Rebecca Lemaire

21st Century Skills and Storytelling: Get your students communicating!

In these times of uncertainty, stories, imagination and creativity are key for our students to find their way forward. When planning activities, how can we give our students a voice and move away from competition? Rebecca presents practical and adaptable storytelling activities for all ages which help our students practice 21st century skills. Come ready to talk and improvise!


Most of human communication happens through stories. Students of all ages love them and can start storytelling from Elementary upwards if we guide them. In this workshop the participants will explore the advantages of including storytelling in general, and oral storytelling specifically, into their English classes. They will participate in example activities based on the stories told and will determine how these relate to and encourage the acquisition of the core skills or 21st century skills. The activities presented and the ideas behind these activities (fostering creativity and imagination, collaboration, citizenship, empathy, etc.) can be adapted to readings and listenings in textbooks. Participants will alternate between playing the role of students in an English class and of teachers reflecting on the activities.

1. Introduction: How is the ancient form of oral storytelling relevant in the 21st century?

Participants listen to an example of oral storytelling and reflect on the advantages before feedback: Einstein and Krashen's opinions, sense of community, empathy and classroom management, direct emotions, etc.

Participants reflection: How can we adapt this to a written story or a text from our textbooks?

2. Activities and the 21st skills they foster: participants play the role of students for each activity/story example and subsequently reflect on which core skills they have used or are being fostered.

Interactive stories: predictions, 1 minute role plays, etc. during the story.

Exploring the story activities: emotion charts, a character's point of view, freezing or sketching a scene, writing a dialogue, etc.

Stepping outside the story activities: creating dialogues not included in the story, inventing a continuation to the story, how to use discussion questions which encourage critical thinking, imagination, and which give students a voice, etc.

3. Where to find stories – Krashen bank of stories, websites, youtube, etc.

4. Conclusions, questions and final reflections: “Which of the above activities can I use in my classes and how can they be adapted?”, “Which activity will I do next week?”


Rebecca is an English teacher, teacher trainer and storyteller. She has been teaching EFL for fifteen years and is the founder of the project ‘Storytelling for English Learners’. She is currently studying for a Masters degree in Linguistics and ELT. Her other passions, which are music, mindfulness and healing arts enrich her classes and training sessions with a fresh creativity.