Thursday, July 31, 2008

The essence of good storytelling

For me, storytelling is everything. When I pull it off and do it well, it helps me achieve so much as an educator -- engaging learners, establishing social presence, illustrating relevance, encouraging connections between theory and practice, holding attention, having fun, being in community, and so on. It is the key to connecting, to making sense of the world, to contributing to the world. To be a good educator, in my humble opinion, one has to be a great storyteller.

All of us have had people who contributed to our educational, professional, and personal journeys through storytelling. The person who most influenced my love of storytelling as a vehicle for connecting and educating is my father, Ray Dunlap. He was always telling stories (and jokes...humor is an important aspect of storytelling too). Ray died in June 2008. Luckily, I have one of his stories to share here, as an example of good storytelling. It illustrates what stories can accomplish (the laundry list above) with little fanfare. A good story works, even without a big media production to support it. Share your stories with others, it makes a difference.

Thank you, Ray, for sharing your stories.

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