Best Practice

The stories we tell: The power of stories in teaching

Storytelling can be incredibly powerful. In this four-part series, Matt Bromley considers how can we use story to improve our teaching, to give shape to our lessons, and to improve student memory. In part one, he explores why stories are so powerful

Story is as old as civilisation.

Before the invention of writing, relatives told each other stories as a means of passing important information down the family tree, and citizens have long used stories as a conduit to convey their society’s values, morals, and customs.

Storytelling has played an important role in every society throughout history. In ancient Greece, storytelling was integral to the culture, with myths and legends passed down from generation to generation. In Medieval Europe, troubadours and minstrels travelled from town to town, telling stories and singing songs.

The earliest forms of storytelling were oral traditions, whereby stories were shared through the spoken word and memorisation. But, with the invention of writing, storytelling took on new forms. Epic poems such as the Iliad and the Odyssey were written down, allowing them to be preserved and more easily shared. In the Middle Ages, stories were often written down in the form of manuscripts, which were painstakingly copied by hand.

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