1. Conferences
  1. Learning at City Conference

Session 1A


A workshop to support lecturers in using storytelling in their educational practice

Julie Attenborough - Associate Dean | School of Health Sciences

Professor Rachael-Anne Knight - Associate Dean | School of Health Sciences

This session will build on learning from a project centred on a resource co-created by students to support lecturers in their use of storytelling; that is when lecturers use their own experiences to illustrate theoretical teaching, increase confidence and re-contextualise their experiences in their teaching. The resource contains illustrations of where lecturers have used their own experiences to promote resilience, ease transition and inspire students and staff.

Students provided their views, examples and top tips for using storytelling with the aim of lecturers gaining insight into the impact of storytelling on the student journey, especially through transitional phases. The project is a partnership between lecturers and students with the overall aim of raising awareness and increasing the meaningful use of storytelling in educational practice.

The practice of storytelling as recontextualisation or reworking knowledge plays an important part in the education of students. Sometimes described as invisible or unplanned learning; this takes place when lecturers use their experience to illustrate theory and bring meaning to our educational practice (Evans et al 2010; Evans and Guile, 2012). By recontextualising their experiences (personal, educational, practical) lecturers can demystify concepts and create confidence and hope in students, storytelling is one method of doing this. There is evidence that storytelling is associated with the development of identity in the professions (Attenborough and Abbott 2018).

Building on this established work and informed by the findings of our evaluation, this session will disseminate guidance materials and give participants the opportunity to share their experiences, practice their storytelling, and reflect on and explore storytelling in their own practice. The session will encourage participants to consider the context and effectiveness of storytelling in addition to its effect on the storyteller. Although originally conceived in the health disciplines, this practice has widespread application, which will be explored in the workshop, drawing on the work of the Stanford University resilience project. It is anticipated that this will have resonance across many disciplines, as academic storytelling is relevant to all.

Learning outcomes:
At the end of this workshop participants will be able to

  • Identify opportunities to incorporate storytelling into their educational practice
  • Describe the indications for storytelling
  • Reflect on storytelling in their educational practice
  • Recognise the impact of storytelling on learners
  • Articulate the impact of storytelling on their own identity as educators

The session will be delivered in workshop style- discussion will focus on participants own use of storytelling and strategic self-disclosure and the impact of this on students. Indicative questions include:
1.When is storytelling appropriate?
2.What are the benefits of storytelling in learning and teaching?
3.What is the impact of storytelling on students


Attenborough, J.A. and Abbott, S. (2018). Building a professional identity: views of pre-registration students. Nursing Times, 114(8), pp. 52–55.

Evans, K., Guile, D., Harris, J., Allan, H. T. (2010). Putting Knowledge To Work: A new approach. Nurse Education Today, 30, 245-51

Evans, K., & Guile, D. (2012). Putting Different Forms Of Knowledge To Work In Practice. In Practice-Based Education: Perspectives And Strategies, Eds Higgs, J., Billett, S., Hutchings, M., & Trede, F. 113 – 136. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers