Stories of Experience: Teaching and Learning through Narrative Inquiry

Amelia Kilvington

Coleg Sir Gar, Jobs Well Road, Carmarthen, SA31 3HY,

5th May 2017 


What makes an effective teacher? What makes an effective learner? This presentation considers the linkage between these two questions. The presentation will explore the idea that when teaching at every level to learners of all ages and experiences, storytelling and narrative accounts become key tools with which to engage, motivate and achieve successful outcomes. Narrative inquiry teaching techniques have historically been prone to criticism yet certain strands of educational theory hold that humans are storytelling creatures that lead storied lives. Storytelling and narrative inquiry techniques can thus be powerful tools with which to unlock potential. Primary School teaching techniques are increasingly organised in story form and these techniques enable certain ideas to come to the fore. This presentation aims to outline some of these techniques and to propose that a deeper awareness of these techniques with students at higher levels of education can be beneficial to the teaching and learning environment. The presentation will aim to consider a range of different narrative techniques and will also consider the idea that the language and criteria for narrative inquiry are aspects that are still under development.  Narratives are not written according to models of cause and effect but rather according to “change from ‘beginning’ to ‘end’” (Polkinghorne, 1998: 116). The presentation will outline some of the techniques that the speaker uses within their own practice and will consider some of the short and long term benefits of this learning environment.