Shuyi, Chua

National Institute of Education (Singapore)

Storytelling in the Social Studies Classroom

"Many teachers tell stories. They take a story, whether their own or another’s, and turn it into the experience of their students. This article showcases four stories from secondary social studies classrooms in Singapore that illustrated how teachers have used stories for various purposes. Stories were observed to be used to teach morals, to inspire empathy and cultural understanding, engage students, and help them acquire thinking skills such as assessing the reliability of sources. Stories, when used effectively, can achieve multiple purposes, many of which are aligned with the kinds of citizenship qualities and skills we want to see developed in learners of all ages. Suggestions on how teachers can incorporate storytelling in their lessons are provided at the end of this paper. Even though the four stories are from the secondary level, the ideas and suggestions in this article can have application in primary social studies classrooms as well."

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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