Tom Hutchinson, co-author of Network, talks about the benefits of using storylines in English language teaching.
A prominent feature of the new Oxford American English course, Network, is the use of a storyline. Just as with a TV drama, we see episodes in the lives of a group of characters who frequent Cindy and Ryan’s cafe, Cozy Cup. What’s the idea behind this approach?
A storyline has many advantages in the language classroom:
1. Stories have a natural attraction for us, because they help to make events meaningful. This is such a strong instinct in us, that we even create stories out of otherwise unconnected events. Take these four sentences, for example:
- The ball sailed through the air.
- There was a loud crash.
- Glass flew everywhere.
- Bob and Marcie looked at each other.
There is, in fact, no link between these sentences – no reference, no connecting words, no repetition of words. And yet, nobody reads them as four separate sentences. You naturally create a story out of them in your own mind. Continue reading