The art of story telling
Willy A Renandya – 29 November 2021
You may be wondering if this post has anything to do with our job as a language educator. Read on and you will find out why.
There is ample evidence, both empirical and experiential, that a great teacher is a great story teller. A great teacher uses a story to explain and present contents in the classroom.
Research shows that when difficult contents are presented in a story format, students tend to be more engaged. As a result, they understand the lesson better and remember it longer.
If we looked inside the heads of our students, we’d probably see the neurons inside their brains lighting up brightly and actively making multi-dimensional connections.
When their brains are doing this, we can be sure that our students are engaged in deeper levels of learning, i.e., the kind of learning that is durable and lasting.
What makes a great story?
A great story has at least 4 key elements.
- it is relatable. It is about people, places, events etc that we can relate to. Our brains are wired to look for things that we have experienced before.
- it has novelty. There should be something new, something different, something that we have not heard before. The cells inside our brains start firing in different directions to make predictions, inferences, conjectures, etc.
- it has tension. A story without a problem that creates some sort of tension is not a good story. It is the problem that makes us think and imagine possible solutions
- it is told using a simple language. A great story teller uses language that even grade level students can understand.
In short, stories are a brain-friendly tool that we should use more often to get our key learning points across in the most effective and powerful manner.
Are you a good story-teller?