Corona: Online storytelling
When schools and universities in Italy were forced to close as a result of the Corona pandemic, many initiatives were launched to shift teaching and learning to the Internet. In this field, the L3S Research Centre has been working for many years with the Department of Languages and Literature, Communication, Education and Society at the University of Udine. Language seminars for prospective English teachers are now using digital methods that have been developed together with L3S in recent years. These include the YELL/TELL online community for educators as part of the LearnWeb environment developed by L3S. The community enables the exchange of materials and methods for teaching and learning languages.
One of the latest developments in YELL/TELL is the Storytelling Special Interest Group (SIG), which focuses on the importance of storytelling for an early approach to English as a foreign language. It includes a number of teacher training initiatives, including the Let’s Tell a Tale series of events heldin Udine’s libraries before the Corona crisis. The storytellers were students for the primary school teaching profession. Over the years, hundreds of children and their families listened to the stories in English. After the closure of schools and libraries, the YELL (Young English Language Learners) website was transformed into a virtual storytelling space. The storytellers recorded their stories on video; children can access the site and have the stories told at home. Another website offers the online course Tell me a tale, which is aimed at teachers, student teachers and caregivers who want to use storytelling as a motivating tool for early language learning. All virtual spaces are openly accessible and help teachers, children and their families to bridge social distance through storytelling.
Professor Maria Bortoluzzi and primary school teacher Elisa Bertoldi are organising the Storytelling SIG at the University of Udine as part of the wider Storytelling in English L2 project.