Report: Piloting Storykit ABL in District Muzaffargarh

Prepared for UNESCO Pakistan by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Founder Storykit

Storykit was successfully tested as an Activity Based Learning (ABL) component by UNESCO in government primary schools and NFBE centres in Pakistan. The field report for the program given here demonstrated Storykit's effectiveness in reducing Learning Poverty, improving enrollment of OOSC, and the effectiveness of its Socio-Emotional Learning pedagogy in student retention and increase in enrollment.

1. Abbreviations

ABES = Adult Basic Education Society

ABL = Activity Based Learning

GREP = Girls Right to Education Program

MCI= Memorise, Connect, Improvise Method of Interactive Storytelling

MGT = Multi Grade Teaching

PI = Plan International

SYCOP = Social Youth Council of Patriots

UNESCO = United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

2. Executive Summary

UNESCO Pakistan has been working to improve access to, retention and quality of girls’ primary education in the most marginalized areas of Pakistan through its flagship program titled Girls Right to Education Program (GREP). In order to improve the quality aspects of education, the program has a well-designed teacher training component in Activity Based Learning (ABL) and Multi-Grade Teaching (MGT), which is being carried out by the local implementing partners in the target districts. To strengthen the activity based learning in the target schools, UNESCO Pakistan contracted KITAB, a publishing house specializing in children’s literature and educational and resources for the Urdu language under contract number: 4500385945 (later changed to Contract No: 4500385945-A1) to pilot a storytelling project in 20 government primary schools (girls, boys and co-ed) in four Union Councils (Bair Band, Kotla Gamoon, Kotla Lal Shah and Kallar Wali) of tehsil Jatoi in District Muzaffargarh, one of the target districts of GREP.

The objective of this assignment was to promote reading habits among the primary school age students through reading storybooks and interactive reading material as part of the activity based learning. The activity further aimed at enhancing students’ imaginations and critical thinking, to contribute to their learning achievements and social development.

After the baseline study and learning of the situation and the expectations from the stakeholders KITAB customized a three-stage program for the government schools which entailed introducing teachers to the concept of interactive storytelling, holding interactive storytelling sessions at the pilot schools to demonstrate how engagement with literature is built with this process, and how the teachers and students could be facilitated to try interactive storytelling themselves.

Three visits were made to each of the twenty primary schools included in the pilot. A storytelling session was conducted during the first visit (12-13 April) during which the story from Storykit 1 was narrated. It was followed by two facilitation visits to each school. During the first facilitation visit (17-18 April) the children and teachers were encouraged to narrate parts of the story. During the second facilitation visit (23-24 April) the same process was repeated for the story from Storykit 2. However, children were also encouraged to narrate the earlier story from Storykit 1 if they wished.

A score-card was filled by the storyteller on the pupils’ ability, and the teachers were asked to evaluate their own narration. The reason teachers were asked to self-evaluate their storytelling skills was to demonstrate trust in them while helping them revisit the principles of storytelling listed on the scorecard. The storytellers were debriefed at the end of each day’s field work and the successes, issues and suggestions made by the teachers were documented.

a. Success Stories

The contract stipulated the documentation of four success stories, but twelve (12) schools performed extremely well in adapting the program, to which the enthusiasm of the students and the hard work they put in, and the warm support we received from the teachers and the community contributed equally.

The following data has been compiled for twenty schools from the verbal and written reports made by the storytellers at the end of each storytelling and facilitation session, as well as the post project assessment by teachers from the target schools. Any positive or promising development was listed as a success. A thing that impeded the activity or threatened to compromise it was listed as an issue.

b. Teacher Assessment

A half day post-program assessment was carried out by teachers from the pilot schools. Fifteen pilot schools were represented in the assessment whose replies were tabulated and have been presented with this report (See Annexure 1 for details).

c. Student Assessment

Students from grades 3, 4 and 5 at Muslim Chhajra school provided an assessment of the program on 29 April 2019. The school was chosen because it is the biggest school among all the schools included in the pilot. The teacher in-charge of the program is both enthusiastic and supportive, actively participates in storytelling and encourages students to do the same. The assessment was conducted in the presence of the Unesco Pakistan Education Officer Sameer Luqman (See Annexure 2 for details).

d. Progress Achieved

The Storykit Program was a great success at all levels, from the children to the teachers, to the wider community. Its biggest success was their engagement level with the activity and the increase in their self-confidence noticed and documented by their teachers. All the teachers polled recommended it be launched for Middle School as well.

3. Introduction

The Baseline Assessment conducted by KITAB provided information on the status of Activity Based Learning (ABL) elements and their delivery in the twenty schools selected for the pilot project. It outlined the theory of change underlying the campaign as well as its goals, providing a reference point for assessing changes and impact. It took into consideration the difficulties teachers encountered in managing and carrying out ABL activities, their suggestions for the design of ABL activities, and their expectations from a story- and storytelling-centric ABL program. All of these comments and suggestions were outlined and the Storykit solution identified. The basis for comparing the situation before and after the proposed intervention being established, the changes triggered by intervention were examined to help ascertain the efficacy of the intervention.

a. Baseline Sample Size and Data Gathering Process

This baseline study included all twenty schools included in the pilot project. The data was collected from the teachers both in the form of written and verbal comments.

b. Purpose of Baseline Questions

We tried to gather the following information with the baseline questions:

i. Teacher’s familiarity with the concept of ABL

ii. The challenges teachers face in delivering ABL

iii. The teachers’ recommendations for structuring an ABL program

iv. The teachers’ view of the function of stories

v. The teachers’ view of how the stories could help children develop learning skills

vi. Teachers’ willing to be trained in storytelling

vii. Teachers’ expectations from a story-centric ABL program

c. List of Questions

The following questions were asked of the teachers at the pilot schools:

i. Has any ABL program been conducted at your school? If YES, please provide a short description of its contents.

ii. What problems do you face in conducting ABL programs?

iii. Provide three recommendations for structuring an ABL program.

iv. What in your view would be the benefits of a story-centric ABL program?

d. Status of ABL delivery at pilot schools

Even though ABL had been introduced at all twenty schools according to UNESCO Pakistan record, only at fourteen schools or 70% of the pilot schools were the teachers aware that such an activity had been conducted at their school and the ABL material provided.

The teachers named the following organizations that to their knowledge had conducted ABL programs at their schools: Plan International (PI), Adult Basic Education Society (ABES), and Social Youth Council of Patriots (SYCOP). The ABL material provided included: Alphabet blocks, story books, flash cards, puppets, exercises in grammar, vocabulary aids, counting aids, rhymes, audio-visual aids, coloring books and ludo. In the absence or non-availability of ABL material teachers recited poetry or improvised some activity.

Some possible reasons for the teachers’ lack of knowledge or understanding about the existence of ABL training and the availability of ABL material at the school are as follows.

i. A teacher who had been trained in the ABL program had not passed the information about the program to other teachers at the school.

ii. A teacher who had been trained in the ABL program had moved from that school branch.

iii. The ABL material is not being employed effectively by the school.

iv. The nature of activities and/or material(s) designed for the ABL program are unsuitable for the intended audience for some reason.

e. Major Issues Identified by Teachers in Content and Delivery of ABL Programs

The following issues in order of importance were identified by the teachers at the pilot schools in the delivery of the ABL programs (see Table 1). The number in front of each issue reflects the number of schools identifying the issue.e achieved.

