10 Comments

  1. Jill

    I’m a believer!
    More thoughts on this:
    1) My students say my stories are why they like being in my class every day; that enhances their affective learning.
    2) They listen more attentively because they don’t want to miss my “tangents”.
    3) Their favorite stories (and mine too) are the ones that expose falsehoods in their history/LA books. (Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, Paul Revere, and Molly Pitcher were hot topics this year.)
    4) Students are talking to their parents more about what they’re learning in school because they remember the learning and it’s interesting to both parties; that enhances the home/school connection.

    • Giselle Pempedjian

      Very interesting points, Jill!
      Your last point is very important because it gives opportunities to open up communication and discussions at home. This feature, sadly, is rare due to mainly digital gadgets and life pressure and hurdles.
      Hope parents still have to and patience to listen to what their kids have to share with them.
      Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher and as any other role you provide them!
      Regards,
      Giselle

  2. Completely agree that my favorite teachers were the best storytellers. Sometimes, I think it’s also that those were the stories I wanted to hear, that I connected to most easily. The teacher that can tell different types of stories can often have a greater impact because of the number of student they can reach.

    Your blog made me think about Chimamanda Adichie and Christopher Emdin. Adichie talks about the danger of a single story in her TEDTalk, connecting to Jill’s point that we pine for stories that challenge those we have heard before. Emdin explains the importance of bringing the classroom to life; his talk, titled “Teach teachers to create magic” emphasizes that how we tell our stories, how we engage our students is essential.

    I wish someone taught me how to be a better storyteller (not just how to write stories) but how to tell them, speak them, to connect with an audience. It is a powerful teaching, and learning, skill.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

    https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_emdin_teach_teachers_how_to_create_magic

  3. Sara Jacobovici

    Important post and site. Your focus and topic is one that is close to my heart. I, too, believe that the act of storytelling is a central part of who we are. Stories help make sense of our world and our place in it and we define ourselves by a story within time. We create stories; verbally, oral and written, and non-verbally, through movement/dance, visual symbols and signs/visual arts, and sound making/music. Where there is life, in any form, there is communication. But only humans tell stories.

  4. Great post, thanks! My mentor and dear friend used to always tell me–when I was a beginning teacher and desperate for advice about what to teach tomorrow–tell them a story! How right he is…students love the stories. Check out “The Privileged Status of Story” by cognitive psychologist Daniel T. Willingham.
    https://www.aft.org/periodical/american-educator/summer-2004/ask-cognitive-scientist
    I also wrote about telling stories in a past blog post.
    http://ushistoryideas.blogspot.com/2014/12/biography-and-history-rockefeller-and.html

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