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Narrative Theory

Narrative Pedagogy

Learning and Narrative Pedagogy

It is essential, though, that the facilitator respects the learners’ stories, but also maintains an ability to look beyond the learner’s initial stories in order to help them to understand themselves and their experience more deeply. The educator/facilitator’s caring attitude and close relationship with the learners can ensure that the collaboration provides an ideal leverage for narrative learning achieved through the educator/facilitator’s willingness to take risks by inviting open dialogue amongst the learners and him/herself, and his/her aptitude for asking good questions and listening deeply that goes beyond only hearing what was narrated, to ‘hearing’ what is unsaid (See Palmer, 1998). This is about teaching from one’s identity and integrity (ibid.).

In agreeing with Palmer, what we have termed ‘integrity’ is a sense of the universal, the holistic. It is where a sense of selfhood is ‘located’ in time and space and understood in its full perspective and meaningfulness. The building of the episodic bridges to the universal is one of the major pedagogic routes to be explored in the process of narrative learning.

Through collaboration, the learner comes to locate their own narrative in historical, cultural and social spaces. Location provides a degree of understanding as to why individuals tell their story in this way at this moment. Human stories are a personal elaboration and construction but the ’building’ bricks and sometimes the elementary parts of narrative scripts are socially located. Stories also integrate the characteristics of particular historical periods into this ongoing process of narrative ‘bricolage’, i.e. made from a variety of bits and bobs of experience. Location involves a process of coming to know the importance of time and social forces as they impinge on a person’s stories. In a sense, the individual cannot fully know what is ‘personal’, what has been refracted until s/he comes to understand their stories’ historical and social location. Location then, is a highly pedagogic process and, as with collaboration, provides a variety of pedagogic levers for the lifelong learner.

However, seeking pedagogical moments for the learner to grow and transform does not necessarily mean an ongoing shift in a person’s narrative. At this juncture, the teacher/facilitator must show trust in the learner’s capacity to pursue further goals in terms of their narrative and actions. This means that the teacher/facilitator accepts that a person’s life is after all their own responsibility. They rework their life bearing in mind the basis reality of existence, time, and possibility of mortality.  

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Narrative Pedagogy
  • Date of publication: 01/01/2011
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 174
  • Publisher: Peter Lang
  • Co-author: Scherto R. Gill
  • Subject:
    Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Narrative Pedagogy
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £20.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4331-0891-4
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon UK