Shared Learning Through Narrative Communication

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Shared Learning through Narrative Communication

Shared Learning through Narrative Communication

Introduction and Background

Most social and medical sciences have now begun to study narrative for the human involvement in reporting and evaluating experience and for the key concept that through telling stories of events both teller and audience can come to know and understand experience holistically. Narratives help to organize, interpret, and give meaning to experience. Crucially, the students' accounts show that while they clearly learn much from experienced clinicians and tutors (and each other) this learning is not in only one direction. The reciprocity and circulation of meaning, inherent in the mediation of learning are expressed as the two interdependent processes of narrative guidance and narrative construction. The design challenge is how this interlinked relation of narrative guidance and narrative construction, which can be visualized as something akin to the classic representations of DNA, can be designed into interactive Learning environments (Kellas 2008). Narrative guidance comes from the design of interactive media combined with how teachers mediate the text for the classroom context. Narrative construction is the active process of meaning making, stimulated by the text and the environment, combined with the vast reservoir of knowledge that each person brings with them to the experience. It is a process of discerning and imposing a structure on the materials and making links and connections in a personally meaningful way (Riessmaji 1993). This paper explores how interactive communication exists in the pedagogy and how such communication can aid developmental and professional skills through shared learning.

Discussion and Analysis

Narrative communication helps the learning process in many manners. Learning is a process in which people dialogue, question, create and critique information; and creatively try to solve real world problems based on knowledge that is constantly being evaluated through ongoing cycles of praxis. A shared practice is the basis on which a learning relationship or set of relationships is formed (Cortazzi 2001). In learning communities or relationships we can generate (and also transform) the resources that characterise our practice. Some of the resources that we can use include: the tools, documents, ways of speaking and thinking, the values we share etc. There is evidence that dialogue, storytelling and other forms of narrative communication help in shared learning. The shared learning approach is very different from an individualistic approach to learning. An individualistic approach to learning is what Paolo Freire, in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, calls the 'banking' concept of education, in which the learner is passive (Riessmaji 1993). The role of the learner is reduced to receiving, filing, and storing the information and knowledge that is deposited in them. The shared learning approach assumes learning as a social and collective process. In shared learning you can learn by actively, creatively and critically engaging with what you hear, read and write.

At the heart of the theory of social learning lies the idea of learning as a dialogue. Dialogues include the exchange of different viewpoints and experiences between people. By being open to challenge through ...