Top 6 Proven Benefits of Using Storytelling as Teaching Strategy that Improves Student Learning

When I spoke of my best life experiences in front of my students, I noticed their eagerness to take part in my piece. They asked questions and they were curious about what happened next. At the back of my mind, well then, my motivation was fantastic! To such a great extent, I was thinking of using storytelling as a teaching strategy.

using storytelling

Photo by Rain Bennett on Unsplash

The magic of storytelling has been experienced for a thousand years and continues to linger in human activities. It has been used for sharing historical events from one generation to the next.  We love stories and so do our young learners. Fundamentally, stories have been part of our existence.

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“Teacher, tell us a story,” I remember my kids claiming in unison! And for this reason, I asked one volunteer to choose a storybook from the shelf, but they claimed for more! “Teacher, can you tell us a true-to-life story about fairies?”  I couldn’t help but laugh at their innocence. As a result, I created a narrative on the spot with all the embellishments I knew about fairies and they all loved it!

My ways of narrating might be so convincing that my students said, “That’s right teacher, I should study my lesson from now on and be good so the good fairies befriend me too!”

Were they entertained?  I am confident that it’s a solid yes! But, I don’t only aim for entertainment. I want my students to earn the benefits of storytelling that will help them become lifelong learners.

Well done folks! That’s my story and I hope you enjoyed it.

Top 6 Proven Benefits of Using Storytelling as a Teaching Strategy

Telling stories from the heart not only captures the listeners’ emotions but also influences their decisions because they get inspired by the listening material.

As per my experience, I say, storytelling is an effective teaching strategy. And if you would ask me why just continue reading below and reap the efficacy of storytelling as a teaching strategy.

1. Increases student engagement

Every story reveals a secret. As you let the cat out of the bag, students are fascinated to listen and to interact with the story.

When an interesting and relevant story is shared, students listen intently. A well-narrated story makes a big difference in students’ engagement. It can have an incredible impact on student motivation and engagement.

Whether the story is taken from a book or it’s a personal experience, if narrated very well, it can have positive effects on student engagement.

As they interact with you during the activity, they make meaning of the story and reflect its relevance to their life experiences.

2. Captures students’ attention

Effective storytelling snaps to attention. It can make students hungry for every piece of the narrative.

Certainly, storytelling does magic because it makes children gather around with their serious countenances. The actions in the narrative keep the young listeners excited about what could be the possible solutions to the conflict.

If students get exactly why a particular story is crafted, they get very interested in how the characters in the story solve the conflict. Hence, they listen attentively.

When you begin narrating, “Once upon a time…” the young children are on their toes and are ready to get into the fantastic world. They wait in awe and they are super excited.

The embellishments in the narrative add to the color of the plot which makes the listening activity a memorable learning experience for the students.

3. Enhances students’ critical thinking skills

As students keep an eye out for every detail in the narrative, they analyze events and try to figure out the relationships of the elements of the story.  They do a careful analysis of information and events in the story as you help them slowly unravel through comprehension.

As students make sense of the context of the narrative, they are given the best opportunity to develop higher-order thinking skills. To boot, some narratives are so colorful that they give an unexpected twist in the denouement which makes students think harder.

In a way, this develops students’ critical thinking skills. The more students get curious about how things in the story can be resolved, the more it positively impacts their cognitive development.

When students think, the more their brains are trained to process information and details.

4. Encourages collaboration

Storytelling is a form of communication. When students interact, they are actually telling a story. Now, if they have something to talk about, they can think-pair-share and dissect the story very well.

If you use storytelling as part of your discussion of complex learning materials, students tend to share their ideas and opinions as they work together in a group. This can be an effective way for them to learn complex content.

5. Develops communication

When students are listening, they get curious about the conflict and so they ask questions. I allow my students to do it because it’s an indication that they are willing to express their thoughts based on the material. In a sense, that is already communicating.

And when we are reading books, there are unfamiliar words along the way that students catch. So, they learn new and difficult words which can be defined through context or by using a dictionary. It’s a perfect addition to their word bank which they can use in daily conversations.

Furthermore, as you narrate, you can ask questions in between to let students predict what will happen next. The process asks students to talk and share their thoughts. And they are already communicating in that way.

6. Inculcates moral values to children

Stories have morals to share. What moral stories do you remember when you were still a child?

Interestingly, stories are among the best ways to help children distinguish what is right and what is wrong.

When the students are able to grasp what the story is all about, they can intelligently tell what the moral of the story is. With that, we are helping them on how to live on the straight and narrow as they grow.

As your students experience the power of storytelling in the classroom, whether it’s used as a springboard to a new lesson or a supplement to abstraction, students are able to get something valuable out of it. This can make their storytelling experiences really memorable and meaningful.

Stories talk about human values such as respect, patience, determination, and many others. Hence, this teaching strategy is indeed a remarkable tool to instill values in our students.

Imparting moral values in children through storytelling is a smart way of reaching out to the younger generation. The artistry of storytelling is a scheme to help children become good and responsible citizens of the world.

That is why you should ask, “What lesson have you learned?” I’m pretty sure that their answers reveal valuable life lessons!

What is digital storytelling?

I feel compelled to include this question as information superhighways and technology have supported instructional delivery. Digital storytelling is an enhanced version of ordinary narration.

Digital storytelling goes beyond the traditional narration of details. The unfolding of events uses technology like multimedia presentations. The process involves the use of digital and interactive elements such as videos, images, music, sounds, to make the story more profound and attractive.

In a sense, it is a combination of traditional storytelling and the decorative details of the digital world. It presents more advanced craftsmanship through animations, digital visuals, and other digital elements that make the story more appealing to the students.

With that, technology has been incorporated into the curriculum to facilitate learning and to enhance student performance. So storytelling isn’t just for entertainment alone.

Whether traditional or digital, storytelling does make sense as a teaching strategy.

a teacher can be a storyteller

Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

Here’s my piece!

If you are to give your students amazing opportunities to get good mileage out of something, try storytelling as a teaching strategy. Imparting a good story can be an incredible way of developing 21st-century skills among our learners.

You just have to be extra careful of what stories to tell and check their relevance to the content. Effective storytelling is a way of enhancing student learning to help them develop life skills.

Therefore, as teachers, we should take advantage when students begin to pay attention. Disclose an interesting story and help students make the best out of it. Ask comprehension questions and gracefully connect them to your lesson of the day.

Giving students a stupendous learning experience through storytelling can be done across learning areas. Be a great teacher and an amazing storyteller.

What is your timeless story? Share your best experiences of using storytelling as a teaching strategy by dropping them below.

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