| Bookmark and Share

The Storytelling Class


The Storytelling Class

An after-school storytelling project in a diverse, but divided, city school breaks cultural boundaries and creates community.



"An engaging and powerful resource for teaching about breaking cultural boundaries and creating community." Dr. James A. Banks, Chair in Diversity Studies, Founding Director for the Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington-Seattle

Located in Winnipeg's downtown core, Gordon Bell High School is probably the most culturally varied school in the city, with 58 different languages spoken by the student body. Many students are children who have arrived as refugees from various war torn areas of the world.

In an effort to build bridges of friendship and belonging across cultures and histories, teacher Marc Kuly initiated an after-school storytelling project whereby the immigrant students would share stories with their Canadian peers.

The catalyst for this cross-cultural interaction was the students' reading of A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, a memoir of Beah's horrific time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone's civil war.

These voluntary after-school meetings take dramatic turns and reach their climax when Ishmael Beah and professional storyteller Laura Simms travel from New York to work with them. With their help the students learn to listen to each other and find the commonality that so long eluded them.

  •