professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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tell me a story, please

I was drawn into this article about college admissions applications (http://usedbooksinclass.com/2013/02/11/dear-senior-applying-for-college-tell-us-a-story-but-not-to-the-college-board-president/). Nearly 500 colleges are asking potential freshmen to write narratives as their essay. As the article points out, this is ironic given CCSS architect David Coleman's derisive evaluation of narrative form in this quote from 2011: “As you grow up in this world, you realize people really don’t give a sh*t about what you feel or what you think.”

The power of story reaches further than this. When I think of the best PD sessions I have attended, the presenters have something in common: they do not spout facts and figures. Instead they weave the relevant data into stories. Instead of numbers, they talk about kids and teachers and friends. They make us laugh and cry and RESPOND in some way. That is the power there: the response it elicits, the personal connection it makes; the new connections it forms in our brains.

Come to think of it, I would not want to live in the world Coleman talks about. In my world, people DO care about what I feel and what I think. In our faculty meeting today we celebrated our report from NCATE which once again deemed us an exemplary program by feasting on cake and presenting the chief author of this report with a giant pencil and a glow-in-the-dark wand. After all, that too was a story, the story of our program and how it works with students who want to be school librarians. It contains a NARRATIVE. Research grants ask for narratives. Much of what I write day to day is narrative: tweets, Facebook posts, blog postings.

I love living in a world of story, a place where stories can let me enter into new worlds, old worlds, worlds yet to come. And I am happy that colleges are asking for kids to write narratives for their admission applications. A world without stories: no, thanks.
Tags: narratives
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