Creative Teaching




Stories and storytelling

We are all natural storytellers. We love listening to stories; we tell stories and we create stories. Some of us write them down, others share them through text, images, play and others create pictures, objects or models to visualise their stories, some of them in the digital world as technology has become easy to use and no longer requires advanced technical expertise.

We all enjoy stories as we recognise that these bring us closer together and we learn about ourselves, others and the world around us. We share experiences through stories but also our fears, emotions, dreams, ideas, understanding and knowledge. Stories excite us and trigger emotional reactions. They can be a really powerful and versatile tool for learning and teaching in higher education.

Stories for learning

A good story seems to facilitate listeners and the teller in moving around in the psychological space of the story, guided by the unfolding of actions of the story. For the listener to allow herself vicariously to experience the “story world” involves her in “suspending her disbelief” and thereby suspending some current connections with the here and now. She allows herself to be transported “aboard” the story and many encounter different reality.

(Moon,2010, 60)

Stories are valuable for learning and teaching in many different ways:

  • They enable experiential learning, discovery learning, and also provide a creative way for students to learn together and co-construct knowledge and share their ideas.
  • Stories promote deep student engagement. They enable students to make connections between the known and unknown and link their own experiences with those of others.
  • Stories help students to communicate and construct meaning through reading, listening and learning, especially where there is complexity, simulating experiences and developing reflection, criticality and creativity.
  • Stories will also help students discuss, debate and make judgements.

In this video, Professor Carol Haigh, Professor in Nursing at MMU, talks about how she uses storytelling with her students

A number of pedagogical approaches, such as Problem-Based Learning, project based learning, game-based learning and LEGO(R) Serious Play(R) for example, make use of stories. Stories can be provided by the teacher or are generated by the students themselves.

If you are interested in using stories with your own students, the next section has some initial ideas that might give you food for thought around how you could do so.

next: Using stories with your students »





CPD Opportunities

Suggested CPD activities:

Engage with the resources about and reflect on what you have discovered and learnt.

Develop your ideas around by considering actions you can take to enhance your practice.

Consider using a portfolio to capture your reflections and share with others.

flex You might want to consider engaging with these activities and gaining CPD experience or academic credits with the FLEX scheme »

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