Issues with ABL content and delivery

f. Teachers' Recommendations for Composition and Structure of ABL Programs

The following recommendations for Composition and Structure of ABL Programs were provided by the teachers at the pilot schools:

  1. Something to build confidence
  2. Something that can be done in a short duration of time
  3. An activity that fits in the space available
  4. Something with A/V aids
  5. Something for slow learners
  6. Something that is all inclusive
  7. Something that encourages children to learn
  8. Something that helps children interact and learn as a group
  9. Something that helps build children' understanding of concepts
  10. Something that helps children with comprehension of other subjects
  11. Something that uses a combination of elements
  12. Something that can be conducted on a regular basis
  13. Something whose important points could be memorized
  14. Material should be provided to the school for conducting ABL
  15. An activity that encourages teachers to develop a friendlier, kinder attitude
  16. Something that could be repeated by children
  17. An activity that has a training element
  18. Something that includes a performance element
  19. Stories with morals
  20. The activity should be relevant to the local culture
  21. Something that grasps children's attention
  22. Something that incentivizes learning
  23. More time should be allocated to ABL
  24. Super natural elements should also be a part of the stories
  25. Quiz should be included in the ABL activity
  26. Something with flash cards
  27. Something that is easy to understand for Nursery and Junior levels
  28. Meals or edibles should be added to the program
  29. Stories that are related to course material
  30. Activity should be entirely curriculum based
  31. Stories should be fact based

g. Teachers' View of Benefits of Storytelling and ABL Programs Using Stories

The teachers provided the following recommendations for Composition and Structure of ABL Programs at the pilot schools:

  1. Children will be incentivized to perform better academically
  2. Learning accelerates
  3. Lesson converted to story format will quicken learning
  4. Develops ability to focus and concentrate
  5. Listening skills improve
  6. Children feel encouraged to read
  7. Reading ability improves
  8. Vocabulary and knowledge increases
  9. Develops cognitive ability
  10. Encourages punctuality and attendance
  11. Children become interested in progressing
  12. Children become interested in learning
  13. Children become self learners
  14. Builds confidence
  15. Children learn to express themselves
  16. Encourages group interaction
  17. Children act out the story
  18. Children will become competitive by listening to and narrating stories
  19. Children will memorize stories easily and do better in studies
  20. Children learn to think creatively
  21. Develops creativity
  22. Children learn to explore new concepts and ideas
  23. Participation in activity develops and strengthens concepts
  24. Helps them to explore a world beyond their own
  25. A friendly relationship develops between teacher and pupils
  26. Moral lessons are more effectively communicated through stories
  27. Helps in moral development of children
  28. Develops memory
  29. Grooms children
  30. Children enjoy activity
  31. Breaks the routine

h. Theory of Change

Listening to stories by the interactive storytelling method, narrating them, and playing games based on the stories help children in the following ways:

i. Inspire them to read

ii. Improve their mutual interaction.

iii. Improve their communication skills

iv. Improve their self-confidence

v. Make them more sociable

vi. Improve their cognitive skills

vii. Help them continue with their schooling

viii. Encourage them to enroll in school

ix. Become more engaged with their studies

x. Actively participate in classroom activities.

i. Proposed intervention

The following combination of inputs wass planned for the pilot schools to address all the major concerns raised by the teachers in the ABL content and delivery.

  1. An interactive storytelling workshop for teachers to introduce them to the concept of engaging children through storytelling.
  2. One storytelling session at each school.
  3. Two storytelling facilitation sessions at each school to help teachers and pupils become comfortable with the process of interactive storytelling.
  4. Four STORYKIT boxes containing different story books, games that reinforce the story content or its plot, and the audio narration of the stories accessible online through a QR code.

j. How the proposed intervention works

Table 2 below lists the major issues identified by the teachers with ABL content and delivery and lists against it the solution provided by the Storykit ABL intervention.

STORYKIT ABL content and delivery solution

k. Change indicators

Similar data was gathered at the end of the project through teachers’ written and recorded verbal comments, a survey of children from various age groups about their interest in the program, and the video- and photographic evidence of children’s engagement through the interventions to help determine to what extent the stated aims and objectives of the pilot program were achieved.

4. About Storykit Program

Storykit Program is an ABL program developed by KITAB that uses interactive storytelling to help children strengthen their comprehension, and acquire language and communication skills by becoming able communicators. With a focus on making children active readers, it was designed to replace the traditional teaching methodology for Urdu instruction.

The Storykit Program employs the Memorize, Connect, Improvise (MCI) method of Interactive Storytelling developed by KITAB founder and CEO Musharraf Ali Farooqi as an interface to build engagement with books. The Storykit box, containing a picture storybook, board-game based on the story, and an easily accessible online audio narration link for the story, creates a deeper and critical understanding of the content. In the process they learn elements of storytelling to develop their communication and interpersonal skills, as well as interact with the educational tools at a more intimate level.

The interactive storytelling method and the Storykit box are designed to promote reading habits among the primary school age children. It has been established that presenting information in story form improves reader comprehension, particularly for poor readers; children’s knowledge of the structure of stories is critical to comprehension; when presented in the form of a story, readers and listeners easily comprehend and retain key information and concepts; learning story structures improves comprehension of both narrative and expository texts; reading stories develops the skills that improve comprehension of any written material; stories put seemingly disconnected information into context and logical sequence to create meaning, and understanding this is fundamental to logical and critical thinking development; exposure to stories and early reading has been proven to develop language skills, making children both better communicators and writers; reading stories is linked to children’s literacy development. [Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story by Kendall Haven, (CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2007)]

STORYKIT is particularly suited for learning environments where Multi-Grade Teaching is practiced because stories appeal to children in a wide range of age groups and comprehension level as children are able to engage with them at their own level.

KITAB has employed the MCI method of interactive storytelling and the storykits with great success in increasing the love of books in primary school children in schools in Lahore and Karachi.

5. Storykit Program Content

The Storykit box containing ABL material developed by KITAB contains the illustrated text of a story or poem, a game that reinforces the plot or character(s) of the story, and a link to its easily accessible audio narration that helps children learn the correct pronunciation of words. Our program has been tested for primary schools in Pakistan and its middle school and secondary school components are under development. More advanced pedagogical components of the program for Grades 1 to 5 are available for both offline and online implementation.

The storytelling training component of the Storykit Program is delivered through training in the Memorise, Connect, Improvise (MCI) method of interactive storytelling, designed by Musharraf Ali Farooqi with which he has successfully trained Pakistan parliamentarians for the DAI/HTSPE funded project for the education advocacy campaign Alif Ailaan, school teachers, and NGOs.

The pilot project will focus on demonstrating the strength of the storytelling model and content in helping the public schools to retain students, increase enrollment of out of schools children through incentivized participation in the Storykit Program, and involve the communities in which the schools operate.

