Stories stick with us, and they spread from person to person through the Internet, the news, and conversations in grocery store lines. I started reading books on my own in elementary school, and today I try to read a book a week. Stories fascinate me—this may be why I became an English major. Beyond their entertainment value, narratives can make education a process that involves not only facts but also compassion.
Experiencing the Book
When a person reads a story and connects with it, it can have an immediate physiological effect. While reading a powerful book or an intense movie, viewers’ brains will often release oxytocin, a neurochemical that makes us feel closeness and compassion with others.
As readers, we aren’t actually experiencing the events of a book, but we place ourselves in the position of the protagonist. We feel and experience things that we otherwise would not have the chance to.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies … The man who never reads lives only one.” writes George R.R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire series (better known as Game of Thrones ) has enthralled millions.
Teaching Through Stories
Narrative is the foundation of communication, finding its way into journalism and advertising. Most of what we tell each other is storytelling, and we have a tendency to spread the stories we hear, telling them again and again.
By teaching through stories, students can learn while they experience new things. They can also attach emotions to this new knowledge, making it easier to recall this knowledge when they need it. Perhaps most importantly, stories offer a way to show students how knowledge can be applicable and dynamic in different situations.
Genius Plaza brings stories to the classroom through our Learning Champions. These stories focus on individuals who are protagonists of their own educations and have pursued meaningful careers in a variety of fields. We aim to make education not only accessible, but also memorable and emotional.