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Toward a Narrative Learning Environment. Narrative Fiction as a Model for Learning Processes

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Narrative environments are spaces that foster storytelling activities. In this presentation, we will discuss turning learning environments into such spaces, where stories serve to instigate, facilitate and evaluate the learning process. We will look to narrative fiction as a vast storehouse of stories and metaphors that may be useful in such a narrative learning environment and we will discuss how literature, as an autonomous space for experiments with estimations and evaluations, with judgments of approval and condemnation, may serve as a powerful metaphor for education.

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Toward a Narrative Learning Environment. Narrative Fiction as a Model for Learning Processes

  1. 1. Narrative Fiction as a Model for the Learning Process TOWARDS A NARRATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar Narrative and Metaphor in Education 2017
  2. 2. o ‘Space’ where storytelling takes place (Gubrium & Holstein 2009) • Physical, virtual, etc. o The storied environment offers its members models and resources for storytelling • Big stories • Little stories NARRATIVE ENVIRONMENTS 2 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  3. 3. o ‘Space’ where learning takes place • Sphere of attention • Learning is always a process of becoming o In narrative learning environments • Learning and teaching are forms of storytelling • dialogue, critical reflection and knowledge generation happen through storytelling LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS 3 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  4. 4. o Educating Language Teachers: Dutch, English o Student counselling: obligatory assignments are perceived as useless and irrelevant; by students ánd teachers. (Moenandar and Huisman, 2015) CASE STUDY: TEACHER EDUCATION, WINDESHEIM 4 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  5. 5. o Stories as a ‘giant laboratory’ for teacher education • All around ánd available • Embedded in all areas of language teaching • Dialogic teaching through stories • Teacher educators are models of creating and working in ‘a storied environment’ A NARRATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN TEACHER EDUCATION 5 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  6. 6. o Critical reflection (Moenandar and Huisman 2015) o Creative thinking (Fullan and Langworthy 2014) o Stimulating autonomy, equality and empathy GOALS OF NARRATIVE LEARNING IN TEACHER EDUCATION 6 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  7. 7. How can stories be used to instigate critical reflection, creative thinking, and facilitate ‘becoming’ in Language Teacher Education? RESEARCH QUESTION 7 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  8. 8. o Narrative assignments in student counselling o Dutch first year students in Language teaching o English (n=37) o Dutch (n=38) o Teacher educators Dutch (n=3) o Teacher educators English (n=2) o Four teachers have a focus on literature education INTERVENTION 8 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  9. 9. All TEs created assignments for narrative coaching, based on a storytelling model inspired by Greimas (Moenandar and Huisman 2015) Examples: o ‘Write a story about how you ended up a teacher Training for English’ o ‘Write a story about your personal development during your first studysemester; based on weekly diaries of your experiences’ ASSIGNMENT 9 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  10. 10. o Narrative questions/storytelling teasers o What kind of goals did/do you have? o Who helped you out on your path? Why did they? o Who obstructed you on your path? Why did they? o How did you deal with adversity? ASSIGNMENT STRUCTURE 0 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  11. 11. o In-depth Interviews with 8 students and 3 teacher educators • 2 English TEs, 3 English students • 1 Dutch TE, 5 Dutch students o Model for Narrative Interview (Basten and Moenandar, unpublished) RESEARCH DESIGN 1 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  12. 12. Deeper contact with teacher; adds quality of coaching Peter: My teacher wanted me to be honest and he was open himself. I had some personal issues that effected my motivation for my studies. I find it hard to talk about emotions, I’m not like that. By writing a story, I found a safe way to tell my teacher what was bothering me. We talked about it and afterwards I felt very relieved. Right now, I feel confident again about my ability to study. (contact / engagement / becoming) Laura: ‘I would give these assignments to my own pupils aswell. Writing a story about your study-experiences works to get in contact with your teacher. As a teacher, you get to know your students better through stories.’ (Teacher identity / contact) Higher awareness of engagement, goals and successes in their studies Anneke: ‘Through the story I wrote about my experiences in the first semester, I got an important insight: engagement in your studies does not come from above; it is something you have to work for.’ (Engagement / becoming) Loose instructions and focus on the process (instead of the product) seem to work. Simon: ‘I think this is a real good way of learning. It makes you think in a different way, more intense. This is about yourself; who you are. I expressed a lot of myself in the story. It helped that the assignment was very open and that we did not receive a grade.’ (Assignment structure, teacher identity, becoming) Anneke: ‘The assignment structure was too much constraining for me. Only when I heard that I was allowed to create my own fairytale, in any form, I could start writing.’ (Assignment structure) Students with high and low engagement and writing skills seem to profit from the assignments in processes of becoming. STUDENT INTERVIEWS: QUOTES 2 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  13. 13. Teacher engagement in student coaching Hans: ‘It was much more fun to work with stories in student coaching, than the way I used to work. De stories provoked students to describe real experiences, instead of socially acceptable reflection diaries.’ (Engagement / critical reflection) Modelling and developing a more complete teacher identity Julia: ‘Ik heb zelf ook geschreven en mijn verhaal voorgelezen. Daardoor werd ik mij ervan bewust kwetsbaar te kunnen zijn als docent en dat ik ook daarin een model ben.’ Deeper contact with students Julia: ‘The stories changed my view on some students. It was surprising how open they could be!’ Critical thinking and reflection Robert: ‘Stories help to make students think thoroughly, when they get emotionally involved in the story. When that happens, I observe a sudden silence in class. It is not only the message, but also the melody and rhytm in the language that makes stories powerful.’ TE feel insecure about their ability in narrative coaching. They have doubts about the quality of the stories and how to assess them. TEACHER INTERVIEWS: QUOTES 3 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  14. 14. Both students and teachers value the narrative assignments as meaningful, because they o raise awareness of goals, motivation and success o Improve contact between teachers and students o Provoke thinking and reflection To take into account when designing a narrative learning environment: o More writing support for students and training for teachers is needed o Narrative coaching assignments also seem to work for students with low self esteem in writing o Instructions should be structured and free. o Teachers and students would like more collaborative writing, technology and formative assessment. SIGNIFICANT OUTCOMES 4 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  15. 15. How can we elaborate the assignments to stimulate processes of becoming, like empathy, citizenship and teacher identity? How can we improve the narrative learning environment by integrating narrative reflection in content courses: literature, reading and writing skills and internships? How can we integrate technology and multimedia to stimulate collaborative writing, student engagement and ICT-skills? FURTHER QUESTIONS 5 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  16. 16. o Convey • ‘Plant’ stories in the learning environment o Collect • Collect stories through narrative communication o Curate • Narrative learning environment: collection of stories. • Teacher: curator of this collection ROLE TEACHER IN NARRATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT: 3 C’S 6 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment
  17. 17. o Main character o A goal o What did you want? o A reason o Why did you want that? o Opponent(s) o Who/what obstructed you? o Helper(s) o Who/what helped you? o Someone who profits o Who gains when you achieve your goal? o Who suffers when you don’t? STRUCTURED FREE STORYTELLING (INSPIRED BY GREIMAS) 7 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar narrative learning environments
  18. 18. 1. Desire • When did you know what you wanted and why? 2. Ability • How did you gather the means to achieve your goal? 3. Action • How did you achieve your goal? 4. Results • What are the consequences of you achieving your goal? STRUCTURED FREE STORYTELLING (INSPIRED BY GREIMAS) CONT. 8 floor van renssen sjoerd-jeroen moenandar towards a narrative learning environment

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