Not just ‘once’ upon a time

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    Multidisciplinary research indicates the importance of storytelling in child development, most recently exploring the evolved nature of language and narrative. Many questions remain about how children develop competence within such a vital but highly complex process. The ‘once upon a time’ concept is present within nearly every human language on Earth, indicating what a powerful hold ‘storying’ has over human beings and what a central role it plays within human societies. Sue Lyle proposes that human beings are above all, ‘storytelling animals’. Emergent questions include whether and how current mass-produced storytelling products and interactive media developed by Western technology impact children’s competence in the human ‘storying’ process and, in particular, whether such rapid change should be approached with more reflection and caution than is currently the case. In this article, I will consider the process of child development with respect to language and ‘storying’, the traditional role of stories and ‘make-believe’ in the fabric of children’s lives, how this has changed in the recent past in technologically advancing societies, and how such change may impact children’s learning and development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number44
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


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