Telling a story is an essential tool for being human. Storytelling has been described as an aspect of the social self that helps shape relationships through the power of words. This chapter examines the role of digital personal narratives in the schooling of middle grades English language learners (ELLs) in one middle school in a rural, Northeast state. The ELL students, their teacher, and the author engaged in a digital story project, which was part of a literacy unit that took place over a period of six months in an intermediate English classroom of 14 students. Using the This I Believe (TIB) national curriculum that focuses on the core values that guide daily lives, the ELL students narrated their own stories. The author argues for the use of such stories in institutions where the preparation of future professionals, such as teachers, social workers, and counselors grapple with the meaning of cultural competency skills and its implications for their fields. How might such institutions embrace and integrate more student voices? How might such stories inform pedagogy? As a result of the project, the author developed a model that could utilize these digital narratives to develop cultural competency in a preservice teacher education program. Such stories could become part of a larger agenda of meaningful activities for preservice teachers related to the areas of (1) digital storytelling, (2) response to literature, (3) service learning and research, and (4) critical reflection.
Reyes, C. (2012), "“This I Believe”: Addressing Cultural Competency with the Digital Narratives of Middle Grades English Language Learners", Miller, F. (Ed.) Transforming Learning Environments: Strategies to Shape the Next Generation (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 171-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3660(2012)0000016012Download as .RIS
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