I recently attended a lunchtime workshop run by the City Academy on narratives and storytelling based on a performance arts approach. I’m interested in both using the telling of stories or experiences to explain concepts but also in hearing the narratives of students. The basic idea of this is that the use of stories or narratives may help to engage an audience and be more memorable than relating facts.
The Higher Education Academy (2018) states learning through storytelling: “Refers to a process in which learning is structured around a narrative or story as a means of sense-making”.
Some ideas for using this in teaching and training:
- Create an impact for example telling your own story.
- Listen to the narratives of the learning experiences of students.
- Set a scenario or tell the story of a project.
- An embedded narrative can be used to make a memorable point. “This small, storytelling moment was just a fraction of a sense-making constellation that, told across multiple settings and audiences, combined to make an always-evolving whole” (Selland, 2017, p. 245).
Some tips for using the technique:
Have a strong opening to encourage active listening such as: make a bold statement or assertion, ask a question.
Have a logical flow to the narrative: Challenge – Choices (made) – Solution or Conclusion.
Speak clearly and project your voice to increase engagement.
Make eye-contact either around the room or at relevant points with individuals.
Share what you are comfortable with and be self aware and genuine.
On reflection, I realised that I probably use this approach at times in a workshop or training context both by speaking of my own experiences of things I found useful and asking students for their stories and experiences too. Recently, someone told me that they remembered me because I mentioned my experience of studying in a workshop recently and it was something with which they identified too.
Higher Education Academy (2018) Learning through storytelling. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/learning-through-storytelling (Accessed: 04 May 2018).
Selland, M. K. (2017) ‘The edge of messy: interplays of daily storytelling and grand narratives in teacher learning’, Teachers and Teaching, 23(4), pp. 244-261. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2016.1205016.