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The power of a narrative

Authors Adaval, Rashmi
Issue Date 2004-05
Source Proceedings of the second teaching and learning symposium, Hong Kong , Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning Qaulity, and Center for Enhanced Learning and Teaching, HKUST , 17 May 2004
Summary This paper will describe how a course was turned around through the construction of an innovative curriculum. Using a novel blend of techniques, this renewed curriculum went from concept presentation, to deep understanding, to simulated application all embedded in a narrative course structure. This narrative course structure provided the scaffold that allowed students to master skills in a step-by-step manner and through stories that grew more interactive as time went on. Within this overarching narrative structure, other learning techniques were introduced. These included mini-activities in each lecture, paired reading strategies for understanding business cases quickly, and a form of cognitive scaffolding that guided students' ability to think analytically. While the mini-activities within each session kept students engaged, motivated and learning, a variety of reading techniques that were introduced to help students read and understand a 25-page Harvard Business case within one hour, gave them the confidence to master difficult material. The thinking framework that was developed guided students to the central issue that they needed to locate in each case which broke down their habit of jumping to the end of the case to try and answer the assignment questions immediately without understanding. The combination of these innovations led to success as students felt that they had mastered materials that they had initially found intimidating. It developed their confidence as they volunteered for more case competitions and aspired to better jobs. This innovation has applicability to any course which uses case-based or problem-based learning.
Language English
Format Conference paper
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