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Narrative Teaching: Discourse in the Classroom

Links to Theory Resource Sites
Takata and Curran Text on Careers

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: September 1, 1999
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Curran & Takata

It is important for both teacher and student that we find the time to continue our dialog outside the classroom and the assignments. Narrative teaching requires that I know you, that I know your story. That helps me to teach you, and it will expand your opportunities to make the teaching fit you. We use narrative teaching, which emphasizes interaction in learning. Narrative teaching means:

1) Taking the time to tell the stories of our lives as they affect and are affected by what we are learning, in this case, law and social change (or criminology or sociology of law).

2) Listening to the stories of our lives, and sometimes, other peoples and the effects that what we are learning has on them.

3) Drawing conclusions that take into consideration the context and the situatedness of the story.

4) Remembering that other stories may be entirely different from ours, and that ultimately our stories are all interdependent.

5) Recognizing that our conclusions will be different one from the other, as are our belief systems, and the stories of our lives that reflect those beliefs. And remembering that we often assume that all our stories are the same. (Wicked little unstated assumptions).

6) In some theories we say that reality is socially and culturally defined, and that may be so, according to your belief. Or it may be that you have other beliefs, based on other experiences in your life. Our stories still interdependently define the social responses and the social relationships of our everyday lives against the background of whatever reality there is, according to your beliefs.

7) Narrative teaching simply sets our learning within a framework that encourages telling and listening to narrative in good faith, the better to hear the validity claims behind those narratives and the better to incorporate our learning into our lives.