Having been back to University courses for a couple weeks now I have an important subject to bring forth. The subject of Teachers.
Teachers are very important not only in their ability to empower children or really of people of any age who are ready to learn but in their ability to use storytelling to change lives.
Let me explain myself. Teachers are a complicated subject. Why? Because teachers are most often than not human beings (though we can find teachers in other things if we get all spiritual), and being human beings means we are all unique and different.
We have the teachers who like their jobs, the teachers who hate their jobs, the teachers who are good at their jobs and the teachers who need to update their teaching practices. We have the teachers with the baggage in their life outside the classroom dragging them down and the teachers who drag the baggage of their life into their teaching for the good or the worse. My list could go on but I hope you see, how diverse teachers can be.
Now, if you have a teacher who is amazing, it can change your life. One single teacher can make you take a certain path on life.
Let me give you an example, there is the bigger examples of stories like the freedom writers, in this story and movie based on a true story(see clip below) we have a teacher who comes from a white middle class background and goes to teach in a school for kids with children of all ethnicities, few white people and a lot of violence, gangs and poverty. This teacher, long story short, shows the students the power of stories and they all make some important changes in their life.
In a smaller example, form personal experience, there is the story of my sister who had an amazing music teacher who inspired her so much that she herself became a music teacher.
Sadly the same goes with a having a bad teacher. I had a teacher who you could almost say bullied me back in first grade and it messed me up for a while.
So what makes a good teacher? It changes for everyone but I feel like storytelling has a big part of it. If a teacher can engage you in a subject matter, there is more chance you will be more engage. If a teacher is dull, more chances you will rebel and fail at that subject matter.
Storytelling can be used in many ways in a classroom. In some classes it’s more obvious, for example a history class. If a teacher makes the history to be taught as a story of real people who used to live and real event that happened X amount of year ago there is more chances the students will remember the story than if the teacher is simply naming facts of what happened.
In any other class the same thing goes. If a teacher uses story, experiences, examples which engage the imagination or the critical thinking skills it will help much more than if someone states facts that are forgotten as soon as the next phrase is spoken or as soon as it is written down on the piece of paper.
Some people have learned to excel in the fact based education but think of young children of today. The children today have so much energy, they have shorter attention spans in some ways because of the amount of technology we have today and they want nothing more than to get out and play. Do you think at that age stating that there was a war in 1812 between United States and the United Kingdom will stick or do think a story of two rival nations fighting for Independence in the tumultuous period of 1812 with the suspense of who will win will make them remember the details more?
Personally the second option sounds better, not only does it make me want to know more but I will the same if not more by learning it through storytelling techniques.
Now going back to University and why this topic came up. In university I feel like the storytelling culture of teaching has disapeared a lot. Some people still have it, discussions are made and people are engaged. Yet some courses even in a English class are simply stating facts about a story. Not engaging with it at all.
I hope that one day the storytelling culture can come back into teaching because when I say that a teacher can empower a student and change their lives for the better, the reverse is also true. I think we should all strive to empower others when sharing wisdom and teaching what we know, so if you are even in that position, don’t forget the power of storytelling in your teaching. Who knows the simple act of making a class more engaging, incorporating facts with other examples or turning facts into stories might just lead to someone coming to you in the future to tell you, you changes my life.
Until next time empower yourself and other through the power of stories and together let’s be a Powered Crowd for positive change!
*** See this video to be inspired***