Storytelling as languaging: the case of Jane
Keywords:dialogic construct, dynamic construct, heterogeneous construct, languaging, storytelling
This paper presents the findings of a case study, which aims to answer the question of whether languaging (i.e. storytelling as a cognitively demanding talk) can improve the cognition of an older adult suffering from multiple sclerosis and living in a long-term care facility. Languaging, the process of using language to make meaning, evokes the views of Bakhtin and Vygotsky on language as a dynamic, heterogeneous and dialogic construct that mediates our relationship with the outside world and, most importantly, shapes our minds in the process of communication. We analyzed the structure of the 10 audio recorded and transcribed sessions between the researcher and the participant for the stories. Focusing on one of the stories told by Jane, the participant, and to the researcher, the analysis shows that Jane was capable of engaging in a cognitively demanding task of telling the story. By doing this, Jane restored her relationship with the outside world; the act of storytelling “pushed” her to produce a more complex language and facilitated a positive cognitive and affective change.
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