It is no secret that stories have the power to captivate and engage us. They can transport us to different worlds, introduce us to new characters and experiences, and make the abstract concrete.
It should come as no surprise then that stories can also be used effectively in higher education to help students learn complex concepts, retain information, and see the relevance of what they are learning.
In short, storytelling is a powerful tool that educators can use to enhance student learning. When used in the classroom, stories can help students connect to the material on a personal level and see its real-world applications by drawing on emotions, engaging the imagination, and making difficult topics more relatable and easier to understand.
There are many ways to incorporate storytelling into the classroom. Instructors can tell their own stories, have students tell stories, or use existing stories (such as literary narratives or popular films). No matter what approach is used, the important thing is that the story is relevant to the course material and properly scaffolded so that students can get the most out of it.
Are you looking for ways to incorporate storytelling into your teaching? If so, this guide is for you. We will explore the role it plays in our education, the benefits of using stories in higher education, and a case study on how storytelling is used for education. So let’s dive in!
The role of storytelling in education
Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. It is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of communication. Stories are a way to make sense of our world, share our experiences, and connect with others.
For centuries, stories have been used as a tool for education. In fact, many of the most famous stories – such as fairy tales, fables, and folktales – were originally created for educational purposes to teach moral lessons, convey important cultural values, and instill basic life skills.
While the methods of delivery may have changed over time (from oral storytelling to printed books to digital media), the power of stories to educate and engage remains.
In fact, many educational theorists believe that storytelling is even more important in today’s educational landscape because we now live in a world that is increasingly complex, fast-paced, and driven by technology.
In such an environment, it can be difficult for students to make sense of the information they are bombarded with on a daily basis. Stories can help to slow down the pace, provide context, and make abstract concepts more concrete.
In other words, stories have the power to cut through the noise and help students focus on what is most important. They can also help educators achieve their goals by providing a framework for delivering information engagingly and memorably.
The benefits of using storytelling for a sustainable education
There are many reasons why instructors might choose to use stories in their teaching. Here are just a few of the potential benefits:
1. Use stories to introduce sustainability concepts.
If you’re teaching a course on environmental science, for example, you could begin each class with a short story about someone who is working to protect the environment.
This would help to bring the concepts to life and make them more relatable for your students.
2. Use stories to inspire action.
There are many inspiring stories out there about people who have made a difference in the world.
You could use these stories to motivate your students to take action on sustainability issues.
3. Use stories to engage your students.
If you can make your sustainability course more interactive and engaging, your students are more likely to pay attention and learn the material.
One way to do this is to use storytelling. You could, for example, have your students create their own sustainability-themed stories.
4. Use stories to assess your students.
Rather than using traditional exams and papers, you could assess your students’ understanding of sustainability concepts by having them write and share a story about a sustainability issue.
This would be a more creative and engaging way to assess your students, and it would also give you a better sense of their understanding of the material.
Case study: The power of storytelling in higher education
In 2016, the University of Edinburgh launched a new course called “Global Environmental Change: Past, Present, and Future.”
The course was designed to engage students in conversations about sustainability, and one of the ways it did this was by using stories.
At the start of each class, students would listen to a short story about someone who was working to protect the environment. The stories were chosen to be relevant to the topics being covered in the class, and they helped to bring the concepts to life for the students.
After each story, the students would discuss the key messages and how they related to their own lives. This was a great way to get the students thinking about sustainability issues, and it helped to create a more engaged and interactive learning environment.
Stories have the ability to engage our emotions, thoughts, and imaginations all at once!
They can help us make sense of complex concepts, slow down the pace of life, and provide context for the information we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
If you’re not already using stories in your teaching, we encourage you to give it a try! You might be surprised by the impact it has on your students!