This past summer we had an “educational specialist” come and talk about being an effective teacher. Although I agreed with most of what he said, there was one topic that made my hackles rise-story telling as a way of teaching. (I should state that most of us in the room teach in STEM related fields…)…He said that story telling (whether personal or not) took time away from the material that should be covered in the class and actually decreased learning. I was shocked…because I’ve found that telling stories about the topic we’re covering is one of the BEST ways to engage students…I’ll see students long after graduation and usually they remember what they’ve learned in relation to one of the stories I told.
What are your thoughts about the benefit (or not) of incorporating stories into your lectures:
I teach English, so can totally relate to using storytelling in the classroom. I have to teach the students short stories in addition to writing. As such, I always isolate the themes and main concepts and tell interesting stories to illustrate them. That goes over well with the students. As we discuss the assigned stories, they tell some of their own stories. Storytelling helps with their comprehension.