Stories make any information organic for perception, which is why storytelling is a powerful teaching tool with which any teacher can achieve the main goal of getting his message across to students in a compelling way. Stories excite the imagination, resurrect emotions, and gain trust, they serve to ensure that the listener is ready to receive information. Simply put, the stories speak to the heart, and once it has been conquered, the mind is open to learning. In this article, we will look at the main benefits of storytelling in the learning process.
Why Storytelling Works: The Science Behind It
Humans have an innate ability to make up stories. We tell them to pass on our beliefs, traditions, culture, and other values to the next generations. Storytelling is the earliest form of education. Two main reasons make storytelling such a powerful pedagogical tool:
- Storytelling creates context, thereby facilitating memorization. Our brains have a hard time remembering numbers, data, or facts out of context. If we get the same information with context, then we organize, understand, and remember it much easier, because context allows us to visualize data, turning complex, abstract or random information into easy to understand. You can offer introduction activities for students using storyboardthat.com.
- Stories evoke emotions and build trust between people. Man is a social being. Our survival and happiness depend on other people, so nature has endowed us with the ability to read the emotional state of our fellow tribesmen: they are evil or kind, dangerous or safe, friends or enemies. In addition to the protective function, this mechanism allows you to form relationships and build connections with other people.
Simplicity and Clarity
As a rule, the teaching of any academic discipline is a presentation of facts or theories in a dry and ornate language. The consequence of such a presentation is the loss of students’ interest in the subject and the difficulty in understanding it. Let’s take two expressions as an example:
- bacteriophage replication begins by introducing a viral nucleic acid into the bacterium;
- viruses can make more copies of themselves by putting their DNA into bacteria.
The first phrase is taken from the textbook, and the second is its revised version, said in simple words. Which wording do you think is easier for students to understand? The answer is obvious. So the advice to all educators is to ditch the high-sounding slang and extreme precision, and instead, tell a simple story that will give students the context they need to understand more complex information.
Main Characters Similar to the Audience
Characters are the heart of any story. At the same time, it is important to remember that only heroes similar to us can arouse keen interest and sympathy.
Therefore, in educational storytelling, the main character should be as similar as possible to the students. If the story has the character of an allegory, the characters may not be people, but, for example, animals, aliens, or inanimate objects.
To interest listeners, any story should have a plot where the main character triumphs over painful adversity. Four main storylines are suitable for educational storytelling.
When using storytelling as part of the real pedagogical activity, it is essential to remember that the task of the teacher is not just to captivate students with a colorful story, but to teach them something. To have the desired effect, the story has to be related to the learning objectives. Those play a secondary role, being only an attractive wrapper that creates the right context.
Vibrant Touch Details
Educators do not have a multi-million dollar budget to create special effects that can capture the imagination of students. This is not necessary. To recreate scenes, settings, characters, and events, it is enough for the narrator to use non-banal words and figurative comparisons.
Scientists experimented and found that the metaphors used in stories to describe movement, smell, or texture stimulate the corresponding brain regions of the listener as if they were experiencing the described experience in reality.
Props and Dialogues
Good storytelling should be emotional. To prevent the narration from being boring and linear, the teacher can include demonstration elements (simple props) in his story, as well as dialogues of different characters.
Learn to tell stories, learn through storytelling, so you can put any important ideas into the hearts and minds of other people.