The Role of Educator as Storyteller

The role of storytellers and educators (who are masters at storytelling) isn’t all that different: help your audience see that they are the heroes of the story you are telling, the change initiative you are working on, or the learning program you are facilitating.

Leave space for the audience to be a big part of the narrative, so that they can see themselves in it,  believe in it, and themselves.

The best facilitators, professors, and change practitioners  I’ve seen can tell great stories, but they always find a way to point out the audience / client / learner as the hero in the story.

“It’s not me, it’s you”.

The more we can help others see and feel that, the better equipped others will be to craft more powerful stories and have the confidence to go after the challenges, opportunities, and allies that they need for each chapter of their narrative (or, lives).

Learning and teaching as art: The best, most inspiring example of this I’ve seen recently was as a student in Professor William Duggan’s class at Columbia Business School. All semester long we studied the hero’s journey of ‘famous’ businessmen and women, military leaders and cultural icons.

We were inspired by them but their stories of personal and professional triumph never felt out of reach. Their stories were not fairy tales.

We can study and learn from the quests, obstacles, and successes and failures of others and their stories – but none will be as powerful as putting ourselves and those we help in the driver’s seat of their own hero’s journey.


What’s the drill – May 9: an education soundbite worthy of debate

“Good education has got to be good entertainment” – Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT Media Lab

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

The joy of life-long learning

Growing up, my favorite word was “Why”.

Well, truthfully it was also, “baseball”, and probably words relating to boy bands, but I was always a curious person.

I wanted to know why things were the way they were, and this fascination and curiosity has always played a part in every job I’ve had. I was constantly observing, watching, reading and listening. I wanted to know everything – specifically about human behavior.

Especially intriguing was the opportunity to get at the root of an issue, a person, a process, and uncover the meaty reasons why things were the way they were.

There is a beauty to approaching each job, and each experience this way. It allows us all to view everything as a learning opportunity.   I find the same beauty in a growth mindset. If we view ourselves and others as having the ability to constantly change and grow and learn, then the challenges we face aren’t obstacles, they are opportunities. Part of it starts with an open mind.

One of the greatest things about being a Learning and Development professional is that I will never reach the end of my learning. There is always room to grow, and this growth and learning directly benefits others. That is the goal.

I’m off to a 5-day learning adventure in New York and can’t wait to see what I uncover there.

Where have you found your most profound learning experiences?