Story-telling

I just read this story-telling post by @billgx which inspired me to write this post; it’s’ been a while, I know!

Bill’s post has just highlighted the power of stories – something I’ve been tossing around in the old brain for a while.  I thought it best to capture just a few of these thoughts for future use in teaching and learning.

We are always telling stories. Stories don’t have to be oral or written narratives. Just yesterday in my digital photography workshop, I alluded to photos as telling (or capturing) stories. It is sometimes difficult to glean the story depending on the medium used but the story is definitely there.

We enjoy listening to stories. Stories can be affirming with a by-product of connecting the audience to the story-teller – or the content itself.  I still remember when I told a class about Descartes before launching into the Cartesian plane. As a teacher, listening to our students’ stories afford us a glimpse to who they are and knowing students is important for good teaching and learning to happen.  Ditto for students.Here is a story-writing exercise I once did with a class just to get the creative juices flowing:

  1. Give each student a piece of paper.
  2. Everyone starts off with the same line, e.g. “Today as I got to the school gates….
  3. Then, everyone passes the paper to the left (or right) and then write a sentence to continue on.
  4. Continue the round robin, with prompts for introducing the ‘problem’ or ‘resolution’ or ending. 

Make sure you make time to read a few out or perhaps publish the stories. Depending on the age group, it might be necessary to establish some ground rules as you would for anything ‘anonymous’.

This might even be useful in a maths class, e.g. get students to do round-robin solution – each one just does one step. This may drive home the point of the importance of reasoning and ability to follow someone else’s line of thought.

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