Skip navigation

Building on narratives in the curriculum

Considering the benefits of telling and listening to stories and 'thinking in stories' it would go without saying that a prime scheme of schools should be to create and cultivate narrative sensibility (Bruner, 1996). However, narrative as a mode of thought is valued differently in different cultures. Bruner (1986, 1996) distinguishes between mathematical and narrative thinking, and points out that most Western cultures privilege the logical scientific approach in organizing knowledge of the world. Consequently, the convention in most schools is to regard narrative as decoration instead of exploiting its potential as a means for cognitive development. Working in the same stream of thought as Bruner, Egan (1989) suggests that

the model that dominates educational programs draws on a part of children's capacities

only, namely logical-mathematical thinking, and it ignores the power of

imagination as a tool for learning.

With these theoretical considerations in mind, it is also important to realize that in-service teachers enrolled in an MA course in TEFL need to link these underlying assumptions to their daily practice. This will make course tutors consider the most appropriate structure for course content and their potential links to participants' life experience and already existing professional knoweldge, as well as to practical ideas about teaching and learning English as a foreign language. The syllabus shown below is a good example in this sense: