Curriculum as Narrative part 2
this is a training series for instructional designers. it doesn't need any major preliminary knowledge of theories. approximate duration - 3 hours. the training is meant to help IDs consider a different way of looking at and understanding curriculum and teaching.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Curriculum as Narrative part 2
Is he entertained?
Is she interested?
Does That Represent All That Stories Can Do?
Ever felt scared,
Never wept? Felt broken-
So… Just Evoke a Range of Emotions?
Can You Establish Relevance in a Story?
Can You Make a Boring Job Sound Interesting?
Ever Felt This?
―I actually find that when I explain something to another
person, I become clearer about the topic.‖
A Form of Sense-Making
The Legend Around
the Birth of the
• ―Sea monster‖ = A foreign conqueror
• Practice of marrying the widow to
establish legitimacy of the invader‘s rule
Merovech was conceived when
Pharamond's wife encountered a
Quinotaur, a sea monster which
could change shapes while
swimming. Though never stated, it
is implied that she was impregnated
- Chronicles of Fredegar, Gregory
of Tours circa 7th century AD
Stories as Acts of Meaning
• Functions of narrative:
– Solving problems
– Tension reduction
– Resolution of dilemmas
• Narratives allow us to deal with and explain mismatches
between the exceptional and the ordinary.
• Narratives allow us to re-cast chaotic experiences into
causal stories in order to make sense of them, and to
render them safe.
- Bruner, 1990
―Stories are our way of coping, of
creating shape out of mess.‖
- Sarah Polley
But How Much Real-World Power Can a Story Have?
Is it Too Hard to Buy?
Okay, Someone Would, But Not You?
The Official Narrative: Transforming Knowledge
• The education system replicates the real-word hierarchy. It
creates ―blue‖ and ―white‖ collar workers.
• It legitimises society at large. We are taught that we
compete equally - when we don‘t.
• ―Knowledge‖ has been the prerogative of the dominant
group to define.
Mexico, 1968 Olympics – Awards 200m
Understanding Official Narratives
Instructions for Reading
• Note key points of information
• Note the impressions made on you:
• What perceptions do you have? Do they change as you
read each article?
Article 1: Summary from Wikipedia
The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was an act of
protest by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and
John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968
Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City.
As they turned to face their flags and hear the American
national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner), they each
raised a black-gloved fist and kept them raised until the
anthem had finished. Smith, Carlos and Australian silver
medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on
In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Tommie Smith stated
that the gesture was not a "Black Power" salute, but a
"human rights salute". The event is regarded as one of the
most overtly political statements in the history of the modern
How Does This
1969, Morehouse College and Curricular
In 1969, Jackson was among a small group
of radical students who took several
members of the school Board of Trustees
hostage, demanding curriculum changes
and other school management reforms.
A STRATEGIC ANALYSIS OF
Learning to Teach
• Narratives of ‗folk psychology‘ (or ‗common sense‘)
summarise ‗how things are‘ and (often implicitly) how they
• When we perceive that things are ‗as they should be‘, the
narratives of folk psychology are unnecessary.
• Narratives are a unique way of managing departures from
Narratives That Make You Reflect, Introspect
• Experiential learning —> transformation of information into
• Gibbs - structured debriefing
Narratives to Promote Inquiry, Engagement
• Dan Meyer: narrative constructs to create the need to know, to
Types of Stories
• Fairy tales
• Mythology/ Legends
• Folk stories
• Anything else?
Cathy Come Home:
This tells the bleak tale of Cathy, who loses
her home, husband and eventually her child
through the inflexibility of the British welfare
system. A grim picture is painted of mid-
If Cathy Come Home had been released
today, those callers to the BBC phone lines
would have been directed to a website
where they could have signed an online
petition, donated money to a related good
cause and found out the date of the next
• When it first aired in 1966, it
was watched by a quarter of the
• The volume of phone calls it
prompted crashed the BBC's
• The homelessness charity
Shelter was set up as a result.
Stories that Zoom In
• Introduce a depth of detail
• Build perspective
• Vertical and then horizontal span
Stories That Zoom Out
• Introduce a world as a theme
• Build pattern
• Horizontal and then vertical span
―Maybe stories are just data with a soul.‖
- Brené Brown
MAKING CONTENT A STORYLINE
Step 1: Use What You Know
ANALYSIS DRIVING CREATIVITY
Step 2: Getting Ideas
ANALYSIS DRIVING CREATIVITY
Step 3: Integrating Teaching and
1. Data (the most basic kind of information)
2. Data + basic elaboration = Information
3. Information + dimensions and associations = content
4. Content + context and scope = knowledge
5. Knowledge + plugs from ideology, politics, value systems,
beliefs, experiential inputs, common sense = wisdom
WAS THAT ENOUGH?
Can You Recognise a Content Story Now?
A Quick Check
• I know the parts of a story.
• I am able to think of stories analytically and express my
opinion about it part by part using the correct vocabulary
• Thinking of curriculum as a narrative is difficult because…
• Thinking of curriculum as a narrative is easy because…
For the Next Session
1. Form teams
2. Find a short documentary online
1. Analysis of the content in terms of story elements
2. Narrative ‗plot‘ of the documentary
3. Anything else interesting you observe story-wise, about the
4. A 5-minute summary of your analysis that you can present