Why teachers should present new material as stories

The Washington Post:

In this post Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about how students best learn new material. Willingham is a professor and director of graduate studies in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His latest book is “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education.” This appeared on his Science and Education blog.

I have written before about the potential power of narrative to help students understand and remember complex subject matter (Willingham, 2004; 2009). A study (Arya & Maul, 2012) provides fresh evidence that putting to-be-learned material in a story format improves learning outcomes.The experiment tested 209 seventh and eighth grade students in the United States on texts about the discoveries of Galileo OR the discoveries of Marie Curie. The texts were developed to be as similar as possible in terms of syntactic complexity, vocabulary, accuracy, and other measures, and vary only in whether the information was presented in a typical expository fashion or in terms of a personal story of the scientist.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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