During the course of the pilot the students will receive a new Storykit box for use in the Storykit Program each time they have completed the activities assigned to that story. They will own the storykit and will be able to use it to engage with each other as well as with other children in the community who are not in the school. It is important for the success of the program for each child to own a storykit, use it at home, and anticipate the arrival of a new storykit the following month. Students will receive STORYKITS 1-4 during the pilot project.

a. Approach and Methodology

The Storykit Program pilot seeks to introduce stories and interactive storytelling as a fun and enjoyable experience for both children and adults in the school and the community. By employing the Storykit box it aims to build a community around stories and storytelling, and provide a new skill set to both teachers and children that helps improve their critical faculties and communication skills, as well as generate income possibilities for them in the future as storytellers in their communities.

The Storykit Program activities are geared towards complimenting following three objectives of the UNESCO Program:

i. Build the capacity of teachers in integrating heritage into teaching and learning through folktales and classical narratives.

ii. Increase girls’ enrolment in the primary schools in marginalized communities through involvement of local communities in inclusive educational activities such as storytelling.

iii. Improve retention and quality of girls’ primary education in the marginalized communities through improvement in school learning environment and making them engaging.

iv. Improve teachers’ ability to communicate better with the students, helping develop a stronger bond between students and teachers, and creating a sense of community between them.

v. By opening the portals of the schools to any child from outside the school who wishes to listen to the story narration or participate in storytelling herself/himself the Storykit Program intervention makes it attractive and incentivized to begin visiting the school on a regular basis which will hopefully lead her/him to becoming enrolled.

b. Outcomes

i. Teachers will be able to engage children better in the classroom through the Activity-Based Learning Storykit Program.

ii. Children will find learning through listening to stories and playing story-based games enjoyable. It will encourage them to attend the school more readily and participate more actively.

iii. Out of school children will begin to see school life as an engaging, attractive experience.

c. Outputs

i. Training workshops for teachers based on the MCI method

ii. Storytelling sessions for children followed by games that are essential for the development of social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills.

iii. Assessment methodology and Monitoring and Evaluation sheets for teachers.

iv. No-tech, low-cost ABL material in the form of Storykit box containing picture book, game and easily accessible audio narration.

d. Teacher Training Content

KITAB conducts storytelling workshop in Muzaffargarh with the Memorise, Connect, Improvise (MCI) method of interactive storytelling to train selected teachers from government primary schools, the Non-Formal Basic Education Schools, team from the implementation partners, and interested community members in interactive storytelling. The maximum number of participants in any one workshop is 30. This includes teachers from 20 schools, and ten other participants including teachers from the NFBE centres, the monitoring and evaluation staff of the implementation partners, and local community members.

e. Training Material

i. STORYKITS 1-2

ii. A booklet and QR-code linked online audio and USB of the MCI Method of Interactive Storytelling provided to the participants in Urdu language.

iii. Storytelling tutorial for STORYKITS 1-2 published online for teachers

iv. Evaluation Sheets for the MCI Interactive Storytelling Program.

f. MCI Interactive Storytelling Workshop Content

First Segment: MEMORISE

i. Maintaining control over the narration;

ii. Making the storytelling experience more interactive;

iii. Better connectivity with audience;

iv. Contracting and expanding text.

Second Segment: CONNECT

i. Seating level, class formation, and movement in storytelling;

ii. Incorporating student responses;

iii. Dialogue between storyteller and audience;

iv. How to overcome disturbances in classroom without stopping storytelling;

v. Fear of losing control and how to overcome it.

Third Segment: IMPROVISE

i. Evaluating and changing messages in a story without changing words;

ii. Incorporating drama during storytelling;

iii. Selecting scenes for adding descriptions ;

iv. Incorporating narration in poems and converting them into stories.

Fourth Segment: EVALUATE

i. Training in using evaluation sheets to assess interactive storytelling sessions at schools;

ii. Judging the storyteller’s ability to involve the students in the storytelling process;

iii. Judging the storyteller’s ability to incorporate student comments and questions;

Judging the storyteller’s ability to improvise on the text of the story during storytelling.

6. Program Implementation

The Storykit Program was rolled out in the following six stages:

a. Workshop

A two day workshop on the Memorise, Connect, Improvise (MCI) method of interactive storytelling was conducted from 5-6 April 2019 at the Shehr Sultan field office of Unesco Pakistan IP SYCOP to train thirty people which included teachers from 20 schools, and ten other participants including teachers from the NFBE centres, the monitoring and evaluation staff of the implementation partners, and local community members.

A storyteller’s handbook on the MCI method of interactive storytelling in both Urdu and English was given out with a USB containing the audio narration of the Urdu version of the handbook. Two storykit titles to be used for the storytelling and facilitation visits were also handed out to the workshop attendants. The successful completion of the workshop set the ground for the launch of the program.

The storytelling and facilitation visits to the pilot schools were done on the following dates:

Storytelling Sessions: 12-13 April 2019

First Facilitation Visit: 17-18 April 2019

Second Facilitation Visit: 23-24 April 2019

b. Storytelling Visit

On 12-13 April 2019 five storytellers from KITAB visited the 20 pilot schools and conducted storytelling for students with Storykit 1, with the teacher participating in a supportive role. Te storytellers explained the board-game and rules and how the audio could be accessed. Both students and teachers were encouraged to narrate small parts of the story afterwards. The teachers were encouraged to evaluate themselves on their storytelling skills while the KITAB storyteller marked students on their storytelling skills. The teachers were advised to distribute Storykit 1 to the students.

c. Facilitation Visit 1

On 17-18 April 2019 five storytellers from KITAB visited the 20 pilot schools on the first facilitation visit and reviewed the progress made by the students and teachers in narrating the story from Storykit 1. The KITAB storyteller marked students on their storytelling skills. The teachers were advised to distribute Storykit 2 to the students.

d. Facilitation Visit 2

On 23-24 April 2019 five storytellers from KITAB visited the 20 pilot schools on the second facilitation visit and reviewed the progress made by the students and teachers in narrating the story from Storykit 1 and STorykit 2. The KITAB storyteller marked students on their storytelling skills.

e. Post Project Assessment of Storykit Program with Teachers

On 24 April 2019 the post-project assessment of the Storykit Program was conducted with teachers. Fifteen schools sent teachers to give their assessment. Written replies were given by the teachers to the assessment questions. A discussion about the project followed and the verbal comments made by the teachers during the discussion were recorded and transcribed from the videos as supplementary replies in the assessment (See Annexure 1 for details).

f. Post Project Assessment of Storykit Program with Students

On 29 April 2019 the post-project assessment of the Storykit Program was conducted with grades 3, 4 and 5 students from the Muslim Chhajra school. The children’s feedback questions and their replies are recorded (See Annexure 2). The assessment was conducted in the presence of the Unesco Pakistan Education Officer Sameer Luqman.

