chapter  4
Storytelling as a Theory of Learning
Pages 18

POSITIONING STORYTELLING We generally know what paradigm educators are working in by the language they use and the learning and teaching principles they espouse and strive to uphold. To explore what paradigm-related observations educators have made about the positioning of storytelling we return to the literature. While many educators accept there is a world-view that admits story as a way of knowing, paradigmatical allegiances are less clear. We wonder if this is because there is confusion over where story fits, due to the nature of the learning tool itself, or because there are difficulties inherent in the notion of paradigms. Such questions continue to intrigue us. While the latter is beyond the scope of this book, the former warrants attention, for, in the process of writing this book we had to declare which paradigm most supported our current way of working with stories.

Making this decision was not straightforward because narrative is used and sits comfortably within a number ofparadigms such as constructivist (Lauritzen and Jaeger, 1997) and hermeneutics (Josselson and Lieblich, 1995; McEwan, 1995; Polkinghorne, 1988). In New Zealand, educators such as Bishop (2001) currently advocate a constructivist approach, given its ability to accommodate 'learners' culturally generated sense-making processes' (p. 108). It is also worth noting that within cultures there are ideological and other related interests that impact on the ways in which we construct knowledge.