Article by: Jehan Ara Mueen
I attended a certificate course on Environmental Education at Jordanhill College of Education in 1990, where Steve Bell introduced us to the Storyline methodology. I instantly fell in love with it. Last year at the Storyline Conference in Glasgow, I did not only meet my mentor and friend Steve Bell again ,after 25 years, but got to know lots of friends , who reinvigorated me in my belief that Storyline IS the methodology that creates a most conducive and non-threatening learning environment.
As a teacher trainer, Storyline has been my most favourite technique which I use to enable teachers to get to know the students better and based on this knowledge, create a harmonious learning environment in the classroom, by Learning through Play.
The simple exercise of drawing a character of a 5 year old and giving it attributes, is a great source of learning for a teacher about the child’s inner self in the classroom. With all this knowledge the teacher has now the power to invent and create situations where children participate in their own learning. I always tell teachers that if they could only put the book away, they could do so much more by involving children in the learning process. They can almost be manipulative in triggering the thinking and learnings patterns of the child.
These are turbulent times for the whole world and a lot of rethinking has to go into our education systems. Our hope is the young people in schools and we, the teachers do need to seriously look for strategies that will address the issues at hand on a daily bases. We cannot just wait for governments to make policies. Storyline definitely has the potential and the inherent capacity, to reach out to teachers and students alike in the most creative manner to explore and rethink values and attitudes that would make this world a more tolerant and “human friendly” society.
Steve Bell and Jehan Ara Mueen at the 2015 International Conference in Glasgow
Jehan with Storyline friends at the Civic Reception in Glasgow City Chambers