Professional storyteller Liz Weir led two presentations and a workshop with our Year 7 students, telling them stories and enabling them to create their own. She also took part in a question and answer session as she outlined her career and inspirations. She has travelled all around the world, including Canada, Australian and Russia, telling stories to audiences as diverse as pre-schoolers and centenarians.
She said: ‘I grew up in a family where people told stories. When I left university I became a librarian and they told me that one of the things that you have to do was to tell stories so I was really nervous and shy reading stories and I discovered that when you put the book down and just tell the story you get better attention. For years now I have been going around the world telling stories and there is more need than ever. So many young people are growing up with no conversation at home as everybody is on their electronic devices or watching televison.
‘I grew up at a time when you sat around the table and talked so I really worry that young people aren’t visualising and seeing pictures in their head. To be a writer you really need to imagine. That is my role in life. Children really need their vocabulary extended. I was working with young people now getting them to develop the story and pan the story out because story telling is a great way to lead into creative writing. The child who has nothing to talk about has nothing to write about so you need to start with the spoken word.
'I get my inspiration from people I meet and I tell a lot of traditional stories and children are bringing in stories from different backgrounds. When you tell a story from someone else’s background you are showing that person respect and part of being at school is to promote listening skills. It is extending their talking and listening skills and sharpening their imaginations. The students here have been brilliant, they have been very well behaved and the ones I worked with came up with some fantastic ideas.’