Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Storytelling - the Baruch Symposium

What a great pleasure it was to meet the folks at the Baruch Symposium. From the facilitation dinner through to the final drink(s) on Friday night, I anticipate the inspirations and aha! moments will carry many of us through till we meet again next year. As I promised those at the event, I’m broadly sharing the concepts from Table 8.
For those of you who were at my table, thank you for being so generous with your ideas and stories.
Themes & Actions from Table 8
Stories are:
·         Drivers & motivators
·         Reflective of role models & mentors
·         A means for teachers to teach themselves
·         As we explore our own learning in stories, we can teach each other
·         Includes the dialectics of learning and teaching
·         Form community – e.g. bilingualism; new alliances; deepening existing relationships
·         Confirmation of memory
·         As a child learns to talk = memory is created
·         Stories bind experiences into a life
·         Story is recognition of self and others
·         Provide a sense of history, perspective, broad context – all lacking in today’s education
·         Stories help us get through the ‘noise’
·         It is the nature of narrative to present the human need – not as the only form of explanation/presentation but to show development; if nothing happens there is no story.
·         Stories make up our personal mythologies
·         Story is about self & what I know and how I hope it relates to you
·         Story can be fodder for ethnography studies

Things we can do to enhance storytelling and its effects:
1.    Read stories to groups (in educational settings)
2.    Choose a story of a historical figure and add your personal story and talk through how the two stories relate to each other
3.    Expand Digital Storytelling to be common tool
4.    Ask what the student/ listener’s role/presence  is /could be in the narrative – position the listener as the narrator
5.    Acknowledge competency
6.    Share the stories of others – pass them on deliberately
7.    Create shared narratives with multiple narrators & perspectives
8.    Don’t limit storytelling or change to 9-5pm or Kindergarten to B.A. – make learning a lifelong expectation
9.    Start storytelling in the smallest unit possible: 2 employees or 2 students
10.  Offer training for listening and decoding stories
11.  Students are not deficient if they don’t accept our stories – accept this “otherness”
12.  Capture the “aha!”s of the day /week /month in story archives
13.  Use wordle for story visuals
14.  Develop therapy around story

I also include the notes from my colleagues who were in attendance at other tables. You can see the similar themes:
  • Storytelling helps you connect with people as individuals and professionals
  • Storytelling helps you to be credible and trusted…through your effective use of communication
  • Repeating someone else’s story has merit because you hear/remember different aspects of the story;
  • People begin to intently listen/be actively engaged when the story has humor, danger, emotion, etc.
  • Repeating stories helps listeners remember the important “morale of the story”
  • Be as transparent as possible when answering questions…prepare for possible questions that might open the door too wide to information for the listener.  There is a way to answer the question, so that the person feels heard without giving away the “missile launch codes.”
·         Simplicity and brevity; the more complex the story the less respect it gets
·         Tell the story to guide the listener; storytelling can also help the listener be a better listener
·         Manage engagement with the listener; responses / reactions may vary i.e. intellectual / emotional

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