Today’s kids are spoiled for choices with respect to gadgets and other aids for entertainment and education and as a result, kids find classroom sessions boring and mundane. Teachers are finding it harder by the day to get through to kids.
Added to the pressure of completing the syllabus while handling a large class, today’s teachers barely know their kids. There is a dearth of personal connection between the two. Teachers are unable to arouse interest in the subject they teach or inspire them to become active learners.
Maya Angelou an American poet and a civil rights activist rightly said that “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
So what better way to make people feel strongly about something than narrating a compelling story that gets you right there, in your heart? I am sure there is not a single soul in the English speaking world who has not heard the phrase “Once upon a time …..” those words have the power to unequivocally capture the attention of young and old, noisy chattering type to the quiet “lost in their own thoughts” alike.
I strongly believe that stories have the power to mesmerize, inspire, motivate and challenge us in ways unimaginable. Set apart my beliefs and feelings about stories and their power, research has shown that human brains are hard-wired to seek out a logical and meaningful narrative structures in the stories. This structure is later connected to one’s own life experiences, leading to better learning.
It is scientifically proven that stories can make the whole brain work not just the language sensing part of the brain but every other part too which gets triggered by the story. Also, an idea, when connected with emotions, has better chances for deeper engagement than just plain facts and data.
Take for example our very own timeless fables, “Panchatantra” written by Vishnu Sharma a sage who taught the essence of diplomacy, relationships, politics and administration to the three sons of king Sudarshan. They say that the princes were dullards, but sage Vishnu Sharma succeeded in teaching and equipping them to rule their land within six months’ time, all through his brilliant stories.
I am sure some of the best teachers around us are already using storytelling as one of the techniques to teach in class. They are in fact using it to humanize even the most abstract subject like mathematics. Now, have you heard the story of a 3-year-old boy who corrected the error in his father’s payroll?
Interestingly this same boy at the age of seven calculated the sum of integers 1 to 100 almost instantly. His teacher thought that this problem is going to take a while for the kids to solve however he quickly identified 50 pairs of numbers (1, 100), (2, 99), (3, 98) soon ….. (50, 51) such that each pair of numbers summed up to 101. Therefore he figured out that 50 times 101 which is equal to 5050, would be the answer to the sum of integers 1 to 100. This child prodigy was none other than the legendary German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss.
Shall I share another story? “The Mysterious Taxi number 1729” is the title…. I’ll leave you all to find out the story yourselves…
Hope you are a CURIOUS KITTY! Curious enough to find out…..the secret behind “1729”.
-Aruna C. Head – Communications, BRAINSTARS