Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

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momofgreatones
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:00 pm

Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by momofgreatones » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:30 pm

Hi ladies,

So my hubby asked me to define for him exactly what the benefits/reasons are behind the CM philosphy of narration as a primary method of comprehension and assessment of knowledge, rather than using the standard system of comprehension questions and tests. When I tried to answer him, I found myself trailing off rather lamely and not able to articulate what I wanted to say. :? I realized I don't really know the answer myself. I do know that it helps the child think about the information in their mind and how to present it, and can also help with careful attention since they know they are required to retell back. I haven't read much of Charlotte Mason's books so I don't know if I'm fully educated on the concept. When I read that great thread a while back that had examples of Carrie's and Julie's sons' narrations, I know my impressions were that it was obvious the boys were very articulate and intelligent. But I can't put my finger on exactly what it is or how to define it. Am I making any sense here? :roll:

Would anyone like to share with me their "in a nutshell" explanation of the rationale behind narration, so I can sound like I know what I'm talking about when I tell people about our educational approach? :wink:

Thanks!
Monique

dd 18 graduated!
dd 16 studying for CLEPs
dd 14 Studying for CLEPs
ds 12 CTC with extensions
ds 10 Bigger Hearts
dd 8 Bigger Hearts
dd 4 Little Hands to Heaven
dd 2 Little Hands to Heaven

John'smom
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by John'smom » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:34 pm

Would this thread help? Oops, now that I re-read your post, you may have already seen that thread. Sorry. :oops:
Edwena
*Married to my best friend for 16 yrs
*Mom to ds (15), dd (13), dd #2(3)
*Combining my dc in WG (2017-2018)
*Completed and absolutely loved BLHFHG through MTMM

John'smom
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by John'smom » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:39 pm

Me again. :oops: I know this thread talks about narration and higher levels of thinking. I believe it hits on why narration and not just using your typical fill-in-the-blank answers.
Edwena
*Married to my best friend for 16 yrs
*Mom to ds (15), dd (13), dd #2(3)
*Combining my dc in WG (2017-2018)
*Completed and absolutely loved BLHFHG through MTMM

countrymom
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by countrymom » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:23 am

(Link to another company's website removed per board rules by moderator). I will also add that when you study learning and the brain, narration is a huge component for learning and brain development. If you are familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy (you can google it) you can see the lower levels primarily deal with memorizing and spitting out, but have nothing to do with processing. It is only when we begin to process the material that we can truly learn and gain from it. Here are my cut and pastes:

Charlotte Mason believed that children are able to deal with ideas and knowledge, that they are not blank slates or empty sacks to be filled with information. She thought children should do the work of dealing with ideas and knowledge, rather than the teacher acting as a middle man, dispensing filtered knowledge. A Charlotte Mason education includes first-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, and through art, music and poetry.
Narration on every single reading--this is so important! I see much better retention, better interaction with the book, greater interest in the story, improved language skills, and better understanding of the material.
Narration, or oral composition, utilizes many mental functions. Each time your child narrates, he is mentally composing his thoughts and communicating through words. Many specific comprehension skills are learned through narration - sequencing, main idea, details - and it's also good practice in listening and in speaking skills. Narration - your child telling back what he's heard or read - is perhaps the most important key to making this kind of education work. Narration requires the higher-level mental activities of processing, sorting, sequencing, sifting and articulating information. Filling in blanks in a workbook can't match narration as a comprehension exercise. Oral narration is also the first step toward composition - the child becomes adept at articulating his thoughts in order, which is required in writing. Thoughts should be formulated in the mind before they are put on paper. Although simply 'telling back' is the most focused form of narration and probably the most challenging to the mental processes we are seeking to develop, some parents occasionally break up the usual routine by using other forms of narration, such as acting out, playing out, or drawing what children have heard.
Countrymom
Wife to J
Big J - LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, Rev to Rev, Modern Missions, beginning parts of World Geography
Little J - LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, working in CTC

momofgreatones
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by momofgreatones » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:49 pm

Thanks for the info. Very helpful!
Monique

dd 18 graduated!
dd 16 studying for CLEPs
dd 14 Studying for CLEPs
ds 12 CTC with extensions
ds 10 Bigger Hearts
dd 8 Bigger Hearts
dd 4 Little Hands to Heaven
dd 2 Little Hands to Heaven

tnahid
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Location: Texas

Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by tnahid » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:09 pm

Yes, thank you! I have one son who is doing very well at narration and another son who is a "just the facts, Mam," kind of boy. It is a bit more difficult to get him to expound on the details in a story in a coherent way. He likes to "take notes" while I read and then he wants to just tell me the facts and details of the story in a list form! What is with this? :x :) Anyway, is this telling me something about him or what? He LOVES to listen to the read-alouds though. Any thoughts on this?
Tina
ds 11 -- DITHOR 4/5 and other curriculum
ds 9 -- Preparing and DITHOR
dd 5 -- 1st grade variety of curriculum
Wife of a loving DH 12 years
starting our 4th year of home education, 3rd year of HOD and DITHOR, so blessed...what a journey!