7. Monitoring and Evaluation Process and Tools

The monitoring and evaluation of the program was done by the storytellers during and after every school visit.

a. Storyteller Scorecard

Each storyteller visited two schools on a day for storytelling. After the storytelling the children were encouraged to step out and narrate the story in their own words. They were evaluated by the storyteller with the Storyteller Scorecard. The teachers were asked to evaluate themselves on the same form separately so that they could review and revisit the principles of interactive storytelling in the process.

b. Storyteller Visit Report Form

At the end of the storytelling session the storyteller filled out a Storyteller Visit Report documenting any positive developments or issues, and on subsequent visit(s) any changes in the earlier experience(s).

c. IP Technical Training

Two members of the staff of Unesco Pakistan’s Implementation Partner, SYCOP, were given technical training in monitoring the Storykit Program’s progress using the Storyteller Scorecard and the Storyteller Visit Report.

8. Impact of Storykit Program on Learning

According to the Teacher’s Post Project Assessment (See Annexure 1) the Storykit Program directly helped and facilitated learning in a number of areas of learning. The following data has been synthesized from teacher’s replies to assessment questions 3, 8, 9, 12, and 16 to show the improvement witnessed and documented by the teachers. The questions are also listed below to show the queries that obtained the following data:

Assessment Questions

Q 3: What were the three (3) major improvements you saw in the children as a result of the Storykit Program?

Q 8: Did you observe any change in the pupils after the Storykit Program? If YES, what was that change?

Q 9: Did you notice any change in your relationship with the children on account of the Storykit Program?

Q 12: Do you think the children became more interested in learning because of the Storykit Program?

Q 16: What in your opinion was the single most important benefit of the Storykit Program?

Areas where improvement was documented

a. Reading Skills and Vocabulary

i. Children’s reading skills improved as a result of listening to stories

ii. Children’s spelling improved

iii. Children developed the habit of reading books

iv. Children asked teachers the meanings of difficult words

v. Children showed interest in listening to and reading more stories

vi. A teacher noted that when she gives children a lesson to study they make a face at the prospect of studying it. But they immediately took to the storybooks and began reading them. And it increased their interest in reading

b. Comprehension

i. Children showed interest in listening and understanding

ii. Children got a chance to think about and understand things

c. Memory Retention

i. Children memorised the story rather than learning it by rote

ii. Even a child thought to be the laziest narrated the entire story

iii. Children have started memorizing their lesson

d. Cognitive Ability

i. Children’s cognitive abilities improved

ii. Learning activities have increased beyond all expectations

iii. Children started showing interest in their studies because of the program

e. Creativity

i. Children’s creativity developed

f. Communication and Expressiveness

i. Children developed self-confidence through narrating stories

ii. Children became competitive

iii. Children’s communication skills improved a lot and they learned how to express their thoughts

iv. Children narrated the stories with expressions

v. Children developed the courage to speak before others

vi. A teacher noted that the most important element is to get children to perform before others. A pupil has to bridge a huge divide over a long period of time before he becomes a performer, which was accomplished in the Storykit Program with children telling stories. With this small activity the children covered this huge distance

g. Attention Span and Group Learning

i. The children became more active

ii. Children bonded better with each other because of the program

iii. Children narrated the story to each other and if someone made a mistake they corrected each other which facilitated learning.

iv. Teamwork developed among children

v. The program provided fun and learning together

vi. A friendly environment was created in the school because of the program

vii. Children from our school motivated the children from other schools to come for the storytelling

viii. The children were very bored and during storytelling they became happy and relaxed and found pleasure in the activity

h. Student Teacher Bond and Interaction

i. The interaction between teacher and students has increased

ii. Children’s bond with the teacher has strengthened

iii. The children are now very attentive when listening and their bond with the teacher has strengthened

i. Self-Learning

i. The story from Storykit 2 was not narrated in the class but the children read it themselves and also learned how to play the game from the accompanying instructions

ii. The children have become driven to read books. They also looked into other books to search for stories in them

9. Impact of Storykit Program on Student Retention and Enrollment

According to the Teacher’s Post Project Assessment (See Annexure 1) the Storykit Program directly helped and facilitated enrollment and retention. The following data has been synthesized from teacher’s replies to assessment questions 8, 10, 11, 12, and 16 to show the improvement witnessed and documented by the teachers. The questions are also listed below to show the queries that obtained the following data:

a. Assessment Questions

Q 8: Did you observe any change in the pupils after the Storykit Program? If YES, what was that change?

Q 10: Did any new children enroll in the program or begin attending the school regularly after the Storykit Program?

Q 11: Did you notice the people in your community show any interest in stories and storytelling after the Storykit Program? If YES what kind of interest did they show?

Q 12: Do you think the children became more interested in learning because of the Storykit Program?

Q 16: What in your opinion was the single most important benefit of the Storykit Program?

b. Improvement in Student Retention

i. A greater number of students started attending the school

ii. The children who were not attending school also became regulars

iii. The community has shown interest as their children now come to the school happily

iv. Some parents promised that their children will come to the school regularly if we let them have the storykits

v. The children narrated the stories to their parents and told them about the storytelling event. Thus the parents of children who had not been attending the school demanded storykits for them

vi. Because of this program, community members have started sending their children to school with more diligence

vii. The attendance has increased. Children have realized that the storytelling session could happen at any time and they don’t want to miss it

viii. This program is why they come to the school on a regular basis

c. Increase in Enrollment

i. When the children went home and narrated the story to their friends and cousins, this enticed them and they took admission in the school

ii. The enrollment campaign was on but in instances where we would usually have two children taking admission, we have seen three children enrolling, and where three would take admission, four have been enrolled

iii. Since the day the children have learned that there will be storytelling at the school they have started bringing along their siblings

iv. When the children returned home with the storykits and narrated the story to other children, they too came to the school because of their interest in the story. They liked the school’s friendly environment and asked for admission

v. The children from one school motivated other children to enroll by telling them that a storytelling event is organized at their school

vi. Girls’ mothers came specially to ask for additional storykits of teachers

vii. Girls from grades 9 and 10 also asked the primary teacher for storykits

viii. Other children also come to school so that they can get the storykits when the teacher distributes them. The teacher gives the storykits to those who enroll and also those who bring their siblings

ix. Some parents asked for a storykit for their child, who they said was not interested in studying, and they said that if I gave him one, he’d come to school

x. The community has shown interest in their children studying

xi. The people in the community have developed consciousness that they should send their children to school

xii. Children have become confident in narration and when they narrate the stories to children outside the school they too become interested

10. Major Achievements

a. ABL Content and Delivery Issues Resolved by Storykit Validation in the Pilot

During the Baseline Assessment for the Storykit Program Pilot, a number of major issues were identified with the content and delivery of past ABL programs by the teachers. They were listed in order of priority.

The proposed intervention provided by the Storykit Program was tested for both content and delivery satisfaction in the pilot. It was highly successful on all counts. The intervention validation was obtained from the teacher’s documented accounts, the evidence recorded in students’ high level of engagement, and their remarkable enthusiasm for the program, as listed in Table 3 below.

Storykit ABL Validation in Pilot

b. Teachers’ Expectations of ABL Content and Delivery from Storykit Program Validation in the Pilot

During the Baseline Assessment for the Storykit Program Pilot, a number of recommendations for Composition and Structure of ABL Programs were provided by the teachers at the pilot schools. They were listed in order of priority.

