Storytelling in education: A storybook is open in the center of the image and over it is a mortarboard showing that it’s possible to tell stories when teaching.


How to use storytelling in education

Learn how to use storytelling techniques when teaching.


11/18/2019 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Have you noticed how children’s imagination is a powerful source of storytelling? They are always living adventures, playing their favorite characters and experiencing fictional situations. 

And don’t think for a second that they are wasting their time. Quite the contrary, stories are an excellent way to learn. Therefore, let’s talk about storytelling in education.

You’ve probably heard of this term. Storytelling techniques have become a sheer marketing phenomenon because they are very effective when creating connections with the audience and influencing actions. 

The major innovation is that they are currently being used in the educational market, especially in DE.

Have we piqued your curiosity?

So stay with us and find out how narrative connections will help you create student engagement and involve them in the topics covered in class!

How does storytelling work?

Storytelling is the act of telling stories, a technique that is widely used in marketing because it helps create connections with the audience and involves them in an experience that may ultimately result in interesting results for the brand.

You might not recall the exact time you came into contact with storytelling, but it’s more common than it seems. 

Who has never gotten teary-eyed with Coca-Cola ads, for example?

As a leader in its segment, the company invests in promotional campaigns that pull at your heartstrings. They include love stories, stories about friendship and scenes that reinforce family ties with one aspect in common: they lead to an emotional identification by the audience.

But storytelling isn’t used only to encourage shopping. 

The technique is quite useful to improve any interaction where there’s the need to create some type of bond or promote engagement, such as in the student-teacher relationship.

Is using storytelling in education worth it?

Yes, it’s worth it! Storytelling is a tool that can greatly contribute to the dynamic of DE classes. After all, distance education, albeit full of benefits for students, has a pitfall: procrastination.

How do you make your students feel so engaged with the content so they can break from the urge to put off studying? By making attention-grabbing, captivating classes.

But be careful. The storytelling technique is a tool and should be used as such.

What we mean is that, like any other media or tool used to make your classes more attractive, the stories told by the teacher should only serve to convey the content, integrate the students and increase the exchange of knowledge.

What practices help in good storytelling?

Now that you have learned a bit more about using storytelling in education, let’s get to the point: our practical tips so you can be an awesome storyteller! 

Check out 4 best practices for an outstanding story.

1. Know your audience well

The first step for good storytelling is knowing your audience

Remember that the main goal of this technique is to establish connections. So, you need to know with whom you are talking in order to create characters and events that captivate this specific audience.

The content should capture their attention and a good way of doing this is to identify your audience. 

You’ve noticed that you can’t get this right without studying your audience beforehand, right?

  • Who are your students? 
  • Which movies and types of music do they like? 
  • What are their goals and intentions with the course?

There are a few questions that you need to answer.

2. Invest in well-established models

Now, the good news. You don’t have to be Agatha Christie or George R. R. Martin in order to create good stories. 

Even those who haven’t ventured into the literary world are able to tell stories by using well-established narrative models.

For example, The Idiot’s Journey. 

The name is silly, but the story’s success is guaranteed, because it’s a story about a fascinating but flawed character, who undergoes a transformation and from then on, is able to achieve positive results.

If you don’t recognize the above, just remember Tony Stark, Iron Man. 

We went through hard times to find that his weapons were being used for evil and from then on, he became Marvel’s favorite hero. Despite his billions, he’s “ordinary like us”, but full of flaws.

3. Match stories

The Idiot’s Journey isn’t the only story model that works. There’s also the Hero’s Journey, the identification narratives filled with “I know what you’re going through and I understand your fears “, and so on. 

You can give wings to your creativity and combine several types of storytelling in education.

The important thing is to follow a basic structure consisting of the following: 

  • Presentation of the problem and the character who is called for a challenge or destiny, 
  • Conflicts or refusal of the call, 
  • Climax, 
  • Lesson. 

Overall, the final lesson is something that your audience can also reach.

Would you like another example? Here goes: 

Maria was a young woman who had many plans. However, she had trouble managing her budget and ended up in debt. This was when Maria decided to start an online course on Personal Finances and was able to pick herself back up. She learned that with good planning and control, she could achieve financial stability.

This is a situation where we can easily find people who identify with it, isn’t it?

This type of appeal makes storytelling have more credibility, which is great when it comes to capturing your DE students’ attention regarding the content. 

You can bet that all of us have the ability to becoming great storytellers!

4. Make full use of multimedia content

Finally, don’t forget to use a lot of media to increase class focus. 

Use suitable formats for each part of your storytelling and increase drama at the right moments: videos, soundtrack, images etc.

All of this will help you make your storytelling even better. 

Observe children and learn lessons from them so you can apply them in your classes: they will be captivated with playful tools.

In the same sense, we as adults also have more chances of paying attention to something or recall things more easily when they involve different media formats.

Are you ready to start telling stories?

So, have you started thinking about good stories? As we said earlier, if used well, storytelling in education is an important ally. 

With this technique, you’ll be able to deliver increasingly interesting content and practice dynamic teaching, with a greater possibility of engagement with your students.

Before applying it, consider your students’ profiles, use recognized models for inspiration, follow storytelling structures and use multimedia tools to your advantage.

In order to help you, we’ve created a complete guide to storytelling! Let us know if you have any questions, deal?