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Discourse in Storytelling

m.steinfeld's picture

I really enjoyed doing the activity with everyone during our storytelling presentation. When we created the activity we knew it would be interesting but I was excited to see what everyone came up with (in such little time). All the presentations were so different in medium, style, content and presentation. They all showed something different about the individuals in the group and what was important to each of them. It got me thinking back to Gee and his ideas of discourse. While all the presentations were different they all seemed to fit the standard discourse we have in academia, rather than a discourse that would have been found in a place like Ghana.  What I mean is we have all been told stories throughout our lives, we have acquired (to use Gee’s word) a certain way to tell stories. They are through pictures or narrative and they all come from the narrator. We saw that in Ghana many stories involve movement from everyone or call and response, and those stories were not presented in our classroom. If they were it would have been a learned practice and the class would have been more aware of the choices they were making to tell their story in that way. I am now realizing even more how much our own discourses determine not only how we interact but also how we tell stories about ourselves (to bring in Rob’s class and Narrativity to tell about who we are). Our discourse determines how those stories look and the way they are told. Is it so crazy to ask us to step outside of our own discourse to tell our story? Perhaps it is.