The proposed intervention provided by the Storykit Program was highly successful in meeting their expectations. The validation was obtained from the teacher’s documented accounts, the evidence recorded in students’ high level of engagement, and their remarkable enthusiasm for the program, as listed in Table 4 below.

Solution Validation in Pilot-2

11. Success Stories

Twelve success stories are documented below from the 20 pilot schools ranked according to the following criteria:

  1. Outstanding degree of teacher support
  2. Outstanding levels of student engagement
  3. Remarkable increase in student engagement
  4. Increased girl student participation in the program
  5. Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils
  6. Increase in enrollment
  7. High level of community engagement

While these indicators were documented and listed for each school in this report, the overall experience, energy, and promise of a school helped us determine its final ranking. The twelve highest-ranked schools were given three stars (⭐⭐⭐), the six schools that could be future successes are given two stars (⭐⭐), and two schools that need most attention from both school leadership and the ABL team are given one star (⭐) each. Beyond gauging the success of the program, it will help us identify and create a network and pool of resources for scaling up the project in the district.

The following twelve schools were judged to be the success stories in the pilot:

Success Story 1: GGPS MASU WALA

Teacher: Sara Safdar | Students = 112 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GGPS Masu Wala is one of the stars of the STORYKIT storytelling program. The teacher Sara Safdar is very supportive of the activity even though she sometimes feels that the attention students are devoting to it could be to the detriment of their curricular work. She is not comfortable play-acting herself in front of the students although she recites the story with sufficient animation. Children feel free to act out the characters while she is present in the class which shows her sympathetic engagement with the children. A special quality of Ms Sara Safdar is her focus on group work which builds her students’ self-confidence, allows shy students (such as Samra) to participate, and empowers pupils with communication issues (such as Sanwal) to confidently join in the activity. It is also reflected in the warm interaction between the students as witnessed in the videos. The teacher’s participation increased as the program progressed. The community members asked that storytelling also be organized for their children. During the first facilitation visit only three boys narrated the story, but during the second facilitation five girls (Shazia, Samra, Adeela, Selina and Zeenat), and four boys (Sanwal, Samilullah, Zulqarnain, and Amroze) narrated or acted out the story. Zeenat has good presence as a storyteller and is recommended for advanced training in storytelling.

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Success Story 2: GGPS MOOR WALA

Teacher: Fozia Saeed Sial | Students = 92 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GGPS Moor Wala gave us the first indication of the program's biggest success in boosting children's self-confidence when during the first facilitation visit the teacher Ms Fozia Saeed Sial tearfully commented that she had never seen her shy students (such as Mehnaz from Grade 2) more confident than when narrating the story. Her engagement with the program continued to improve and she got other teachers involved as well. She mentioned that the activity has helped alleviate the tense relationship between the teachers and students and developed a friendly environment at school. She is very happy with the children's involvement with the program and encourages it but is concerned about the children becoming too noisy during the storytelling sessions. She also informed us that despite the ongoing enrollment drive and the intake of students, the enrollment rate has become higher because of the storytelling program. She is both passionate and extremely confident, and during the post project assessment freely spoke her mind. She could become a forceful advocate for the program. During the first facilitation two girls (Rizwana and an unnamed girl) and one boy (Tanveer) narrated the story. During the second facilitation two boys (Jehangir and Tanveer) and one girl (Mehnaz) narrated the story. There was a remarkable change in Jehangir as he was narrating the story. For the first 55 seconds he narrated it shyly but then his confidence surges and he carries on to the applause of his classmates. Tanveer is a natural storyteller whose skill and confidence had visibly improved by the second facilitation. He is recommended for advanced storytelling training to become the designated storyteller for his school.

Success Story 3: GGPS AZIZ KHAN KORAI

Teacher: Samina Yaseen | Students = 81 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GGPS Aziz Khan Korai is a great school with a supportive group of teachers and community. People in the community asked for the storykits to read and are happy that their children are taking an interest in books. Children told the stories to their parents, siblings, family members and friends. The confidence of the children has grown as they stand up and recite the story and rhymes. Despite their shyness the teachers narrated the story to the children. Attendance and enrollment of children is increasing and seeing this makes teachers happy. Tasmia has the confidence and the presence to develop into a good storyteller with more training. On the first facilitation visit two girls (Tasmia and Shehla) and one boy (Omar Daraz) narrated the story and explained the game. On the second visit four girls narrated the story individually, and the whole class presented it as a group.

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Success Story 4: GGCMS BAIR BAND

Teacher: Razia Sultana | Students = 147 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: NO

High level of community engagement: NO

Ranking Rationale: GGCMS Bairband is a great school with lively students and a sympathetic and engaged headmistress who was extremely happy with the program. She suggested we expand the program in her area and beyond, conduct storytelling workshops for other teachers of schools in her area and that she would offer her school as a liaison office to do so. The headmistress asked for more visits from the storytellers and requested that it be made a part of the syllabus and storytelling period added to the school timetable. Older girls helped out the younger ones to understand the game. During the first facilitation two girls (Ariba and Sadia) narrated and explained the game. On the second facilitation visit two boys and four girls narrated the story. Ariba is able to engage the class and is recommended for advanced storytelling training.

Success Story 5: GGPS MURAD PUR SHUMALI

Teacher: Nasim Akhtar | Students = 171 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GGPS MURAD PUR SHUMALI is one of the best schools. Its teacher Nasim Akhtar has an expansive view of learning and could prove to be an asset in the development of the program. Teachers were surprised at the impact of the story on children as the children keep discussing the podna’s adventures. Teachers actively participated in the activity, and brought other teachers to listen to storytelling by the children. A teacher suggested that a storytelling competition be arranged for the children. Teacher Nasim Akhtar mentioned that on learning that there will be storytelling at the school the children have started bringing along their siblings. Girls’ mothers came specially to ask for any additional storykits the teacher might have and other children also came to school so that they could get the extra storykits the teacher had. The teacher gave the storykits to those who enrolled and those who brought their siblings to the storytelling sessions. Some parents asked for a storykit for their child, who they said was not interested in studying, and they said that if the teacher gave him one, he’d come to school regularly. On the first facilitation visit one boy and three girls narrated the story. On the second facilitation visit three boys and four girls narrated the story with Hijab doing a wonderful performance on the story. Tooba and Tayyaba are recommended for advanced training in storytelling. They have the confidence to narrate the story but need more training in engagement and narration.

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Success Story 6: GPS JATOI ROAD

Teacher: M. Nauman | Students = 107 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GPS Jatoi Road is one of the stars of the STORYKIT storytelling program. It has a sympathetic and engaged teacher in M. Nauman (see video) which shows in the confidence and liveliness of the pupils. The mothers of the students enrolled there are supportive of the program and requested to be invited to the storytelling sessions. Ahsan, Insa and Iqra are good storytellers. Ahsan’s skills improved (see video) between the first and second facilitation sessions. During the first facilitation session only one boy and one girl came out to narrate the story, but by the second facilitation session one boy, Ahsan, and four girls (Shumaila, Nagina, Insa and Iqra( came out to narrate stories. Iqra, in particular (see video), is an outstanding storyteller, and is recommended for advanced storytelling training to become the designated storyteller for her school.

