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Title: "I remember when ..." : the impact of teachers' storytelling on teaching and learning in higher education
Author: Johns, Anthony
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2019
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The quality of teaching and learning in higher education is enhanced when teachers draw on their own personal and professional experience to augment their teaching; in other words, their teaching draws on, and is enriched by, the stories they have lived. This research took place in a previously under-explored area of higher education teaching and learning. Previous research in this area gave prominence to the students' version of storytelling and assumed that teachers were familiar with storytelling as an approach in teaching and learning in higher education. It was this assumption which drew attention to a gap in the research which needed to concentrate instead on a teacher- centred view. This helped to identify the main three research questions that governed the subsequent research methodology. This PhD thesis research study found that whereas generally teachers did not initially associate storytelling with education, there were teachers who consciously incorporated storytelling within their teaching. Those teachers who admitted to being storytelling enthusiasts promoted the idea even further and incorporated their teaching into a thought-out over-arching storytelling approach. The research study findings outlined what could be described as the short-term affective value of storytelling which derived from the attributes of the teacher such as charisma, credibility, and enthusiasm for, and practical experience of the subject being taught. Storytelling also has an affective value that derives from the relationship between teacher and student improving the latter's attention to the lesson and developing curiosity to connect the story to the taught subject. The findings also outlined what could be described as a longer-term effectiveness on student learning such as story recall with, in most cases, links to remembering the taught subject and a resultant better understanding of, and increased interest in the taught subject. The ultimate finding was that the real power of storytelling emanates from the bringing to life of the taught theory via the life experiences of the teacher. Recommendations are made in terms of teacher practice, teacher training and further post-doctoral research. While there are caveats in this respect, storytelling can overcome some of the teaching difficulties arising from the increasing widening participation and diversity of the current higher education paradigm. One of the caveats in this storytelling scenario must be the need to take care with the use of humour. This might potentially cause concerns with regards to taste and ethics and one must be wary of causing offence specially where race, colour and creed are concerned. The hypothesis that a causal link existed between teachers' experiential storytelling and students' learning has been suggested, at least from the teachers' perspective. While there are some limitations to the scope of this research and the resultant findings, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the findings are important enough to be worthy of consideration as a teaching approach and as a subject for further research considering student attitudes to teachers' storytelling and also to test the generalisability of the research approach in other Institutions of Higher Education.
Supervisor: Abrahams, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: X142 Training Teachers - Higher Education