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Share True Stories to Engage Students


All Ages Strategy

Share True Stories to Engage Students

If your student is skeptical about why something is important to learn or understand

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Use personal stories that relate to the learning material to create engagement, and to support social and emotional skills.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: a) Share true and engaging stories from your own experiences that relate to the lesson. Use famous or historical figures as well, though more personal stories include details and emotions that can resonate strongly. b) Use stories that reinforce that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and we all learn and grow from experiences. As bad as it might have seemed at the time, with time you can reflect and learn from it. c) Discuss the feelings of those involved in the story, as well as your choices and the outcomes. Why did you do what you did? What would you have done differently? How did you feel? The more personal and imperfect the better, as long as it is age-appropriate.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Stories enable students to process information in context without having to be at the center of the example (Gay (2010). Trying to convince a student to behave in a certain way with a lecture might not be very effective. However, demonstrating the lesson through true stories is likely to be more believable, relatable and memorable. Stories can be key to building relationships and empathy.