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Success Story 7: GGHS KOTLA GAMU

Teacher: Mehnaz Kanwal | Students = 194 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: GGHS KOTLA GAMU has a great leader in Mehnaz Kanwal. All credit for the confidence, liveliness, and engagement level of the children studying at this school goes to its school leadership. The most moving experience at this school was the story narration by Mahvesh (two short videos included) who has a speech impediment and was very nervous but towards the end of the first facilitation session she came up to the storyteller and whispered in his ear saying "mjhe aadhi aati hai" (I know half the story) and overcame her nervousness to narrate the story. The teachers have already added storytelling to the weekly activities, want the activity conducted for higher classes as well and asked for stories based on subjects of science and math. The children demanded more stories. The teacher mentioned that the children are now very attentive when listening and their relationship with the teacher has strengthened. She stated that their school is up to Grade 10 and girls from grades 9 and 10 came and asked for the storykits. She mentioned that the children have become driven to read books and looked into other books to search for stories in them. Sumera has the presence and confidence to become a good storyteller and is recommended for advanced training in storytelling. On the first day two girls narrated the story and on the second visit three girls narrated the story including little Hania who had read and memorized the story by herself.

Success Story 8: GGPS LEGHARI No. 1

Teacher: Jaleel Ahmad | Students = 236 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: Mr Jaleel Ahmad from GGPS Leghari No. 1 is an engaged and sympathetic teacher very interested in the progress of girls. He is happy to transfer any new skills he has learned to the students and proactively carries out any tasks assigned to him. The teacher playing the audio files of the storyteller handbook in the class, eager to train the children in storytelling. The children are highly engaged and active. They gave critical analysis of stories and differentiated between the stories. The children gave a number of recommendations about the animal stories they would like to read. Most of the activities in this school were done within the group. The girls and the boys related well together during the activity and after some hesitation the girls too joined in role-playing and acting although they mostly remained in the background. Mr Jaleel mentioned that children bonded better with each other due to the activity. He would like the ABL activities to incorporate material from the children’s own environment. According to the teacher the enrollment has increased because of the activity and some parents promised that their children would come to the school regularly and they should be given the storykits to ensure that they do. During the pilot no student stood out who could be recommended for advanced storytelling training.

Success Story 9: GPS DINGA KORAI

Teacher: M. Imran Korai | Students = 250 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: Mr Imran Korai is a thoughtful and engaged teacher, and a champion of girl students. From the first day the school stood out in the participation and involvement of its students and the prominent role assumed by the girl students in the activity. Mr Korai was also very active and responsive during the storytelling training workshop. He got all the children involved and also invited other teachers for the activity when we visited. The teacher and the students are eagerly looking forward to the follow-up visit. Many more girls narrated stories before the class. There are many clips of the storytelling activities from this school but the three storytelling clips by student Sidra from each of our three visits offer the best example of the progress of this activity in the school as she improves in her delivery and grows in confidence. Sidra is recommended for advanced training in storytelling.

Success Story 10: GGPS HAKIM ALLAH WASAYA

Teacher: Naila Shamshad | Students = 274 |Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: NO

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: NO

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: This school shot to three-star ranking on the final day. A teacher who did not wish to participate in the activity himself for personal reasons nevertheless worked with and prepared the students with some of the most animated and original performances of the entire program. Siraj and Abdullah are the stars of this school and would become great storytellers with advanced training for which they are recommended.

Success Story 11: GPS MUSLIM CHAJRA

Teacher: M. Akram | Students = 583 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: Teacher M. Akram is another dedicated, devoted teacher who will be an asset for the program. The children throng the storytelling sessions and participate in it with great animation, mostly because of Mr Akram’s encouragement who can be seen narrating stories, acting and dancing in the attached media. He has many great dance moves and a wonderful way of teaching them, and dreams of a big hall where all the students could be accommodated for a storytelling performance.

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Success Story 12: GGPS MAKWAL

Teacher: Rizwana Nawaz | Students = 161 | Ranking: ⭐⭐⭐

Outstanding degree of teacher support: YES

Outstanding levels of student engagement: YES

Remarkable increase in student engagement: YES

Increased girl student participation in activity: YES

Increase in student retention OR return of absentee pupils: YES

Increase in enrollment: YES

High level of community engagement: YES

Ranking Rationale: Makwal is one of the favorite schools of the storytelling team. The star of the school is the bright and confident student Hijab Fatima (Grade 2). From the storytelling session where she is seen literally laughing (see cover image), to the first storytelling performance where she is shyly narrating the podna story, to our third visit, where she is more confidently narrating the Louse story with a group of older students listening with rapt attention, she is the single, most convincing proof of the effectiveness of the program content, and the storytelling training method. Hijab Fatima is recommended for advanced storytelling training to become a storyteller for lower primary sections. The teacher Rizwana Nawaz takes a strong interest in children’s development and is very appreciative of the program at her campus.

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12. Lessons Learned

a. Revisiting Teachers’ Role in the Program

The most important issue learned from the pilot was that the focus of the activity must change: instead of enabling teachers to become storytellers, we should teach the children this skill. For a number of reasons, ranging from bashfulness, an inability to connect with the children in a friendly, relaxed demeanor, to the fear of losing the respected mantle of teacher, the majority of the teachers were unable to take part in the storytelling exercises expected of them.

Once this much was established during the storytelling visits, the focus was quickly changed to enable children to narrate the story themselves. They were encouraged to narrate the story individually, and as part of a chain of narrators, narrate segments of a story.

While improvement in communication skills is a known outcome of the project, the most surprising element was that 93% of the teachers mentioned an increase in the children’s self-confidence as a direct result of the program. They reported as follows (See Annexure 1):

* A friendly relationship has developed between teachers and students

* The children are now very attentive when listening to teachers

* The children no longer fear the teacher

* The children now ask questions of teachers without hesitation

* The bond between pupils and teachers has become stronger

* The interaction between teacher and students has increased

As we reviewed the program components, interactive storytelling emerged as the single most important activity that changed the normal dynamics between narrator and listener, and increased the children’s self-confidence. Interactive storytelling allowed switching of roles between the narrator and the listener, making it easy for the children to assume the narrator’s role when it was their turn to do so.

Another factor was the facilitation of learning that happened because of the friendly relationship that was established between the storyteller and the children. As someone who was neither teacher nor disciplinarian, it was easy for the storyteller to quickly establish a friendly relationship with the children and for them to freely participate in the activity without fear of being judged.

b. Reconfiguring Pupils’ Role in the Program

The program’s results are so overwhelmingly positive for the social and intellectual development of children that it is proposed that the program change its focus to enable children to become storytellers.

It was witnessed and documented during the pilot that the children are more far more receptive to the program than the teachers, and are capable and willing to grow into the role of storytellers. Therefore, in the course of the pilot project, it was considered whether children could be involved in storytelling in a more active role, i.e. instead of having the focus on the teacher in the central role of storyteller, the children could be trained to become storytellers. As children graduate to Middle School, they could continue using the skills as the program is extended to Middle School, and the skills will become a part of their learning set. With training they could become effective communicators and storytellers.

