“Storytelling” is preached in nearly every Indiana Wesleyan University Communication class, and many classes give students a chance to practice it.
Students in Dr. Greg Fiebig’s Introduction to Human Communication class are introduced to the concept of storytelling through the Voice for the Voiceless project, which encourages students to find someone with a story worth telling, record their story, and share it in class in a compelling way. Students choose individuals, groups and organizations that are underrepresented in some way, or simply are unable to “speak for themselves.” Once the students record their subjects’ stories, they retell them in a variety of intradisciplinary ways, including: the basic speech model, a devised theatrical monologue, a photojournalistic model, the StoryCorps Model, or the documentary film model.
Students in the Fall 2011 class were particularly drawn to the monologues and short documentary films. Monologues included reenacted stories about a teenage mother by Sophomore Ellie Glorioso, a homosexual student by Freshman Jake Doll, and an abused woman from a local woman’s shelter by Junior Emily Carlson. Students edited the stories and retold them as the characters themselves. The monologues afforded the opportunity to tell another’s story and protect their anonymity.
Documentary films captured stories about Al Pritchard, a current IWU student, and his storied past by Freshman Tim Scurlock:
Another project, by Freshman Evan Zrinski, focused on court-Appointed Special Advocates in Grant County:
Other standout projects included photojournalistic stories about Steve Garmon, a local animal control officer by Freshman Kara Heck:
Still one more told of graffiti artists, produced by Senior Paul Mishler.
Students agreed the hardest part of the assignment was editing the compelling stories to fit the three-five minute time constraints. In some cases students spent hours listening to and recording their subjects’ stories. And so, to retell the story in a truncated format was quite challenging.
At the very beginning of their IWU experience the students learning there are stories everywhere, if one is ready to listen and tell them.