Storytelling in Teaching and Learning
Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, teachers told tantalizing, creative stories that piqued the interest of the novice mind into applying and learning challenging concepts in various domains. These stories ignited a light that formed lasting memories so that they could be applied to solve everyday problems, ensure survival, and pass on this wisdom to other generations.
Stories are not just for literary narratives but can be used to illustrate even the most complex and abstract concepts (e.g., math and science). According to Bruner (1986), "[Narrative] deals in human or human-like intention and action and the vicissitudes and consequences that mark their course. It strives to put its timeless miracles into the particulars of experience and to locate the experience in time and place." Stories engage our thinking, emotions, and imagination all at once. As listeners we participate in the story with both mind and body as we enter the narrative world and react to it. Storytelling is a human art form that teaches about the human experience. As such, subjects even like math and science, are not outside the world of human experience or the art of storytelling. They are woven into the fabric of our lives in ways of which we may not be aware. Stories help teachers reach novices in ways they cannot with other dry, rote, deductive strategies. They bring disparate information to life in a meaningful and connected way.