The Pedagogical and Persuasive Effects of Native American Lesson Stories, Sufi Wisdom Tales, and African Dilemma Tales
Abstract:Culture affects pedagogy. Learning stories are used by many cultures to stimulate questions, to raise issues, to stimulate debate, and to offer listeners a view of life as it could be. While many stories tend to support and confirm our perceptions of the world, the oral learning story may contradict, expand, or confuse our world views. This paper offers a descriptive analysis of the format, function, and effects of three types of learning stories across three separate cultural traditions (Native American lesson stories, Sufi wisdom tales, and African dilemma tales), describing their epistemological, transformative, and pedagogical functions. Further, an argument is offered that social influence theories provide useful explanatory power for the claimed effects of these oral formats: (1) persuasion through self generated thoughts, (2) persuasion through active participation, (3) persuasion through modeling, and (4) persuasion through conscious deliberation. It concludes by suggesting the narrative possibilities of teaching and learning through oral story.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1999