Storytelling as an Educational Tool

“The Storyline of Education?” I confess I was skeptical. After teaching for so long, I doubted I’d come across anything really new in the way of usable educational concepts. I’ve long labored to make the classroom an exciting place, I’ve always come to work well prepared and I’ve diligently sought to make my classroom an oasis from the stress inducing negativity that’s such a detriment to learning.

It was just another workshop, it would refresh some concepts for me, perhaps, but I hoped for little beyond that. Happily, I discovered this view to be arrogant and myopic. Even highly innovative teachers not only need to challenge their students to greater learning, but to challenge themselves as well. The new challenge and exciting teaching concept I garnered from this workshop is the incorporation of story telling not merely into the curriculum, but as the curriculum.

Math has long been a subject students view as a necessary evil. While it’s vital, it’s also deadly dull and motivating children to learn it has always presented unique challenges. The workshop has given me a fresh and truly unique perspective. How would Steven King or Stephen Spielberg structure this unit? It’s an intriguing question and requires me to think outside the box. The concept of constructing a curriculum plan that unfolds the information as a narrative is intriguing.

How would Alfred Hitchcock approach the history of the American Revolution? What would John Grisham do with the Scopes monkey trial? What kind of epic musical would Andrew Lloyd Webber create out of this week’s social studies lesson about the California missions and can I stage my vision of it with my fourth graders and overcharge their parents to see it? What would Frank Capra do with my reading lesson plan to make it a feel – good classic?

How would this science lesson becoming a dazzling experience if the class were being taught by J.K. Rowling? How do I put a “Who’s On First?” spin to this lesson about irregular verbs? The answers aren’t easy, but the questions mean I have an exciting new tool to add to my educational arsenal.

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