Exploring storytelling practices of urban mothers
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The obiective of the study was to explore the practice of storytelling by urban mothers in Dhaka city. Two separate groups of participants - mothers in slum and middle class - were selected in Goran area under Khilgaon thana. The particular study explored the nature of storytelling, what the mothers thinks about it, what kind of stories they tell, whether the practice varies based on different strata of the society, how this is contributing to the mental and language development of the children, and what the children themselves think about it. The study followed qualitative approach. Focus group discussions (FGDs), indepth interviews with mothers and interviews with children were the methods used for data collection. Two FGDs were conducted with mothers selected from slum areas and middle class separately. Three in-depth interviews with mothers of each group were conducted while three children from each group were interviewed. Since the children interviewed are under age, their guardians were consulted beforehand. The study findings are organized under four themes according to the research objectives: 1) Prevalence of storytelling as a common practice among urban mothers; 2) Types of stories urban mothers frequently relate to their children and the time they relate; 3) Stories urban mothers relate and their contributions to child,s learning and development; and 4) Urban mothers' knowledge on the importance of storytelling to child development. It is found that urban mothers tell stories to their children but on irregular basis' only 40% mothers (both slum dwellers and middle-class mothers) tell stories to their children and the practice is much lower for slum mothers (slum mothers- 2g5% & middle-class mothers- 50oh).Nevertheless, mothers tell stories more frequently than any other member in the family. Folk stories, real life stories, religious stories and childhood stories mostly occupy the list of stories related to children. Data also supports that mothers pick up different kinds of stories based on their background and objectives. Slum mothers and middle class mothers have different choice in selecting folk and real life stories. Both groups of mothers practice oral storytelling, though it is the only means of slum mothers to share stories with their children. Gender consideration in selecting stories is present in both the group of mothers. Children also show their interests towards the gender stereotype stories. Analysis of the stories shows that the stories mothers select contribute to the children's learning and development, such as mental, language and emotional development. Storybook reading enhances the home literacy environment which is practiced only by a few middle class mothers (3 out of g). Slum mothers do not practice it at all. Data supports that mothers have knowledge about the importance of storytelling but do not practice it regularly. The study also found that watching cartoons on television occupy a major portion of time that should be allocated to storytelling' Though mothers are aware about the negative impact of cartoons on children, living in the modern age, they are reluctant to discourage their children from watching TV.