Saturday, January 14, 2017

Are great teachers great storytellers?

Yes, they are. That was the title of a magazine article by Frank Romanelli on page 93 of the August 2016 issue of the American Journal of Pharmacy Education (Vol 80, No. 6). He said:

“....Have we as teachers forgotten the importance of storytelling? Some speculate that growing demands to teach more to more students alongside the over reliance on PowerPoint presentations and other technologies have led many educators to stray from telling the larger story. Stories are a connected means of presenting and transmitting information. Moreover, information that is presented in a logical and systematic fashion is often easier for students to understand, process, retrieve, and synthesize. Perhaps the greatest strength of storytelling is the naturalness of this mode of information transmission. For most of us, our education started informally through fairy tales, fables, and even family stories.

The effective use of storytelling as a component of teaching may be too often overlooked. Telling the story of a disease, disease state, or any lesson on a micro or macro level may be invaluable to students. The story of a disease helps learners understand circumstances surrounding recognition of an altered health state and the chronological events that shape the pharmacotherapy used to treat or cure. By providing a narrative account, a storyline forces students to better understand the circumstances that lead to drug discoveries, obstacles to treatment, and advantages and disadvantages of specific therapeutic options. A paramount lesson from the narrative is comprehending what leads researchers or clinicians to ask certain questions or make certain hypotheses concerning a disease.”

An image of Story hour in the first grade came from the Library of Congress.

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