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Children More Likely to be Influenced by Stories with Realistic Characters, Says New Study

Want to teach your kids moral lessons through stories? Get them books with realistic characters.

stories with realistic characters
Children increasingly identify with stories having human characters. Pixabay
  • The study noted that children pay more attention to stories with realistic characters
  • Children are more likely to adopt the moral of the story in their personal life when it features a human character 

Toronto, August 21, 2017: Children learn moral lessons more effectively from stories with human characters than with “cute” human-like animals, a new study has revealed.

The study, carried out by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, found that four to six-year-olds shared more after listening to books with human characters than books with anthropomorphic (human-like) animals.

The researchers found that since many kids in this study did not see these characters as similar to themselves, they may be less likely to translate social lessons from these stories into their everyday lives.

“These findings add to a growing body of research showing that children find it easier to apply knowledge from stories that are realistic,” said Patricia Ganea, Associate Professor of early cognitive development at OISE. Psychologists believe that children learn from characters in stories, fiction as well as from real people around them.

“Overall, children were more likely to act on the moral of the story when it featured a human character,” Ganea added.

During the study, kids listened to a story with either human or human-like animal characters who spoke and wore clothes. Each book taught children about sharing with others.

Children’s altruistic giving was assessed before and after the reading. Most kids said the animals lacked human characteristics.

The researchers said one of the reasons some children did not act generously was because they did not interpret the anthropomorphic animals as similar to themselves.

Also Read: Lack of Support from UK Schools further ‘Penalises’ Left-Handed Children 

The researchers also suggested that books with realistic characters lead to better learning for kids.

“Books that children can easily relate to increase their ability to apply the story’s lesson to their daily lives,” Ganea said.

“It is important for educators and parents to choose carefully when the goal is to teach real-world knowledge and social behaviours through storybooks.” (IANS)


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Expressing Narratives of Panchatantra through Dance in Chennai to teach Lessons of Life

Stories of Panchatantra are all about separation of friends, gaining of friends, war and peace, loss of gains and ill-considered action or rash deeds

Dancing to stories of Panchatantra
Indian Dance Form. Pixabay
  • A dance narration was organized as a part of a recent summer program for high school pass outs at IIT-Madras
  • The recital is based on the stories of Panchatantra, also known as five principles of life that are the ancient Indian collection of animal fables
  • These principles of life were narrated to the princes in the form of tales by Vishnu Sharma

Chennai, June 29, 2017: Dancing is a form of expression that exhibits power to educate one of the practical ways of life. When a narrative is communicated through dance, it leaves an indelible impression on the learner. On similar grounds, a dance narration was organised was organised as part of a recent summer programme for high school pass outs at IIT-Madras.The recital is based on the stories of Panchatantra, also known as five principles of life that are the ancient Indian collection of animal fables.

The Research Science Initiative-Chennai programme, organised by PSBB Group of Schools is a six-week exhaustive research programme as part of which selected participants are trained in different subjects under experts from reputed colleges and bestowed life lessons through amusing and educative cultural programmes.

Being a part of educational programme this year, dancer Pavithra Srinivasan was summoned to teach students on the stories of Panchatantra through the dance form – Bharatanatyam.

ALSO READ: 7,000 girl students perform classical dance ‘Kuchipudi’ in Andhra Pradesh to set a Guinness World Record

According to Pavithra, the reason behind choosing the stories of Panchatantra was presenting the examples related to all types of human conditions.

When such narratives are expressed through a visual medium like dance, it prompts speculation of thoughts thus creating an in-depth understanding of the subject and spurring critical reasoning skills among the viewer, says Pavithra.

She further added, “The most interesting aspect about the Panchatantra is that the words of wisdom are imparted by animals interacting with humans.”

Pavithra chose the story of the monkey and the crocodile for narration The tale teaches how to think intelligently in difficult situations. Another story of a crow who tries to emulate the peacock is a lesson which edifies that one should cherish its own peculiar character.

Psychologists confirm that such setups of storytelling help the viewer to easily perceive the message hidden in the story.

“Storytelling involves a combination of audio-visual and kinesthetic (hand movements by storyteller) movements. This makes it easier for the viewer to visualise the story and learn it faster. Anything that we picture stays in the brain for a longer time. This makes storytelling a powerful learning tool,” says psychologist Dr Nappinai Seran.

It is believed that Panchatantra was inscribed in the 3rd century BC by Vishnu Sharma. Sharma devised this medium of instruction to educate the three sons of the king Amarasakthi. Panchatantra according to Sharma

Panchatantra is all about separation of friends, gaining of friends, war and peace, loss of gains and ill-considered action or rash deeds. These principles of life were narrated to the princes in the form of tales. Many of these stories have formed the background of Tamil literary works like Silappadikaram, the tales have also found a spot in the Western literary works as well, having been primarily translated into classical Persian.

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94