Learning Through the Traditional Tale: An Holistic Approach to Work with Groups and Individuals in Therapy, Education, Empowerment and Dialogue

By Shai Schwartz, Yehuda Bar Shalom and Tamar Ascher Shai.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper we present Shai Schwartz’s approach to creating opportunities for learning and group dialogue for social change, bridging diversity through the use of traditional storytelling and role playing. In this digital age of electronic media, we at times find ourselves at loss with events as they control us instead of us controlling them. We strive to understand our social interactions through the use of rational thought and find ourselves overwhelmed with conflicts. Since the beginning of human time the story has been the basic communication tool among people. It has been stirred and evoked by the ever-compulsive human need to make sense of reality, connect the next generation to the tribal heritage and celebrate life. The traditional tale and its most fascinating story form of mythology with its magical thinking plunges us into the realm of the subconscious. Carl Jung maintains that myths are revelations of the preconscious psyche, involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings. The authors show and explain how the use of tale and role playing in the context of group work brings up very deep processes offering the group and each individual a wealth of understanding and learning.

Keywords: Group Work, Story Telling, Holistic Approach to Education

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.107-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 579.494KB).

Shai Schwartz


Origanilly from proffesional theater and storytelling, studied group facillitation, education , performance art therapy and geshtalt and began integrating storytelling and role playing in developing models of intervention in dialogue between identities in conflict, cultural and social empowerment and therapy. He facillitates the Jewish –Arab conflict and works in Israel, Europe and the USA in cultural dialogue and empowerment. For the last 10 years has been cooperating witrh Sheila Melzak from the “Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture” in London in therapeutic work with young asylum seekers. Teaches a course in The Symbolic Tale as Tool Of Intervention With Groups And Individuals”

Prof. Yehuda Bar Shalom

Chair, Education Department, The David Yellin College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel

Dr. Bar Shalom has done research in the following topics: Arab Jewish relations, religious and secular encounter in Israel, relations between ethnic groups in Israel, Changes in Israeli society, culture and education, Israel Diaspora relations and multicultural education. In addition to his position as Chair of Education at the David Yellin College in Jerusalem, Yehuda teaches the core course in Jewish Education at Tel Aviv University’s Overseas school. Yehuda is co-founder of the Network for social entrepreneurship together with Jerusalem’s municipality, and he is very active in Jewish/Arab dialogue.

Dr. Tamar Ascher Shai

Lecturer and Fieldwork supervisor, Department of Early Childhood Education, The David Yellin College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel

I was born in the US, raised in Switzerland, studied for my first two degrees in the States, and finally found my home in Israel. The need for creativity, innovativeness and charisma in working with young children is the same all over the world, and I am excited about finding new ways to help teachers in training to discover and develop these traits in themselves. As a teacher trainer and fieldwork supervisor I have the opportunity to work on a very personal level with my students, and delight in seeing the changes and growth in them throughout their studies. The past two years I have been the Head of the Early Childhood department, but resigned once I realized that the administrative demands threatened to extinguish my passion for education. Outside of the Teacher’s College I am a karate instructor in an organization for women in the martial arts in Israel, and when the spirit moves me, I love to write poetry.


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