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Sharing learning through narrative communication

Introduction

Narrative is the basic manner of human fundamental interaction and a key way of getting knowledge. People are environed by and institute contact with narratives since early childhood. This is more especially when they begin to be recounted of stories by teacher, parents and tutors etc. Moreover, according to Carter (1993), the capture of complexity and interrelation between natural phenomena and human being happens mainly by narratives. Carter also contends that the complete understanding of thought necessitates story identification, which results to the establishment of a particular arranging of events. People have constantly told narratives, and story-telling can be a potential means to carry information. Whenever we share tales of learning with other individuals, as well as the learners themselves, we too share our agreements around individuals and at large on our own individual values. Discuss narratives with others therefore provides the participants the chance to engage in construction and reconstruction of what learning entails, and thereby extending their understanding. Narratives may be orally or written down, but the oral narratives and the documented narratives greatly enhance communication between students, teachers, and families and support notions of 'ownership' and 'legitimation' (Bruner 1960).

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Evidence of learning though narrative communication

Results of studies by Aquiles Negrete suggest that concepts in science can be learned through with the use of literary stories as this represents a more pleasurable way of learning compared to the conventional texts. In a more precise way, narrative information is maintained by the learners for more prolonged periods than factual information in long-term memory and that narratives make up a crucial way for science communication to transfer information in an exact, memorable and pleasurable style to leaners. The use of short stories makes it possible to put in action as well as in few words an action that in development could have happen over many years (Lotman 1990). From the above study, it is evident that the use of narrative communication has a potential of promoting leaning especially where learners tell stories of their learning experiences  and during the process of  recounting events, they reflect on and consolidate what they have learned  and have the learning validated by their tutor audience or peers.

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Negrete carried his studies through the use of stories with scientific themes written by renowned writers, Anatoly Dnieprov (1969) and Primo Levi (1999). The "Nitrogen" and "the crab take Over the Island" stories were modified to enable the participant to study the story and fill in questionnaires in a one-hour session. The study employed a contrast between narrative and factual scientific data, and equated the extent to which the information was recalled, by responding to questionnaires, at two different times. (immediately after reading and one week later). A sample of 40 students who took part in the in the study was divided into two sub-groups: one group read the short stories and the other a list of scientific facts taken from such stories. A statistical test was done to compare the two groups' performance.

Results from the study

In the first session the factual group did better in all the tasks, and their standard deviations of the narrative group were higher than that of the factual ones. However, the performance of the narrative group was better from the factual group in terms of score and homogeneity in the first session. The second session showed important changes in the way people retain information. However, the differences in performance between the narrative and the factual groups diminished. The primary tendency of the factual group to carry out all the tasks better changed, and the narrative group performed better in the second session in three out of eight tasks as shown below (Negrete, 2003)

Problems in narrative communication

One of the main problems in communication narrative is theory itself. The basic decision as to how to relate certain fact to certain facts to a theoretical hypothesis seems to be a highly controversial in the field. The other problem facing narrative communication is the scarcity of attention to narrative as an educational methodology owing to the circumstance that most teaching and learning theories are based on the inquiry and theory of modern psychology, which has not been focused primarily on complex classes of communication and reception. This controversies call for the formulation of principles for a theoretical account of a narrative as well as the means of improving the structure of narratives.

 

Conclusion

Narratives are useful in organizing, contextualizing learning activities and facilitate the understanding of some topic (Wells, 1986). Sharing narratives provides a more natural way of promoting learning and can be effective in the teaching and learning of adults as learners will be offered an opportunity to construct and reconstruction of ideas. In such a learning environment, adults can share and learn in a more pleasurable manner.

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