Spoken Word is a creative artistic expression and one form of storytelling. Underlying all spoken word is a story about what is being said, why is it being said, and by whom. Spoken Word (also referred to as oral poetry) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoken_word) is occurring in YRDSB and YCDSB schools, and elsewhere in North America.
The Storytelling York Region project now includes YRDSB students using their Spoken Word poetry to create visual representations of their story. A first two-day Spoken Word Digital Storytelling Workshop was held in August 2016 involving nine YRDSB high school students. A second Spoken Word Digital Storytelling Workshop with another eight students will occur March 14-15 2017. Students learn how to compose a visual storyboard for their poem, and create an imovie. They are supported by the energy and advice of Newmarket Apple store Creatives Staff.
Two Spoken Word digital stories are shown here. Two common observations made by students were the additional insights gained about their poetry from using digital storytelling; and the added imagery and impact they thought they achieved when using both artistic forms.
Spoken Word draws inspiration from Hip Hop and other forms of music, using rhythm to create melodies. Spoken Word performances also draw on the traditions of theatre, in terms of theatrics, voice, and use of the body to convey meaning. YRDSB has incorporated Spoken Word Poetry in the work of the Inclusive School and Community Services Department to provide elementary and high school students with an opportunity for an authentic student voice on issues of importance in their lives. Spoken Word has relevance in YRDSB schools because it enables teachers and Board to achieve the following objectives for learning:
- CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY
- SOCIAL JUSTICE
- SOCIO-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
- MEETING THE NEEDS OF ALL LEARNERS—PARTICULARLY THE MARGINALIZED AND SILENCED
Beginning in 2014, Spoken Word has engaged many students who were otherwise not engaged in school, or had not expressed an interest in writing or performing prior to this opportunity. It synthesizes student voice with history, literacy, social justice, relevant and timely current events. By providing an outlet for expression, often about sensitive and personal themes, it has become an important way for students who are struggling with their own issues, mental health, etc. to share this with others, sometimes for the very first time.