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L. McLean, E. Tuite

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (IRELAND)
Storytelling is often described as one of the first teaching methods and can be seen as a platform that is engaging, offers an innovative way to assess students learning, and a strategy to explore different meanings of experiences (Gaydos, 2005; Stevenson, 2005). The present research was designed to explore the use of formal and informal stories, in an third level education environment. Questionnaires were administered to students, to explore the benefits and obstacles to formal and informal storytelling in the classroom and in online learning. Academic staff were administered questionnaires related to their use of storytelling within teaching and the findings from both partners in the educational process were explored. This research builds on previous research suggesting the benefits of storytelling in both social care practice and education, and its effectiveness in the development of relationships (McLean & Tuite, 2014; 2016).

The main themes that emerged from the data in this study relate to the effective use of stories in education to develop student’s abilities to develop reflective skills, be innovative and to explore alternatives in their practice. Students highlighted particular types of stories that extended their learning and the obstacles they felt were significant in the use of effective storytelling. The learning from the research and the challenges to using the approach are highlighted, related to both online and traditional classroom settings. Future research and implications of the research for developing storytelling within one’s own teaching and curriculum are discussed throughout.