Stories hold power. They captivate our imaginations, transport us to places unseen, and let us explore parts of ourselves otherwise forever hidden. They are great fun. But can stories be more?

Do they teach us how to act, what not to say, and how to be us? Are some narratives examples to live by, and pictures of what to avoid. Can stories effectively be used to teach, heal and transform lives? What about in less grandiose uses? Sure, morality tales can guide behavior, but how can stories be used to teach concrete principles or rote memory concepts like mathematics or science? I say yes, and this part of my blog is dedicated to exposing research-based concepts and models to the public. More than that, we will look at very specific ways to create transformational stories. More importantly, this is to be an open forum. Post comments and ask question. You can explore my profile for more scholarly work.

Consider this from my second Master’s thesis in which I investigated narrative identity from an anthropological perspective.

Stories are part of humanity, and have been ever since (and probably before) mankind took to speech. John Niles (Niles 2010) even went as far as to call humankind Homo Narrans, “storytelling man.” And as long as people have been telling stories, others have been analyzing, dissecting, and using stories for very intentional reasons: to affect the behavior and identities of individuals or entire populations. It seems that stories can and are a great deal more than fun. We will see this as we develop an analytical framework useful for looking at the internalization of stories into a personal identity narrative and the externalization of this identity narrative through performative identity.

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Chris Michaels

Storyteller. Researcher. Coder. Innovator. I seek to push the boundaries of storytelling and education.
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