June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.273.1 - 11.273.9
Big Fish: The Lost Art of Story-Telling in the Engineering Classroom
Abstract Story-telling is frequently a lost art in the engineering classroom. Often, engineering educators feel that telling stories is a distraction to communicating the necessary content of a course. In contrast, this paper describes story-telling as an improvement to traditional teaching techniques. Story-telling may be used as a method to illustrate important points, give coherent meaning to seemingly divergent topics, aid students in remembering content, or simply to break up a long lecture. The author has used story-telling extensively in the engineering classroom. A consistent comment from students in end-of-semester evaluations is to include more stories in subsequent offerings of the course. The paper will present methods and findings from using story-telling in technical course offerings.
Introduction Story-telling is a lost art in the engineering classroom. Engineering educators may feel that telling stories is a distraction or divergence to communicating the necessary content of a course. However, it is possible to use story-telling as an improvement to traditional teaching techniques.
Story-telling may be used for the following reasons: To illustrate important points; To give coherent meaning to seemingly divergent topics; To aid students in remembering content; Or, simply to break up a long lecture.
The author is on the faculty in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan. He has used story-telling extensively in all of his classes, including junior-level Data Structures and Algorithms, and senior/grad-level Software Engineering courses. Story-telling also fits naturally into a Professionalism and Ethics course that he frequently teaches.
This paper describes story-telling as a teaching method. Several examples are used to illustrate the use of story-telling for different purposes. Dos and Don’ts are listed. Finally, the paper gives a summary.
Story-telling Examples By way of illustration, the author lists four examples of using story-telling in the classroom. In each example, the discussion is partitioned as follows: The Topic describes the environment and objectives of the story, and also describes how the material might be communicated without using stories; The Story is a re-telling of the actual story; and The Lesson discusses the knowledge that is gained by the students as a result of teaching the material using story-telling.
Chesney, D. (2006, June), Big Fish: The Lost Art Of Story Telling In The Engineering Classroom Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/12
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