Carrie
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by Carrie » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:32 am

momofgreatones,

This is such an important question! I know that it has been answered and discussed quite a bit on the board, but I'll try to summarize it in one place which will be of great help! :D

In the Appendix of the guides from Bigger Hearts on up, we include a Teacher's List and a Student's List for Oral Narration Tips (which are basically steps on how to do an oral narration). At the beginning of our oral narration tips list, it says:

When children narrate, they tell back in their own words what they have just read or heard. It allows them to share their own version of the passage with accuracy, individual personality, spirit, and originality. :D

Narrating is an essential skill in life. To be able to give an opinion of a book, relay a telephone message, summarize a letter, give driving directions, write an article, or share a doctor's instructions - are all examples of practical applications of narration skills. Narrating is an important skill to learn. You can begin to teach your children to narrate by following the steps listed below. Just be patient, and have fun with it! Narration is a way of life.
:D

Then, the Appendix of our guides from Bigger Hearts on up give step-by-step guidance for both parent and child on how to go about learning this important skill. Many keys to narration are shared throughout the teacher's list, so be sure to read those! :D

Here are a few CM quotes that more fully explain the reasoning behind narration:
Things that we read only become knowledge as we assimilate it, as our mind acts upon it. We must read with the specific intention to know the matter being read. We can read without that effort but it does us no good. (Vol. 6, p. 12-13) :D

To secure a conversation or an incident, we 'go over it in our minds;' that is the mind puts itself through the process of self-questioning... This is what happens in the narrating of a passage read: each new consecutive incident or statement arrives because the mind asks itself, - 'What next?' For this reason it is important that only one reading be allowed; efforts to memorize weaken the power of attention, the proper activity of the mind; if it is desirable to ask questions in order to emphasize certain points, these should be asked after, and not before, or during, the act of narration. (Vol. 6, p. 17) :D

As we have already urged, there is but one right way, that is, children must do the work for themselves. They must read the given pages and tell what they have read, they must perform, that is, what we may call the 'act of knowing'. We are all aware, alas, what a monstrous quantity of printed matter has gone into the dustbin of our memories, because we have failed to perform that quite natural and spontaneous 'act of knowing,' as easy to a child as breathing and, if we would believe it, comparatively easy to ourselves. The reward is two-fold: no intellectual habit is so valuable as that of attention; it is a mere habit but it is also the hallmark of an educated person. (Vol 6, p. 99) :D

Education which demands a 'conscious mental effort', from the scholar, the mental effort of telling again that which has been read or heard. That is how we all learn, we tell again, to ourselves if need be, the matter we wish to retain, the sermon, the lecture, the conversation. The method is as old as the mind of man, the distressful fact is that it has been made so little use of in general education. (Vol. 6, p. 159-160) :D

Whatever a child or grown-up person can tell, that we may be sure he knows, and that which he cannot tell, he does not know... Now a passage to be memorized requires much conning, much repetition, and meanwhile the learners are 'thinking' about other matters, that is the mind is not at work in the act of memorizing. To read a passage with full attention and to tell it afterwards has a curiously different effect...the happy distinction between word memory and mind memory, which, once the force of it is realized, should bring about sweeping changes in our methods of education. Trusting to mind memory, we visualize the scene, are convinced by arguments, take pleasure in the turn of sentences and frame our own upon them: in fact that particular passage or chapter has been received into us and become a part of us just as literally as was yesterday's dinner... (Vol. 6, p. 172) :wink:

In the Appendix of Resurrection to Reformation, we also give this introduction to Written Narration:

When children narrate, they tell back in their own words what they have just read or heard. Narration allows them to share their own version of the passage with accuracy, individual personality, spirit, and originality. Oral narration is considered the earliest form of composition, and the words “narration” and “composition” may be used interchangeably. Children under age 9 take care of their composition instruction by orally narrating, and by intertwining these narrations with history, science, reading, and the like. :D

