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There are few greater human experiences than connecting with someone through the power of a good story. We tell our friends and loved ones stories all the time. We laugh, we joke, we cry. Telling stories is what makes us human.
But telling stories in a foreign language can seem scary and difficult.
What if you make a mistake? What if you forget the right word? What if you get stuck?
I wanted to address this problem head-on, so for our members-only session in February the theme was storytelling.
Before the event, everyone was asked to prepare three different stories:
- One true story from your life
- One true story from your life with one detail changed
- One invented story
We then split up into small groups. Everyone told one of their stories, and everyone else needed to guess whether it was 100% true, partially true, or completely invented.
For many people, it was the first time that they had really told a story in English. It's not exactly something that people are asked to do in an English class, but it's such a fundamental part of being a good communicator in any language.
It was amazing to see the results of this. I joined all of the groups and listened to some wonderful stories. I heard tales of escapes from fires, snakes in ponds, traditional Czech dances, Polish road adventures, and near-death experiences on bicycles.
I also told plenty of my own stories (why does nobody believe I can play the bagpipes? I can!), including incidents with an elderly lady in Lille and a discussion with the Italian ambassador about Brexit.
It was a lot of fun, but most importantly it was brilliant to see how people grew in confidence as the event went on. Being in a group of friendly and similar-minded English learners is really important, and is very helpful with building up confidence.
It's certainly a format that we will repeat!
If you're a member of Leonardo English, keep a lookout for the next session.
And if you're not yet a member but you'd like to join in the fun, I'd love for you to check out our membership options.