Narrative communication in the teaching and learning process is an act of enhancing attention of learners through storytelling. Scholars have recently focused on the development of narrative approaches to classroom teaching and learning activities so that learners can understand educational experiences. A teacher’s main objective is to encourage learners to be attentive so as to acquire new concepts and information.
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However, a classroom comprises of learners with different traits as well as capabilities. Therefore, the method used by the instructor should be suitable so as to attract the attention of all the learners. One method that can help in achieving this is narrative communication. This paper reviews recent progress on sharing learning through narrative communication.
According to current research, people are readily enticed into a story because it stirs emotions in a convincing manner. Therefore, sharing stories that every learner can identify with could be a powerful educational tool that may have a very suitable place in communication courses that are offered in the university.
For example, teachers of education courses can use narratives to enhance the learning experience and at the same time uphold cohesiveness in the classroom. Moreover, the technique can be used in enabling students acquire development skills needed for them to attain leadership positions.
For a long time now, written narrative has been used for language and moral development. But recently, it has been revived by performance practices where teachers devise means of adopting narratives in order to enhance learning.
Through narratives, learners are now able to appreciate chronology, dilemmas and emotions. Classroom storytelling has mediated knowledge acquisition in various courses in the universities, besides allowing learners to socialize.
Research has also found that teacher development is enhanced through narratives by allowing the teacher to produce their own accounts during teaching (Coste, 1989). In so doing, they are able to reflect and evaluate their own as well as other tutors’ teaching methods and beliefs.
Narrative communication could form the foundation for an entire curriculum because it plays a vital role in memory and internalizing of knowledge. Educators foresee a narrative centered program that pivots the organizational aspects of our inherent cognitive senses for perceiving stories.
This insight has led education scholars into believing that all learning can be carried out within the narrative context. The ability to construct stories in the mind is one of the essential and concrete means of enhancing meaning. When stories are exchanged between the teacher and students, a deeper understanding is achieved.
However, controversies over the use of narratives in sharing learning have been inevitable. For instance, a question has been raised over how computational schemes for narrative can be constructed and be effective in pedagogy. However, scholars and curriculum developers believe that this is not a big problem. All that is required is full involvement of learners when constructing the model.
In addition, there has been a notion that narratives only fit in literature and language arts, but now educators are beginning to understand their importance in other subjects. For example, a narrative could shift mathematics from algorithm to concrete approach of real life problems that require in depth analysis rather than just calculation.
In social studies, chronology could enhance a shift from cramming of facts to persuasive understanding of historical occurrence of events (Perkins, & Blyer, 1999). In the past, scholars have engaged in comparison of expository teaching methods versus the narrative technique. The table below compares narrative and expository communication in sharing learning.
|Narrative communication represents a teacher centered description of a series of activities with the main focus being on students’ participation.||Expository is a teaching style that is student centered. Learners are required to carry out research based on instructions given.|
|The use of narrative involves emphasis on explanation of facts and figures. This encompasses the use of personal stories, cultural texts and biographies.||Expository emphasis on the use of facts and formulae as given in the curriculum, to analyze data.|
|Narrative represents an emphasis on in-depth understanding of concepts. It discourages rote learning||Expository emphasizes on the use of algorithm in problem solving. This might encourage rote learning|
In conclusion, narrative could be a very powerful method of teaching, which if properly developed maybe more motivating than the expository teaching method.
However, there is an urgent need of coming up with a tangible model explaining how narrative communication can be implemented so as to become an integral part in teaching-learning activities. In addition, educators should be creative and should embrace the use narrative communication so as to enhance understanding of classroom content (Herman, Jahn, & Ryan, 2005).
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Coste, D. (1989). Narrative as communication. Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Herman, D., Jahn, M., & Ryan, M. (2005). Routledge encyclopedia of narrative theory. New York, NY: Routledge.
Perkins, J., & Blyler, R. N. (1999). Narrative and professional communication. Iowa, IA: Ablex Publishing Corporation.