Stories and More… by Ms Kusumika Chatterjee
On Saturday 6th August 2016, Mahatma Education Society’s, Dr Pillai Global Academy, New Panvel, hosted a storytelling session workshop, ‘Stories and More…’, in association with Helen O’ Grady International. The workshop was conducted by Legendary Story Teller, Ms Kusumika Chatterjee, an internationally acclaimed storyteller and a world renowned educator based in U.K. She is also a Queen’s award winner and has been working as a successful educator for the last four decades in UK and has travelled around the world to teach people how to use storytelling as a tool; to provide essential education and learning.
The heavy rains and downpour couldn’t deter the enthusiastic participants to reach early in the morning at 9.00 a.m. for this cherish able literary event and around 100 school teachers and teacher trainees from Navi Mumbai and Mumbai participated with great pleasure for the session. The event began with words of warm welcome by Ms Namrata Saxena, Curriculum Head, Early Years Programme, Mahatma Education Society. She shared the progressive mission and vision of Mahatma Education Society and thus remarked them for constantly being pioneers of change and steering academic excellence and drew attention towards the growing importance of story-telling across the world among educators to incorporate story-telling to learning various themes and vision. Vice Principal, Dr Pillai Global Academy, Ms Shraddha Sardesai. Ms Shraddha addressed the gathering and expressed joy on being part of this story telling session and appreciated the revival of story-telling sessions by Ms Kusumika for bringing back the lost personal touch in teaching in todays’ times of technological era. Ms Kusumika was then felicitated with floral tribute and a shawl as a token of respect and appreciation by Ms Shraddha after a brief introduction of Ms Kusumika. Mr Krishna Kurup, Director of 7i Creative Educators, the master franchisee of Helen O’ Grady, Navi Mumbai and Kerala, introduced Ms Kusumika and spoke about the grand literary legacy bestowed on Ms Kusumika with her name being kept by none other than revered Rabindranath Tagore himself. He also informed about her mother being one among the first batch of Shanti Niketan. With this he shared the passion of Ms Kusumika going across the world with her story-telling sessions with each session being equally zestful and energetic.
With this the most awaited session began and the audience was thrilled at the expressive narration of stories by Ms Kusumika who brought the stories to life one after other with her excellent gestures and voice modulations well interspersed with music and actions. She enthralled the audience with her magical command over the art of story-telling by creating the dramatic spell-bound atmosphere for each story.From beginning with ‘Once upon a time’ to ending with ‘and they lived happily ever after’, storytelling is an art” said noted storyteller Kusumika Chatterjee. Adding that storytelling is an important tool of education, she said it must be included in the curriculum for teachers’ training.”Storytelling is a stepping stone to learning. It can help children enjoy and better understand what they are studying,” she said.”In today’s media-soaked environment loaded with television and mobile apps, storytelling alone can help in the mental growth of children,” she added.
In the workshop the participants learnt that simple hand gestures and facial expression can animate a story and make it alive to the listener, they also learnt that small handmade props can create wonders when combined with artfully told stories. Grammar teaching also came alive so easily and naturally with those stories as she taught the teachers of connecting language development with stories. The audience was seen swinging in action in sync with Kusumika, performing for the story to come alive. The story-telling session came to an end with its participants glued to the chairs, mesmerized in awe of the story-telling session. The session ended with participant views where many of them joyfully expressed their thanks for getting to hear Ms Kusumika and they mentioned of this workshop being eye-opening for them as teachers to get insight into the diverse ways of story-telling in the classrooms.
In her vote of thanks, Ms. Namrata thanked Ms. Kusumika for her mesmerizing story-telling session. At this point, CEO and Chairman of Mahatma Education Society, Dr. K. M. Vasudevan Pillai graced the occasion too and addressed the gathering on the effectiveness and importance of story-telling for little children in their growing years for learning about the big questions in life and more. As a token of gratitude he presented Ms. Kusumika Chatterjee with a souvenir and also a signed copy of his self-authored book ‘EduNation- The Dream of An India empowered’. The book is a treasury of insights for Indian educators, policy makers, and custodians of the key education sector. The event thus came to a closure with participants capturing memories with Ms. Kusumika to cherish for life.