During the pilot, the children listened with seriousness and interacted enthusiastically whenever one of their fellow students narrated the story. Some of them are natural storytellers as identified in the Success Stories above. They enjoyed interacting with their fellow students in their new roles as storytellers.

It was noticed that children preferred the storyteller rather than the teacher narrating stories to them. When polling the children (See Annexure 2), the option of the storyteller was altogether removed, and the children were only given a choice between the teacher, or one of their fellow students, as storyteller. Children overwhelmingly chose their fellow students as storytellers, and did not opt to have their teacher in that role.

Other advantages, for training children to become storytellers and delivering the program, are as follows:

a. The child storyteller won’t have any qualms about acting, improvising and making sounds, allowing the narration to proceed interestingly for all children.

b. In the present educational environment children are unable to challenge something a teacher is telling them, or present an alternate version. Unable to contest a point in the story with the teacher in the storyteller’s role, and his authority making them accept the story as she or he is telling them, will create a disconnect between the children and the activity. However, if one of their fellow students is narrating the story, it would make it possible for children to share their creative thoughts about the possibilities inherent in a story, and make their group bond stronger.

c. Nine-Step Self-Renewing Learning Cycle

It was learned from the pilot initiative that a nine-step self-renewing cycle outlined below allows for self-learning and helps nurture creativity:

i. Content availability creates engagement possibilities: Interesting content—such as stories and story-related ABL material—makes content-engagement possible.

ii. Content connection established: Interactive storytelling connects pupils to the content and allows their engagement with the content to begin.

iii. Group-learning initiated: Once children have engaged with content, group-learning takes place through exercises in creativity such as improvisation and role-play.

iv. Children connecting together within a group: Once group-learning takes place, children begin to connect with each other through improvisation and role-play.

v. Self-learning triggered: Self-learning is triggered in children connecting together as a group through an activity.

vi. Deeper content-engagement begins, leading to discoveries: During self-learning deeper content-engagement takes place as a pupil equipped with her or his learning experience from the group when discovering new elements in stories.

vii. Discoveries bring about advancement: Deeper content-engagement advances self-learning as new content is explored or new elements discovered in old content.

viii. Continuous discovery creates sustainability: Self-learning is sustained through continuous discovery and immersion in engaging content

ix. Continuous self-learning nurtures creativity: Continuous self-learning nurtures creativity, ultimately allowing for the creation of engaging content

13. Key Challenges

a. On the whole, except for one or two rare exceptions, the teachers remained distant from their proposed roles as storytellers. While 86% of the teachers showed a willingness to be trained in storytelling, 67% of them wished for the involvement of the storyteller in the activity, wholly or partially. They stated that they were uncomfortable about stepping into the role of the storyteller, as required by the activity. When it comes to their involvement, most of the teachers are for a more staid form of storytelling, which could be done without any role-play or interaction with the audience. As some teachers are also strict in terms of school discipline and some even use corporal punishment, children find it very difficult to relate to them as storytellers. It is therefore proposed that teachers should be trained in the program principles so that they understand and help facilitate it; however, they should not be obliged to become involved in the delivery of the program as storytellers.

b. Some teachers saw storytelling as a disruptive activity that did not have any bearing on learning. Some others were unhappy with the enthusiasm children showed for the activity in comparison to their textbooks. In yet other cases the teachers prohibited the children from bringing storykits to the school because they felt that the children spent too much time on it. The teachers must allow the children to bring storykits to school, as more kids might come to school if they knew they could play storykit games in school with other kids.

c. Some teachers still feel that audio-visual aids and technology will help deliver the program better. However, none of the students polled asked for technology-driven delivery. They only asked for more stories and more frequent storytelling sessions. The teachers should be trained to understand the interactive nature of storytelling and the no-tech nature of the Storykit Program from the outset.

14. Sustainability

The sustainability of the program should take into consideration the following elements:

a. Training local storyteller resources

b. Setting up a local storyteller network

c. Duration and extent of training and continued support

KITAB is able to recruit, train, and manage a network of locally based female storytellers who could cover the target region at minimal cost while earning a decent income for themselves. The cost of the program could be subsidized by the sale of storykits to the schools. A detailed proposal in this regard can be submitted if needed.

15. Way Forward

It has been observed and documented during the pilot that the children’s capacity to learn is much higher than the teacher’s capacity to deliver. Given suitable content for ABL programs, children are able to continue self-learning. To maximize the effect of a story-centric ABL initiative like the Storykit Program, the following main recommendations are offered:

a. Teachers to be trained, but retained in the program in a facilitating and supporting role. They can become involved when any pedagogical components based on the ABL activity are being implemented.

b. Children to be trained as storytellers for the effective delivery of the program for the development of their own communication skills and creative abilities.

c. The frequency of the Storykit Program delivery should be increased from once monthly to at least fortnightly until it becomes a weekly feature. It will have a direct impact on the cognitive development and increase in enrollment and retention of students.

A number of other recommendations are proposed below, based on the recommendations of the teachers and students, and what was observed and learned during the pilot initiative. Detailed proposals can be prepared for one of more of the following suggestions if required.

a. Employ Storykit Program in enrollment drive, offering children storykits as incentives for enrolling. Summer Storytelling Camps can be used for enrollment campaigns.

b. Content resource funding for the program (Bilingual Picture Dictionary, Urdu Thesaurus, Urdu Spelling Bee, Tests, and Quizzes).

c. Human resource funding for recruiting, training and managing storytellers.

d. Providing English language versions of the story books included in the storykit to help children pick up more of the language since they already know the story in its Urdu version.

e. Content development support for expanding Storykit Program’s primary school segment and its expansion to Middle School.

f. Developing PBL components for the curriculum in the shape of storykits.

g. An important discovery regarding the program delivery was made during the documentary production: During the course of the pilot, the storytellers had made three visits to each of the government primary schools. These visits included one visit for storytelling and two visits for facilitation. While filming the documentary, an experiment was conducted to observe the results with only one facilitation visit that would involve an evaluation session as well. The results were encouraging as all children prepared the story and their level was engagement was high. This discovery was an important feature of this documentary. It is recommended that in the future, one storytelling session and one facilitation and evaluation session are programmed. It will save expense on resource employment. It is hoped that with prolonged exposure to the Storykit program, theatrical societies will emerge in the schools with the involvement of the students and teachers.

16. Documentary “Piloting Storytelling in Muzaffargarh”

At the end of the project, a short documentary of 5 minute 45 second duration was produced to visually record the program methodology, how children participated in the activity, and the enthusiasm shown by the pupils and teachers for the program. The following storytellers participated in the exercise:

1. Naeem Ansari

2. Naveed Gondal

3. Gulshan Majeed

4. Farhad Riaz

Project Lead Musharraf Ali Farooqi directed a two-member camera crew, a sound technician, and the storytellers to film the documentary over four days from 09 July 2019 to 12 July 2019 at the following six NFBE centres. The NFBE centres were chosen to film the documentary as the government primary schools had already closed down for summer vacations.

