Participation in Storytelling Settings – Multimodal Approaches in Multilingual Education

Submitted by: Natascha Naujok
Abstract: Keywords: Multilingual Education, Multimodality, Mimesis, Participation, Storytelling

The presentation focusses on the research project Erzählbrücken (Narrative Bridges) which reconstructs the chances of multimodal storytelling for multilingual education (Naujok 2018). Erzählbrücken convoyed an independently developed storytelling project which took place in four so-called welcome classes in a Berlin primary school. (In Berlin, shortly immigrated children usually start school in classes, which are installed only for them and have half as many pupils as regular classes.) From February until July 2017, once a week, each of these classes enjoyed a storytelling session with a certified storyteller. The stories were performed in German language, with intense modulation, accompanied by strong facial expression, by different kinds of gesture and move, using pictures and objects – briefly: multimodally. In each week following a storytelling event each pupil drew a picture in relation to the story they had heard and at the beginning of the following session everyone presented her/his picture in front of the group.
The research questions concerning this whole context are: How do the pupils participate in the storytelling phases and how do they cope with the picture presentations? How do they deal with the different modalities in these contexts? What are the chances in these settings? Crucial theoretical concepts of the study are those of multimodality, of participation, and of holistic, (syn)aesthetic, mimetic, and dialogic learning (e.g. Spinner 2008, Wulf 2014). The research project has an ethnographic and reconstructive focus. Field observations (recorded in writing), videographies (to be transcribed including multimodal aspects), and pupils’ works (copies) were collected and get analysed mainly leaning on interpretative, multimodal interaction analysis (e.g. Schmitt 2015).
The study reconstructs that the pupils experienced the storytelling not only listening, but watching, moving, and acting themselves. It reveals that they were able to present their pictures from the very beginning. And it shows, that and how multimodal storytelling in a second (third, forth, …) language allows pupils to enter a story, a language, and a culture which are new to them – all at the same time. In this complex context, it becomes obvious that and how multimodality allows participation.

Naujok, N. (2018). Erzählbrücken – Szenisches Erzählen für neu zugewanderte Kinder und das unterstützende Potenzial von Literalität. In: Leseforum Schweiz – Literalität in Forschung und Praxis, H. 2/2018, pp. 1-17. URL:
Schmitt, R. (2015). Positionspapier: Multimodale Interaktionsanalyse. In: Dausendschön-Gay, U./ Gülich, E./ Krafft, U. (Eds.), Ko-Konstruktionen in der Interaktion. Die gemeinsame Arbeit an Äußerungen und anderen sozialen Ereignissen. Bielefeld: transkript, pp. 43-51.
Spinner, K. (2008). Perspektiven ästhetischer Bildung. Zwölf Thesen. In: Vorst, C./ Grosser, S./ Eckhardt, J./ Burrichter, R. (Eds.), Ästhetisches Lernen. Frankfurt a.M. u.a.: Peter Lang, pp. 9-23.
Wulf, C. (2014). Mimesis. Kulturelles Lernen als mimetisches Lernen. In: Pantazis, V.E./ Stork, M. (Eds.), Ommasin alois. Festschrift für Professor Ioannis E. Theodoropoulos zum 65. Geburtstag. Essen: Oldib, pp. 391-406.