Story-Based Learning: The Why

‘Tell us a story! Please?’ 

This desperate plea has been on the lips of children for generations, although, in this era, perhaps, it has morphed into ‘can we watch another show!?’ 

Yet beyond mere entertainment value, story-telling remains an art form. Its power is unparalleled in the ability to capture our hearts and imaginations. Think back to the books you consumed as children. Now try and recall a point from a lecture you received growing up. Which one was easier (and more enjoyable) to remember? 

Stories lie at the heart of what it means to be human. Stories are how we communicate and make sense of our existence and reality. Stories form our identity, shape the way we view the world and engage our hearts like no other form.

Let me tell you a story: 

“Two daughters are born into the same family. The mother returns to work as a doctor when they are young, putting in long hours at the hospital. The first daughter grows up nursing a chip of abandonment. ‘My mother never really cared for me,’ she tells herself, ‘she was always distracted by other people.’ The second daughter works hard, puts herself through medical school, eventually becoming a doctor like her mother. ‘My mother is my hero,’ she admits, ‘I always admired how she gave her life for others.’”

Two daughters. Two stories. Two very different lives. We see even in this short tale that story is a crucial element of wellbeing. Those who have the ability to reframe negative events in their lives as areas of growth or find a redemptive factor in the story tend to have higher levels of happiness and wellbeing. 

Story-Based Learning recognises and celebrates a hope-fuelled reality. It is a holistic, learner-centred, transformative approach to learning that intentionally designs experiences to encourage the development of strengths (character) and the transformation of life-stories (identity) as students build their competency (skills and understanding) to serve the world.  

By using story as the central metaphor for student learning we promote student engagement, put the student at the centre of the learning experience and enable a Christian school to authentically connect the knowledge and skills of the required curriculum to the missional and kingdom hope of our faith.

We learn from the Ultimate Story-Teller. When Jesus emerged onto this planet and spent three years pursuing his mission of communicating the Truth of God to humanity, he didn’t set up a lectern. Instead, he wove provocative and challenging stories like the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and the sheep and the goats. Stories that wriggled into the hearts of those who had ears to hear, and have changed millions of lives as a result. 

If you only had one tool to make the world a better place, what would you use?

Interested in Story-Based Learning? We’re creating a spotlight series to highlight what makes this innovative approach to education so powerful. Check out the first instalment in the series: ‘The Beginning‘.


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