Importance of Storytelling

What you are trying to do with your OER is to create the best possible story for your subject matter at hand, and in doing so to shape the legacy of your discipline and what you leave behind. As you’re seeing here, storytelling comes into play as an important tool when creating or adapting an OER.

When we think of how this applies to the classroom, learning the stories of your students, as well as sharing your own, is an invaluable practice. We are all complex humans with different lived experiences that influence how we view and navigate the world. Take the time to learn and appreciate the stories of each of your students – as Richard Wagamese notes, when “we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, “When we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time.”one story at a time.”

This practice of getting to know your students may seem like an obvious one, but think back to how you get to know the people around you. Are you taking the time to make connections with people’s stories and how they move about the world? What values do they hold and how might they be similar or different to yours – and in what ways might they clash or work well together? It’s important to remember that the goal of this is not for any one story to dominate the narrative, rather, the stories come together to tell a much larger story of your classroom, your workplace, your community. You can learn how the people around you (colleagues, students, community members, even friends and family!) like to learn, ways they prefer receiving feedback, best ways to communicate with them, how they got to where they are now. These simple prompts allow us to delve deeper into people’s stories while also allowing them the autonomy of how far in depth they want to share.

Pause & Reflect: Positionality Within Stories

When thinking about the following questions, use the following example to support you in answering:
Think of the story of being a student. How might the narrative and perspectives of the story be different with teachers talking about student experiences versus students talking about their own experiences.

  • What is the storyteller’s relationship to the story and how is the narrative impacted by that?
  • Whose voices are centered and whose are excluded?
  • Whose stories are being told? What is the narrative being told?
  • What principles, norms, values, and worldviews will inform the selection of knowledge in your OER?

Action Plan: Create a Plan and Vision for your OER

Using our Storytelling & Communications Template, situate yourself within your OER project and examine the status quo in your discipline by evaluating one or a few materials commonly used.
with the prompts provided, we invite you to co-develop a shared project vision for your OER.
Find an editable worksheet here.


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Making Ripples: A Guidebook to Challenge Status Quo in OER Creation Copyright © 2023 by Rebus Community (Kaitlin Schilling, Apurva Ashok, Jördis Weilandt) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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