Stories get the results that other communications can’t. Effective story-telling is a tool that trainers and facilitators could use to better understand what there is behind the group of participants and how to involve them in a meaningful design of training.
There’s actually a biological reason why humans are so good at stories. No doubt you’ll have observed that young children love stories, both hearing them and telling them. Not only that, but research has shown that from a very young age, children understand the basic structure of stories (or narratives): Beginning, middle and end. In fact, if you vary the stories you tell your kids, they quickly catch on that “you aren’t telling it right”.
You may also be aware that human beings have a special aptitude or genetically built in the ability to learn a language, that goes way beyond any other explanations. Children don’t learn a language like any other thing to learn (except for creeping and walking, where there’s also a genetic, biological predisposition to learn these things.
In short, it’s built in, probably because the ability to learn language, syntax, grammar, semantics AND story structure probably provided an evolutionary advantage. Stories, both oral and in ancient “storytelling” on cave walls have been around forever.
Being able to foster the group of participants to share stories in a structural way during activity could be very important in order to grow their understanding of each other, but also stimulate the curiosity about them.
The understanding that we can have about the socio-political context of the learners will be always quite partial and we shouldn’t get in the trap to see them as part of a larger social-political context, but be aware of their person/professional life within their context. This is possible only if we value their stories and if we recognize their stories as a piece of our training learning path.
How to apply it in everyday work]
Do you use some Storytelling methodologies? If yes, maybe you had already experienced this one or maybe it could be very interesting to apply to yourselves when observing or thinking about you as a trainer in the middle of a diverse and complex group of learners.
Nested loops are a storytelling technique where you layer three or more narratives within each other.
You place your most important story – the core of your message – in the center, and use the stories around it to elaborate or explain that central principle. The first story you begin is the last story you finish, the second story you start is second to last, etc.
Nested loops work a bit like a frind telling you about a wise person in their life, someone who taught them an important lesson. The first loops are your friend’s story, the second loops are the wise person’s story. At the center is an important lesson.
- Am I aware of my competencies in telling stories?
- Do I feel comfortable to share in public my personal stories linked with my personal and professional background?
- Am I ready to work on storytelling and emotions in my training to explore the socio-political context of my group?