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RESEARCH AND LECTURING

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Excerpts From Scholarly Research

Published by Patricia Williams Diaw, Ed.D.

Student: I hate this class. I hate certain people. I hate myself. I hate when people talk about me out of the blue. I hate when they just pick on me for no reason. I hate it. I really do. I can't stand  these people in my class. I can't stand them. I wish that this would not last. I wish that it would stop. I hate. I just hate. Please please leave me alone [comment directed to classmates]. 

Student: I personally don't like school because it is boring, just a brunch of drills and it is repetitive. I know I have to use my brain, and I know I have to use it in ways I probably wouldn't want to because I am a creative liberal thinker.  I like to question a lot of stuff and at school you can't really question anything.  It is just, that is what it is, nothing else.

Findings of Dr. Diaw's Qualitative Research Study

A preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that as a model to teach narrative writing, storytelling has an inspirational influence on students' writing experiences. The young writer is motivated to begin the writing process, and to expend time and invest effort in learning to write....The research documents the effectiveness of storytelling in the middle school language arts classroom, particularly as it influences writing instruction for both affective and cognitive domains of learning.


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Case Study:

 The Influence of Storytelling as Prewriting

Activity (in the Writing Process) on Narrative Writing in the

 No Child Left Behind Learning Environment  

by Diaw, Patricia Williams, Ed.D., Saint

Joseph's University, 2009, 134 pages 

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Abstract (Summary) 

This qualitative study examines a model of constructivist pedagogy centered on storytelling as prewriting activity in the writing process so familiar to language arts teachers in the state of Pennsylvania. Using the case study methodology, storytelling's influence is inspected as a precursor to narrative writing in a public middle school setting with the intent of profiling best practices for the instruction of writing. The similarity between oral and written stories depicts storytelling as a tool to instruct narrative writing and improve students' writing skills.  

The researcher visited the eighth grade language arts classroom on six separate occasions and told a story to three groups of students (i.e., 25 students in the first period language arts class, 25 students in the second period class, and 12 students in the third period class). After each storytelling presentation, students were invited to write (15-20 minutes) and submit writing samples. Subsequently, students voluntarily edited, shared, revised, proofread and presented their writings. 

Multiple forms of data inform this study: 14 observations (5 observations by outside observer), 3 focus group interviews, 5 interviews with the language arts teacher, 104 writing samples, and 98 questionnaires (44 pre questionnaires and 54 post questionnaires). Grounded theory analysis is applied in the study. There were three findings. First, eighth grade language arts students enjoy storytelling and are inspired to express thoughts and feelings in narrative writing. Second, storytelling inspires students to engage in the constructivist writing process; and third, through interactive storytelling, knowledge of self and the world is discovered. 

A preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that as a model to teach narrative writing, storytelling has an inspirational influence on students' writing experiences. The young writer is motivated to begin the writing process, and to expend time and invest effort in learning to write. Storytelling provides insights that enhance skill and self-confidence in writing. Thus, storytelling is recognized as provocative prewriting activity in the constructivists writing process. The research documents the effectiveness of storytelling in the middle school language arts classroom, particularly as it influences writing instruction for both affective and cognitive domains of learning.

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