There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.-Maya Angelou
Stories…we all have them, but have you ever thought about the power of story? As educators, we want to relate to our students and connect with them. Stories bring people along on your journey. Stories move people to action.
We are built to remember stories much more than figures and data. When we advocate for our ideas, we often use data and figures; however, our brains are wired to resonate with story.
A story is a connected set of events with a beginning, middle and an end. Stories persuade and they move people to action. Stories shape how others see you. Stories are tools of power. People slow down and listen when a story is being told. Listening matters. Stories are the one way to invite people in, to have them not only know you but to get in touch with their own story as well. Good stories ignite emotion.
So much of what we teach students evokes the “Who cares, so what?” response. You know…the math problem that posits someone bought 60 cantaloupes and divided them into thirds. How many did each person receive? Who cares? More likely the question is, “What is wrong with this person that they have 60 cantaloupes?” Our students need to get to the “why” of what they are learning. They need to resonate with the material and care about it.
When we take our students on an engaging journey, we can persuade them. Stories need to have goals. What do you want your audience to think, feel or do at the end of the story? My kindergarten students love stories. They lean in and tune in when a story is being told. They not only listen more attentively to me as I tell a story, but they also listen to classmates who are telling stories.
My students love telling stories on their iPads with Book Creator and Explain Everything. These apps provide them with a platform to share and create. Even students who may not seem overly creative, find a voice when they are sharing stories about themselves.
My story is documented here. I encourage you all to find your own story, but more importantly, think on the importance of story in your school environment and how it may be used to connect deeply with your students. How can you get your own students to tell stories? We live life in narrative. Story isn’t just a good idea….it’s necessary.
So, what’s your story?
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!
images from Creative Commons