By age 10, children’s oral composition skills should be developed enough to begin written compositions. According to Charlotte Mason, composition in the form of written narration is “as natural as running and jumping to children who have been allowed to read lots of books”. If they orally narrate first of all, they will compose sooner or later, but they should not be taught “composition” as a separate body of information to be learned. Instead, it is important that the child and the author be trusted to be left alone together, without a middle-man such as a teacher telling the child what the book said, or about what to think. According to Charlotte Mason, our business as teachers is to “provide children the material for their lessons, while leaving the handling of that material to themselves”. In short, we are not to hamper them by too many instructions. :D

Children who have gotten into the habit of reading good literature absorb what they will from it themselves, in their own way, whether it’s a lot or a little. Reading living books and narrating from them helps children to begin to form their own literary style. Because they have been in the company of great minds, their style will not be an exact copy of any one in particular, but will instead be shaped as an individual style from the wealth of materials they possess to create a natural style of their own. Narration done properly develops the power of self-expression and invites a child’s personality to become part of the learning process. A child should choose vocabulary he finds appealing, make it his own, and then give it forth again with that own unique touch that comes from his own mind. This is why no two narrations should be exactly alike, and it is also why teachers should not expect their children to give the same narration they would have given. :D

Narrating requires a higher level of thinking. Consider the skill it takes to fill in blanks or choose from multiple-choice answers. Now, consider the skills it takes to retell a story you have just heard or read! Clearly the latter proves to require higher-level thinking. In order to demonstrate the complex skill of narrating, try your hand at it yourself. Now that you’ve read most of this page, turn it over and get a sheet of paper to write all that you can remember, or would you find it easier if you were given multiple-choice questions instead? :wink:

Narration provides far more information about children’s comprehension because they must answer without the support clues provided by questions. The quiz, test, chapter review, and book report have all been replaced by something far more effective. What children take time to put in their own words is retained because it has become their own. With narration, you’ve just found the key to really knowing what your children know, which is why even after children have become skilled at writing narrations, oral narrations are still continued. Maintaining oral narrations keeps improving both a child’s composing ability and his public speaking skills. There is simply not a better way to “test” a child’s comprehension and retention than oral and written narration!
:D

This Introduction is followed with step-by-step tips on how to teach and practice the skill of written narration. A Written Narration Skills List is also provided to guide students through the process of incrementally working toward editing their written narrations,which is different than revising, mastering one small step at a time. :D

Last, here are a few gems from CM on written narrations.

Children in this Form (Ages 9-12) have a wider range of reading, a more fertile field of thought, and more delightful subjects for composition. They write their little essays themselves (referring to written narration), and for the accuracy of their knowledge and justice of their expression, why 'still the wonder grows'. They will describe their favorite scene from "The Tempest" or "Woodstock". They write to 'tell' stories from work set in Plutarch or Shakespeare or tell of the events of the day. They narrate from English, French, and General History, from the Old and New Testament, from "Stories from the History of Rome", from Bullfinch's "Age of Fable", from, for example, Goldsmith's or Wordsworth's poems, from "The Heroe's of Asgard": in fact, Composition is not an adjunct but an integral part of their education in every subject. (Vol. 6, p. 192) :wink:

Having been brought up so far upon stylists the pupils are almost certain to have formed a good style: because they have been thrown into the society of many great minds, the will not make a servile copy of any one but will shape an individual style out of the wealth of material they possess; and because they have matter in abundance and of the best they will not write mere verbiage. (Vol 6, p. 194) :D

This is just a glimpse into the wonderful benefits of oral and written narration. :D There is much more I could share on the subject, but this whets the appetite for more knowledge on the method, and if you're anything like me, convicts the reader of the beauty, simplicity, and life-long effects of developing the habit and skill of narration. :D

Blessings,
Carrie

momofgreatones
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my DH

Post by momofgreatones » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:26 pm

Thank you so much Carrie, and the others who responded, for such fantastic information! I knew that something about narration would make my kiddos smart, I just couldn't define it. This has motivated me to work harder at oral and written narration, and I can now explain it to my dh as well. :wink:
Monique

dd 18 graduated!
dd 16 studying for CLEPs
dd 14 Studying for CLEPs
ds 12 CTC with extensions
ds 10 Bigger Hearts
dd 8 Bigger Hearts
dd 4 Little Hands to Heaven
dd 2 Little Hands to Heaven

andreamichele13
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my

Post by andreamichele13 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:52 pm

posting to this so I can remember where to find it.....
ds, age 14
ds, age 8
dd, age 6
one on the way in September 2014!

julieabird
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Re: Help me pin down the philosophy behind narration for my

Post by julieabird » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:28 pm

me too, me too! :D
Julie R

ds 7 BLHFHG
dd 5 LHFHG

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