This post is part of a series that explores the Basics of Educational Storytelling. Largely taken from my master”™s thesis, The Value and Principles of Educational Storytelling (which can be read here), this I will lay the foundation for an educational storytelling model regardless of setting and medium. We look at the basic elements of storytelling, five guiding principles and educational stories, and practical tips.
Check out the rest of the series.
Finally its here! We have discussed the value of educational storytelling, the different elements of story (plot, setting, character), and one of the guiding principles of stories that teach. Now it’s time to dig into constructing stories for education. What is the skeleton of an educational story?
We will use the Hero’s Journey as a skeleton for our story. We first looked at this journey. There is a comprehensive series elsewhere on my blog.
I am a fan of simplicity. Many Hero’s Journey outlines include 12 or 15 stages plus a dozen archetypes. I have boiled this down to five pieces of the Journey, each with an important task.
- The Hero and the Cast of Characters
- The Hero and the Ordinary World, Broken
- The Hero and the Journey
- The Hero and the Moment
- The Hero and the Repercussions
We will walk through the first three this week and the final two next week. As we work through this, remember our first guiding principle: Hero Audience Bonding.
We create a hero the audience can learn through, vicariously. As the hero progresses through the story, learning and problem solving, the audience will learn the same lessons “” given they have bonded with the main character.
As this is an educational story, there are objectives. We want the students to learn something. It is important to define what these objectives are. They can be identity oriented learning (morals) or process oriented learning (math) goals. And, there may be several goals. Perhaps along the road to learning the dangers of lying, the hero also learns the distributive property and bits of the scientific method? Whatever the case may be, establish theme to yourself early so you can keep on focus.
The Hero and the Cast of Characters
The hero is not the only character in your story. Supporting characters, villains, mentors, even talking trees all have a place in the tale. When we went through characters, we listed several archetypes essential to the Hero’s Journey. Those character types are also relevant here, and they each play a specific role in teaching.
Each character is an archetype and has a connection to the hero.