Artifact - Storytelling

The Tool

This tool encourages story telling - individual or organizational stories.

Storytelling is an ancient practice, helping us to share knowledge with context and emotion. It encourages us to share the tacit side of what we know. Storytelling encourages listeners to respond with their own stories, thus co-constructing and building new understanding. Stories capture and hold our attention, which increases the likelihood of hearing, listening and learning. Storytelling is very valuable in knowledge sharing.

By encouraging people to tell their stories about an issue which you wish to discuss and inquire into you automatically gain 'buy in' from them. There can be a high level of emotional resonance.

How to use

Potential applications of storytelling and narratives:

  • gaining emotional 'buy in'
  • personal reflection
  • engaging all in group and gaining 'buy in'
  • group dialog
  • collaborative learning
  • introductory activity to start people talking
  • team-building or community-building exercises
  • breaking down barriers between individuals and teams
  • introduction to a subject - e.g. in a workshop
  • problem solving
  • multiple perspectives

As a leader artifacts can have many uses, some of which could be:

  • to start learning conversations: select an artifact to symbolize personal learning
  • to establish or align vision and goals: select an artifact to represent what is most important
  • to develop a collaborative culture by listening to peoples' stories, stimulated by an artifact
  • 'Inquiry into inquiry' formative assessment: staff bring an artifact to meeting that best represents 'inquiry learning' to them.
  • Teacher Appraisal - teachers bring an artifact that represents a proud moment / growth moment from the semester so far; what they learnt, what skills / attitudes were required etc.
  • Introductory IB Parent Workshop - the above 'inquiry' artifacts around the room on tables with the corresponding story attached. Parents read, reflect and respond to the stories.


  • Watch the following you tube clip on the power of storytelling:

  • Ask members of your team or staff room to imagine they are an anthropologist and ask them to pick an artifact that represents (for example) your vision of schooling. Which artifact would you choose?
  • Ask each individual to explain to the group how their artifact illustrates your vision of schools. Encourage them to tell their personal story, why they have chosen that particular artifact.
  • Listen to each others' stories.
  • In plenary reflect how your personal visions of schools relate to the school you are working in.


Click here to access an article and presentation on the value of personal storytelling as a form of knowledge sharing.

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