In this age of online advertising and marketing, new storytellers can be overwhelmed and concerned about where to spend their money to learn about storytelling. To assist newcomers in navigating the myriad of ads, the National Storytelling Network, at the behest of member requests, began to examine a way to accredit individuals and organizations that teach the art of oral storytelling in non-degree programs.
In 2019 the NSN Board of Directors approved a committee to research and develop a system of accreditation. The committee identified a process of review that includes 1) an application that demonstrates the scope of instruction, 2) criteria for acceptance, and 3) a framework for reviewer recommendation. The process validates that the applicant teaches what is advertised, is responsive to the students, and has ethical financial and teaching practices.
The committee tested the proposed accreditation process with two pilots. In November 2019, the programs completed the review process successfully and will eventually receive certificates that indicate accreditation by NSN. Both programs were positive about the experience and found the review process helpful:
“Acknowledgement by a professional organization is a boost to our organization that depends on donations or grants. The accreditation builds awareness among our own volunteers that there is so much more to storytelling than our organization. In addition, the application process helped us to carefully look at course objectives and demonstrate how we teach toward those outcomes.”
Maria Medina, Ed.D., Spellbinders Executive Director
“It was exciting to be part of this new [NSN] program and help participate in its shaping and first iteration.”
Jim Brule, Transformative Storytelling
What is NSN Accreditation?
Storytelling educators actively seek accreditation and the National Storytelling Network has answered this need. The purpose of this accreditation process is not to require instructional standards or outcomes, but to determine if providers are indeed doing what they claim. The process is different than certification for performance of standards and different than coursework for academic credit.
The review process is implemented by established storytellers who have experience in storytelling instruction. The process enriches and promotes programs that are reviewed and helps to form a valuable resource for our membership and others to choose when deciding on storytelling education.
Who should apply?
- If you are a storyteller educator that shares classes with storytellers or non-storytellers, apply.
- If you are a narrative expert that uses storytelling classes to help businesses grow, apply.
- If you have developed a storytelling community with classes, apply.
- If you want others to know about your storytelling programs, apply.
- Applicants are individual or organizational members of NSN. If you’d like to apply and are not a current member, consider joining!
Benefits of NSN Accreditation
- The process provides an opportunity to self-evaluate the impact of instruction.
- The accreditation is an acknowledgment by a national organization of peers and mentors.
- The accreditation validates approaches to the delivery of storytelling instruction.
- Applicants receive a certificate valid for 5 years that can be used in advertising or to show recognition.
- Applicants receive feedback from a reviewer with professional storytelling experience and can request continuing feedback at least twice during the five years after accreditation.
- NSN will acknowledge those who receive accreditation on the national website.
Because the NSN Accreditation is self-sustaining, there is an application fee of $350.00. This fee is used to reimburse professional storytellers who review the application and to pay for supplies, postage, and the certificate.
If you are interested in applying for accreditation, you can download the application here. Instructions are included in the application and questions can be directed to Kathy Santopietro on the Accreditation Committee at .
The following storytelling education providers have successfully completed the National Storytelling Network Accreditation process and have received certificates valid for five years.
Spellbinders® is a volunteer organization founded with the purpose of enhancing literacy, encouraging character development, and building intergenerational community through oral storytelling. Twelve chapters in Colorado, 1 in Virginia and 1 in New York train volunteers to share stories on a regular basis in elementary schools. Maria Medina and Lead Trainers submitted the standardized Spellbinders Volunteer Training curriculum and delivery system. NSN Accreditation was granted in November 2019.
Transformational Storytelling is dedicated to developing participant skills and spiritual depth as a transformational storyteller: someone who inspires others to change through stories and spiritual guidance. The program has foundations in the Jewish tradition of maggidut: the art and practice of being a spiritual storyteller. Emphasis is placed on inspiration and spirituality from a multitude of perspectives, not a solitary point of view. Jim Brule submitted the application focusing on “The Main Program” for NSN review and was granted Accreditation in January 2020.
Periwinkle Communications is a Singapore consulting business that is dedicated to Speech & Drama, Storytelling, and Individual Drama Coaching. Louisa Ong submitted one of the storytelling workshops, On the Same Page, as a representative sampling of offerings illustrating training format and delivery systems. NSN Accreditation was granted in November 2020.
Storytelling Academy by StoryLab is the first such training in Croatia established as a result of many years of intensive work, experience and good practice of renowned local lecturers, mentors, experts, and artists involved in storytelling. Education at the Academy of Storytelling is based on the theoretical and practical acquisition of communication, interpretation, and presentation skills of students at the highest level of professional quality. Education at the Academy lasts two years and is conceived through two programs: The Art of Storytelling and Business storytelling. NSN accreditation for these programs was granted in October 2021.