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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
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Innovative Projects

“Telling Tales”: The Teaching of American History through Storytelling by Tony R. Sanchez and Randy K. Mills

Social Education, v69 n5 p269 Sep 2005

Keywords: elementary education, middle school, high school, social studies


The late novelist Walker Percy once argued that literature, especially fictional stories, has portrayed a clearer and far more cohesive picture of the human condition than any of the social sciences, including history. His ideas hint at the possibility of conceptualizing the American experience as the story that it is and as a way of organizing historical information in a more holistic manner in the teacher's mind. Viewing history as a story and teaching the subject as storytelling are metaphors that he believes offer stronger possibilities for bringing overall coherence and interest to history instruction.

A number of educational scholars have also advocated the use of storytelling as a means of teaching. By applying the metaphor of history as storytelling, the social studies teacher can relate to students the excitement, paradox, and importance of the adventure story that constitutes American history.

Storytelling makes the content of American history more meaningful and interesting; and it offers students profound insights into the nature and challenges of life in the past. (Contains 13 notes.)

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