Once upon a time, not so long ago, Geeta Ramanujam was a social studies teacher at The Valley School, Bangalore. Fascinated by stories, Geeta turned her classes into inter-disciplinary sessions. History was not taught simply by dates, names, and battles. They became adventure tales with a lot of excitement thrown in. Geeta’s classes were a hit. But the management thought otherwise. They deemed it unconventional and asked her to take charge of the library.
This did not stop Geeta from telling stories. The story-telling sessions continued in the school bus trips and in the library. She started something called story time aimed at instilling in the children a desire to read. “There were so many lovely books that hardly had any takers. Story time was to help motivate the child to read. My story-telling session continued during the library hours,” recalls Geeta, Executive Director and co-founder of Kathalaya, a story-telling academy.
And one day, a parent who happened to listen to one of Geeta’s sessions invited her to conduct a similar one in Bangalore. “This was in 1996; my first workshop. There was a huge response and for the first time I began thinking of doing something on my own. I quit my school job and in 1998 with two other teachers decided to start Kathalaya Trust with a goal to establish storytelling as an effective and cultural tool in all sphere of life and learning,” says Geeta, who was in the city to launch the first Kathalaya centre in the State at The Little Legend, nursery and pre-school, Chambakkara.
The institution conducts orientation and awareness workshops, advanced workshops in story-telling for teachers, parents, NGOs, tribals, artists, corporates and others. It offers certificate and diploma courses in story-telling and training sessions for teachers and professionals across the world.
Story-telling is a communication process that involves listening and speaking. “When these fall in place reading and writing will fall in place. Stories open up emotions and activate the imagination. It is all about going deep into oneself, bringing to the fore the emotional and intellectual quotient. It is proved to be an effective tool to address issues.”
More at: http://m.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/the-stories-continue/article7329579.ece