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Paperback Teaching as Story Telling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School Book

ISBN: 0226190323

ISBN13: 9780226190327

Teaching as Story Telling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School

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Book Overview

"I am very impressed by the practicality of Egan's] introduction of the use of story-forms in curriculum for young children. His model is fascinating, and its various possibilities in a range of fields makes it worth a good look by many kinds of teachers."--Maxine Greene, Teachers College, Columbia

Customer Reviews

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A great resource for educators & parents!

"The educational achievement is not to make the strange seem familiar, but to make the familiar seem strange. It is seeing the wonderful that lies hidden in what we take for granted that matters educationally" (Egan, p. 47). In this book, Egan walks the reader through the elements of incorporating story across the curriculum as a way to interest students deeply in their learning and improve their understanding and retention of the material. Mr. Egan brings his ideas to life with lesson planning, thorough explanations and a bevy of how-to advice. "What we call imagination is also a tool of learning- in the early years perhaps the most energetic and powerful one" (Egan, p. 17). We must remove the drudgery from our children's learning and allow them to make meaning from their lessons. Egan's asserts that as children learn a subject using ad hoc principles, they lose their passion for the subject matter and retention of important ideas. When they are steeped in the mundane duties of worksheets and memorization of facts, it removes the meaning from their learning and only encourages them to "get through" the lesson so they can move on to the next task. "So, perhaps ironically in the face of presently dominant ad hoc principles, it is the most profound and important aspects of a topic that need to be brought to the fore if we want young children to understand it" (Egan, p. 45). Egan uses examples from a cross section of themes to demonstrate the applications of story in the curriculum. He quotes Aristotle, "There is nothing in the mind except that which has passed through the senses" (p. 11). "In telling a story one does not begin by stating objectives, and yet stories are wonderful tools for efficiently organizing and communicating meaning" (Egan, p. 38). He uses his formula for story in the curriculum to address a variety of thematic units. The overall structure of learning this form is to identify the most important ideas; identify why it should matter to kids; identify what is affectively engaging about the material; identify bipolar opposites (good/evil, rich/poor, freedom/slavery); organize the content into story form (using the above elements);conclusion- resolution of conflict and mediation; evaluation of understanding, importance and content learned.Using this format, he gives several examples of units that could be brought into the elementary school including some that would normally be considered "over their head." These include themes in language arts, science, math and social studies. He encourages teachers to try to bring stories into all units as a method of communicating in a language that all kids speak. "A model for teaching that draws on the power of the story, then, will ensure that we set up a conflict or sense of dramatic tension at the beginning of our lessons and units. Thus we create some expectation that we will satisfy at the end" (Egan p. 26).I liked his easy way of expla
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