||Manitoba is a diverse province in which many groups do not share equally in the rights and privileges of citizenship. This is evident in our school system. Educators, aware of the fact that schools mirror and shape society must reckon with inequality. Schools are one of the few remaining public institutions wherein people are compelled to work together with others who are different from them. This fact offers teachers the opportunity to show students the benefits of a diverse society and help them develop the skills for seeing difference as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle. However, taking advantage of this opportunity requires rethinking how teachers, students, school organization and curriculum interact.
One response to social inequality in schools is the use of storytelling in secondary school classrooms. Because social justice is an end that will only be achieved through practices that are self-consciously just and equitable, storytelling is an effective tool. Storytelling is a form of education that is accessible, near universal, and capable of connecting students across vast differences of ethnicity, religion, culture and class. Storytelling privileges the experiences of students and trains them to think critically about who they are, with whom they live and what insights can be gathered from their own and others’ experiences.
The Manitoba School Improvement Program has sponsored storytelling projects in Winnipeg inner city schools for the past three years. This presentation will detail these projects and explore the implications for curriculum, school administration and teacher education that have arisen from these projects.