1. NFBE Centre, Basti Lashari

2. NFBE Centre Masmaan Wala

3. NFBE Centre Basti Khananwala

4. NFBE Centre, Rind Baloch

5. NFBE Centre, Basti Marha

6. NFBE Centre, Basti Korai Baloch

Annexure 1: Teachers’ Post Project Assessment of Storykit Program

1. What were the major improvements you saw in the children as a result of the Storykit Program?

The teachers' replies are put together here:

* Children developed self-confidence through narrating stories

* Children took interest in the story

* Children started showing interest in their studies because of this program

* Children started memorizing their lessons.

* Children’s cognitive abilities improved

* Children’s reading skills improved as a result of listening to stories

* They learned difficult words

* Children were able to memorize the story quickly

* Children’s knowledge increased and they learned new things

* Children became competitive

* Their spelling improved.

* Children memorized the story rather than learning it by rote

* Enrollment has increased

* The attendance has increased. Children have realized that the storytelling session could happen at any time and they don’t want to miss it.

* Children’s cognitive ability has increased.

* The story from Storykit 2 was not narrated in the class but the children read it themselves and also learned how to play the game from the given instructions.

* Children’s creativity developed.

* The children became more active.

*Children narrated the stories with expressions

*A greater number of students started attending the school

* Children’s communication skills improved

* Children have developed the courage to speak before others.

* Children bonded better with each other because of the program.

* Teamwork developed among children

* Children narrate the story to each other and if someone makes a mistake they correct it. And in this manner learning has improved.

*A friendly environment developed

* The school became a fun place for children to visit

* Children from one school motivated the children from other schools to come for the storytelling session.

* The program provided fun and learning together

* A teacher noted that the most important element is to get children to perform before others. A pupil has to bridge a huge divide over a long period of time before he becomes a performer, which was accomplished in the Storykit Program with children telling stories. With this small activity the children covered this huge distance. Children feel motivated to tell the story which is a very positive development.

*The main thing is that along with the children’s self-confidence their listening skills have also improved. Their communication skills have improved a lot and they have learned how to express their thoughts.

2. Did you notice any change in your relationship with the children on account of the Storykit Program?

93% of the teachers replied YES to this question. Their replies are put together here:

* A friendly relationship has developed between teachers and students

* The children are now very attentive when listening.

* The children no longer fear the teacher

* The children now ask questions of teachers, without hesitation.

* The bond between pupils and teachers has become stronger

* The interaction between teacher and students has increased.

3. Did you notice the people in your community show any interest in stories and storytelling after the Storykit Program? If YES what kind of interest did they show?

80% of the teachers replied YES to this question. Their replies are put together here:

* The community members asked that storytelling also be organized for their children.

* The community members showed their approval when they witnessed their children narrating stories at home.

* The children from the neighborhood come to the school demanding storykits for themselves, and parents demand storykits for their children.

* Girls’ mothers came specially to ask for any additional storykits I might have and other children are also coming to school so that they can get the Storykits when I distribute them. So I’m giving the storykits to those who are enrolling and those who bring their siblings, and I also gave a box to the mother who asked for one.

* Some parents asked for a storykit for their child, who they said was not interested in studying, and they said that if I gave him one, he’d come to school.

* People have shown interest in their children studying.

* The community has shown interest as their children now come to the school happily.

* Girls from grades 9 and 10 also came and asked the primary teacher for storykits.

* Some parents promised that their children will come to the school regularly if we let them have the storykits.

* The children narrated the stories to their parents and told them about the storytelling event. Thus the parents of children who had not been attending the school demanded storykits for them.

* The children proved themselves good storytellers and actors to the community.

* There are some children in the school whose parents are educated. They complained, thinking that I had narrated the story on my own. They said that instead of the characters of the louse and the nit, some more admirable creatures should have been used in the story.

* We had two girls from the Middle School who came especially to listen to the story and get storykits because I told them that the storyteller would come on Wednesday.

* The people in the community have developed consciousness that they should send their children to school.

* The women from the community came to the school and asked for storykits for other children in the house.

* Because of this program, community members have started sending their children to school with more diligence.

* The parents showed interest and they started asking the children about their studies.

4. Did any new children enroll in the program or begin attending the school regularly after the Storykit Program?

93% of the teachers replied YES to this question. Their replies are put together here:

* The children who were not attending school also became regulars

* New children have enrolled

* When the children went home and narrated the story to their friends and cousins, this enticed them and they took admission in the school

*The enrollment campaign was on but in instances where we would usually have two children taking admission, we have seen three children enrolling, and where three would take admission, four have been enrolled.

* Since the day the children have learned that there will be storytelling at the school they have started bringing along their siblings.

* When the children returned home with the storykits and narrated the story to other children, they too came to the school because of their interest in the story. They liked the school’s friendly environment and asked for admission.

* The children from our school motivated them to join by telling them that a storytelling event is organized at our school.

5. How often should the Storykit Program be conducted in your school?

Weekly (66%)

Bi-monthly (13%)

Monthly (20%)

6. What other elements could be added to the Storykit Program?

* Audio-visual aids should be included

* Flash cards should be added to the program

* Story characters on charts should be displayed

* A video presentation should be added

* The program should be made a weekly feature

* Coloring activities should be included

* Children should participate as a group in the game

* Some Islamic teaching should be added in the ABL program

* Refreshments for children should be included

* More time should be allotted to the activity

* Props should be added to the activity

* The importance of prayers and reciting the Quran should be inculcated.

* Games for children

* Theatre and stage performances for children

* Drawing session for children

* The storytellers for the girls’ school should be women.

* * There should be a loud-speaker for schools with large number of children.

* A fixed time should be allotted for the storytelling activity

* It would be better if the storytelling session could be recorded and replayed for children. * Group performance should be included in the program

* If some food could be provided for children with storytelling they will show more interest

* The Urdu lessons should be converted into story format

* Coloring and painting should be added as an activity in this program. The teachers will also get trained in these activities with the children.

7. Would you like to receive further training in storytelling?

86% of the teachers replied YES to this question.

8. Would you prefer the storytelling be done by the teacher or a designated storyteller?

* Storyteller in addition to the teacher (33%)

* Storyteller (33%)

* Teacher (33%)

* A teacher telling the story affects the relationship with the children.

* Either could do it. The teacher should be trained in storytelling because he is available to the children throughout the school time. However, the teacher is unable to tell the story as freely to children because the teacher has a certain relationship with the pupils. The way the storyteller acted while narrating the story a teacher cannot do, even though a teacher may have the capacity for it, and even though he may be trained to do it, as It will affect the relationship he has with the children.

9. Should the STORYKIT program be extended to Middle School?

93% of the teachers replied YES to this question.

Annexure 2: Post Project Assessment by Students (From Grades 3, 4 and 5)

a. What was the best thing about this storytelling program?

It was very good. I could narrate the story.

b. What was not to your liking about this program?

There should be more opportunities for performance and even more stories

c. How can we improve the storytelling activity?

It should be done every week

d. How can we improve the storykit box?

By adding color pencils, crayons, dice, more stories, paper-based games (like origami), pictures, stickers, comics, and ludo.

e. Who should narrate the story: € Teacher € Storyteller € Students should narrate to each other

Students should narrate the stories to each other

f. Would you like to compete in storytelling competitions?

YES

Do you want to become a storyteller?

YES