name to something that was more empathetic and resonated more to the Hispanic consumers.
Stories are very important, and I think that Robyn Fivush made a very great point when she said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” (Fivush). Knowledge of one’s family or history is very important to culture and like what Fivush said “to form one’s identity”. Being apart of a group that understands your culture and help people grow as people. Also, stories and storytelling according to Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona helps with five things, “Stories help us develop empathy, Stories give cognitive and emotional significance to experience, Stories enhance our creativity and help us think beyond the here and now, Stories keep us connected in social networks, which builds and shapes our brain, and Stories unlock the mysteries of psychophysical suffering that declarative facts cannot reveal” (Mehl-Madrona). Stories were made to help the next generation to learn from the experiences of people from the past, but I also developed them as a person too. The next generations will learn to look at things from a different perspective, it also helps with communication when they are telling a story and helps them understand other emotions and understanding one’s values and morals. Another thing to consider is that stories are a way that the culture values will be communicated to a big amount of people at one time.
In conclusion, stories and storytelling are very crucial and essential to all cultures, Stories help generation after generation learn lesson, morals, and their family’s history. When writing or creating something you need to take in account the audience you are trying to reach and context of the message and or story you are trying to tell to make sure that the audience fully understanding the points made. During our first units’ readings each one showed examples of different cultures and how each story can help the audience learn and help them with understanding their culture values and moral, or what is considered good or bad behavior.
Corson-Knowles, Tom. “Stories Matter: Why Stories Are Important to Our Lives and Culture.” TCK Publishing (n.d.).
Fivush, Robyn. “Cultural stories provide roots for growth.” Psychology Today ( 2017). article.
Heathfield, David. “Storytelling to celebrate cultural diversity.” BBC (n.d.).
Mehl-Madrona, Dr Lewis. ” Sharing Culture.” Aboriginal Healing (2014).
Mizrahi, Isaac. “Storytelling Is A Different Story For Each Culture.” CMO Network (2019).
Puchner, Martin. “How stories have shaped the world.” BBC (2018).
Society, National Geographic. “Storytelling and Cultural Traditions.” natioanl geographic (2020).
Yang, Dori Jones. “Writing From Other Cultural Perspectives Encourages Empathy and Understanding.” Writer’s Digest (2017).
Question: How do stories share and reflect cultures and why, to who, or what contexts does it matter? How do our readings show different cultures responding to what is understood “good” (behavior or values)
Sources/ Articles for Project
Summary: This source is all about storytelling, what it is and examples of cultures like the Native American Tribe Choctaw that use this and it’s significance. This Source focuses on the tradition of oral storytelling.
Author: National Geographic Society
Reflection: I think that the most interesting point that this source made is that Hawaiian storytelling is not just limited to telling a story but it also includes song and dance. I think it is interesting to learn about different cultures and how they tell their stories or pass down traditions. I think this source helps give me examples of how specific cultures use storytelling, this is also why others should read this source.
Summary: This source is about how people’s cultures can impact how they react to the plot and narrative of the story, But this source is specific to marketing and it specifically to the Hispanics. Gives real like examples that happened to Mizrahi in his career, and how storytelling is different for different cultures.
Audience: Marketers, Business
Author: IsaacMizrahi, he is a marketing executive who spent my 29-plus career years working with brands like Coca-Cola, and Sprint. He has been focused on multicultural marketing for the past 15 years, but over the past decade. Healso serve at the board of directors of the Culture Marketing Council – The Voice of Hispanic Marketing, the organization that represents our industry
Reflection: An interesting point that is source made is when it states “But it’s not just what stories they choose to tell that transmit culture, it’s how they choose to tell them”. I thought this is a very interesting way to think about storytelling. I think that this source would be good for some who are wanting to go into business/marketing to help think about how culture can impact how you should tell a story.
Summary: This source gives many points on why storytelling is very important.
Audience: Blog readers
Author: Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Reflection: The points that I thought were interesting were “Stories give cognitive and emotional significance to experience”. And “Stories enhance our creativity and help us think beyond the here and now.” I don’t think I thought of storytelling this way and it is a good insight for others who read this article.
Summary: This source gives specific examples of the benefits of storytelling, also it answers these questions “ Why is storytelling such a critical part of every tradition? Why is it important and meaningful to keep these stories alive?”
Author: Robyn Fivush, Ph.D. is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Developmental Psychology at Emory University and the director of the Family Narratives Lab.
Reflection: I think an interesting point that this source gives is when it states “Our knowledge of our family and group identity gives us nourishment and helps us grow”. That is a different way to think of stories and storytelling. I think this source is good for anyone looking for an example of why storytelling is good for sharing other cultures
Summary: This source gives specific examples of stories that have shaped the world.
Audience: Anyone, students
Reflection: This is a good source for anyone looking for real life example of how stories have changed or shaped the world.
Summary: This source explains the reason why stories are so important.
Audience: Anyone that is interested in why stories are so important, students
Author: Tom Corson-Knowles
Reflection: The most interesting point that this source made was when it states “But we now live in the fast-paced information age, where information, concepts, and ideas continuously bombard us from every direction. Do stories really matter to us anymore?” I think that this is a really good question to think about in today’s times. This source helped me understand how big an impact stories have on us. Others should read this because it gives a good insight on the impact of stories.
Summary: This source gives reasons why to read different works from different cultures.
Author: Dori Jones Yang,is a former BusinessWeek bureau chief in Hong Kong and author of seven books, including her newest, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball (SparkPress, August 15, 2017).
Reflection: this source gives the point that writers can write about other cultures even though they are not from that specific culture. They do this by research, and their imagination. This source give a good perspective from a writer’s viewpoint
Summary: This source gives the importance of teaching different cultures and why storytelling is a good way to do that.
Author: David Heathfield is a storyteller and English teacher. Find more ideas in his teacher resource book Spontaneous Speaking: Drama Activities for Confidence and Fluency (DELTA Publishing).
Reflection: The few points that this article givesis that storytelling is a good insight to different cultures and it is good for the student’s to exchange the stories. I think this source is a good choice for a teacher to read.
Stories used from our readings :
- https://www.shortkidstories.com/story/little-red-hen/ (All versions)
Every one of these sources brings a different perspective of how stories share and reflect other cultures and why the audience and the context of the stories are important. Also, it gives examples of how different cultures learn to understand what a good behavior or value is. For the secession of sources, I wanted some real-life examples of how storytelling is important to culture so that is why I picked sources like the first one. Specifically, this source shows how the storytelling by oral tradition was important to multiple cultures. I also wanted to share why it is important to read different works from different places and cultures like with source number 7, this shows why it is important. I also want to share the importance of why teaching about different cultures is so important so that is why I added source number 8.