Children are surrounded by stories from the time they are born, and they quickly become true storytellers if they have people (adults and other children of all ages) around them to listen and respond to their stories as stories and not as a way of teaching the rules of language. However, when adults and children create stories together the grammar of language is used naturally. We can teach the langauge and use of grammar to children through their own stories. We can do this from a very early age.
Storytelling in its way can have just as much complexity as music or mathematics. That we don’t really understand this craft – or that this is a craft – is partly because of the romantic myth of “inspiration” peddled by authors as much as anyone. It is taught (up to a point) in creative writing degrees – but it can be simplified enough to be taught to schoolchildren as well. Why, for instance, is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt such a compelling story? And what has it got to do with stories like Macbeth? (And yes, it does have something in common – all stories do.)
This is a fascinating, fruitful subject – and to a large extent, quantifiable. We should incorporate it into the curriculum in a way that will satisfy both sides of the debate. In this way, there can be a happy ending to what has so far been a very sad story.
Here is a link to an article about the value of teaching / allowing children the time and space to make up their own stories. Tim Lott, The Guardian, May 19 2017