Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tell Me A Tale

Tell Me a Tale

Or How Storytelling Helps People Learn

Ever been in an interminable lecture where the teacher drones on and on about something? They often spice it up by reading words off of the screen, or asking you to read the words off the screen. From time to time, they even throw in a few pictures to grab your attention. Then end result is, you are glad when the class is over and you retain very little of the information that was presented.

The sad thing is that the information was probably useful and applicable, or even vital, for your professional or personal life.

How does a presenter or teacher overcome this and help your listeners to learn. Or, even more importantly, not get a reputation as "boring" (because if you have that reputation.....)?

The best way I know, is to tell stories.

Remember those learning styles?
  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary(intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study
Storytelling can address the styles that are not addressed in a typical lecture.


 Listeners can see their imagination to see, hear, smell, taste and interact with the stories. And the parts of the brain most vital for learning and retention often cant distinguish between what really happened and what we imagined. Yes, our rational brain knows we were not there, but, as far as other parts of our brain knows, the story could have been us doing the tasks, talking to the people involved, feeling the emotions the person in the story felt.

A good storyteller will help us see the story. A great storyteller will put us in the story and help us engage with it. And that is where we learn.

And, much to my discredit, you could have got this concept much better had I told a tale.

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