Access your internal harddrive for a second. Scan your brain and ask your own memory: “what’s the greatest teaching experience I’ve ever had?”. This might be a tough question, because it’s hard to judge successful teaching. Is it based on how much you learned? How fun the teacher made it? Ultimately, it comes down to being memorable – but what makes teaching worth, well, remembering?
We predict that, more often than not, the story behind a lesson can be more influential in its sticking power than anything else.
Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching. It brought early human communities together, giving children the answers to the biggest questions of creation, life, and the afterlife.
Stories define us, shape us, control us, and make us. Not every human culture in the world is literate, but every single culture tells stories.
So how can you incorporate storytelling into the learning you deliver? Here’s our top tips:
- Open with a hook: It’s what the pros call an ‘inciting incident’. You can hook the reader in by presenting a problem that encourages them to continue.
- Keep it simple: Complicated stories aren’t necessarily better. Profound impact is often found when you take a complex idea and reduce it to a nugget that can be remembered.
- Set the scene: Creating an environment for your story is crucial. Make it one that relates to the overall picture of what you’re teaching.
- Make relatable characters: The main character of your story should be relatable to your audience. You want them to root for the character’s choices and decisions – then they’ll feel invested in their outcome.
- Have your story provide an answer to a problem: Every story has a theme or meaning. When you can tell a tale that provides a solution to a problem, it’s more likely that the story will take on a deeper meaning when it solves a problem in real life.
- End strong: Close with an important take away point. The ending is the last thing (duh!) your students will hear.