Creative Storytelling Techniques for Teachers of Young Learners


Ever since humans used cave drawings, we have been telling stories. The tradition was strengthened through oral story telling, which later developed into a written form.

Throughout the 5 modules of this course we will explore how the basic nursery rhyme and the, more complex, children's tale can be exploited. For the young (and very young) learner of English, these forms can be both entertaining and educational. For the English language teacher they can be a rich source of language and topics to be utilised in the classroom, in multiple ways, that can help to remove the focus away from a traditional way of teaching. They can also be a useful tool to assist in the acquisition of language.

The modules will include some theory behind how rhymes and stories can be of use in the young learner's ELT classroom, along with a focus on linguistic and non-linguistic learning opportunities. There will also be suggestions for how teachers can use rhymes and storytelling to springboard into cross-curricular topics at the primary level.

Course Objectives:

During this course you will:

  • recognise the usefulness of rhymes and stories
  • consider how they can be used to teach the 4 skills
  • identify other linguistic skills that can be taught by them
  • compare different topics that young learners can introduced to through rhymes and stories

Programme details

Course structure:

The summer course comprises an introductory session and five content modules delivered over a three-week period.

There will be two live tutor-led interactive workshops each week, as well as a number of engaging asynchronous tasks that you complete in your own time.

The asynchronous part of your course will allow you and your fellow participants to extend the learning from the live sessions. Typically, this will include follow up quizzes, extra readings and materials. You will also benefit from opportunities to discuss aspects of each session with your peers in pairs and in small groups, allowing you to reflect on how you might tailor the content of each session to your own teaching context. 

We expect you to devote at least 5 hours each week to your course. Outside the scheduled live sessions, you can study at times that are most convenient for you.

We have capped class sizes at 25 students to maximise opportunities for interaction. 


During your two weekly live workshops, you will be expected to participate actively in discussions and exchanges with your tutor and fellow participants. You will be encouraged to continue your discussions through additional online interaction throughout your course.

The first day of your course will begin with an introductory session to introduce you to the structure, expectations, and goals of an Oxford Teachers' Academy course. You then follow a series of five modules over three weeks.

All times are UK time (UTC+1).

Introductory Session - Monday 06 July 2.30pm

Module 1: Telling Tales - Thursday 09 July 2.30pm

  • The power of stories for young learners
  • Leading to language acquisition
  • Motivating factors 

Module 2: The 4 skills - Tuesday 14 July 2.30pm

  • How the 4 skills can be taught through rhyme / stories
  • Why they are a suitable tool
  • A stepping stone to language

Module 3: Other linguistic competencies - Friday 17 July 2.30pm 

  • Melody, tone and mood
  • Remembering language
  • Predictive skills

Module 4: More than just language - Monday 20 July 2.30pm

  • Harnessing creativity
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Intercultural understanding

Module 5: From fairy tales to the real world - Friday 24 July 2.30pm

  • Teaching about the world around us
  • Encouraging critical thinking
  • Cross-cultural possibilities


Oxford Teachers’ Academy courses are certified by the Department for Continuing Education. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, course participants must submit an Evidence of Learning Journal  which will be evaluated against established criteria. If all criteria are met, participants will receive an electronic Certificate of Completion within six weeks of submitting their journals.

You will also receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance on successful completion of each OTA online summer course.


Description Costs
06-24 July: Creative Storytelling Techniques £280.00


The Department is, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships or reduction in fees for the Oxford Teachers’ Academy online courses at present.


Zarina Subhan


Zarina Subhan is a highly experienced teacher trainer who has been working in the field of ELT for almost 30 years. She has taught students of all levels in both private and government institutions in the UK and in a number of different countries. She specialises in critical thinking skills, student autonomy and CLIL, using these in her methodology to teach or train. She has worked with schools, colleges and universities, NGOs, policy makers, community leaders, and local government in a variety of training contexts.


Please click on 'Book Now' to reserve a place.

Subject to the availability of places, the closing date is 12pm on Friday 03 July 2020.

Further course information notes will be emailed to participants shortly before the start of the summer school.

Any queries?

Please contact the Programme Administrator by email at

Level and demands

It is expected that participants will have some experience of teaching English language.

This course is intended for primary school teachers.

All participants must speak English to a minimum of a high B2 CEFR level of proficiency.

IT requirements

This programme is delivered online. To participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.