Caren S. Neile, MFA, Ph.D. (

If you want to raise a smart child, tell him stories. If you want to raise a smarter child, tell him more stories. – Albert Einstein

Definition of storytelling

According to the National Storytelling Network, the professional organization of storytellers, storytelling has five characteristics: It is word-based; it uses the imagination; it employs narrative; it includes non-verbal behavior, and it is interactive.

Some benefits of teaching through storytelling  
It stimulates memory and learning by employing sequencing, affect and critical
reflection. It accommodates a wide range of cultural, emotional, educational and personal situations. It improves communication skills, promotes divergent thinking and strengthens the imagination.

Uses of storytelling in the classroom
In lecture, large- and small-group activities, dyads, [online], via audio or video.

Sources of stories  
Newspapers, folklore collections, Internet storytelling sites, life experience, imagination.

Selected resources
*Adair, Vivian, Paulette Brown, Nolita Clark, Rose Perez-Cotrich, Shannon Stanfield. Poverty and Storytelling in Higher Education: Telling “The Missing Story of Ourselves” Storytelling, Self, Society , Vol. 3 , No. 2 May 2007, pp.135-155.

*Barrett, Helen. Storytelling in Higher Education: Supporting Ref l ection on Practice to Support Deep Learning .

*Cooper, Connie. Storytelling in the Basic Course for the Promotion of Cultural Diversity. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (80th, New Orleans, LA, November 19-22, 1994). ED380825.

Egan, Kieran. Teaching as Story Telling. University of Chicago, 1989.

*McDrury, Janice, Alterio, Maxine. Learning Through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning . Routledge-Falmer, 2003.

Neile, Caren. A Conversation with Kendall Haven. Storytelling, Self, Society , Vol 3 , No. 2,   May 2007 , pp. 80-94.

 Last Modified 3/2/18