I've just got back from a lovely holiday in Italy and I'm trying to pull the threads of my work and learning back together.
As always, while I was on holiday I read a lot. This time I completed 4 books. I can tell you every detail of two of those books because I actually read them twice and of the other two books I can give you a comprehensive plot and character review without any difficulty.
I've always been able to do this. I read a few hundred pages and I can remember all the major parts of it, and the good ones I can even remember sub-plots, underlying themes and bits of dialogue.
So why is it that I can read a text book 10 or 15 times and still not remember the content? In 6th Form I read and re-read my chemistry A-Level text book over the course of about 6 months, desperately trying to absorb the information to pass the exams without success (I think I got a D in the end).
What is there in a story (not necessarily fictional or biographical either, Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution is a fantastically memorable book) that captures my brain and takes root, that is lacking from a text book?
I can't be the only person who remembers stories - think of Eastenders. That show has been running for decades and there are many dedicated followers who could happily tell you detailed stories from any point over that time.
So how can I use this in learning and teaching? How can I change my text-book into a story-book? Is this the Philosopher's Stone of education: the secret to eternal life and great success? :)
02/08/11 EDIT: Oh how marvellous Nuts and Bolts: What's your story? presents examples of this in action.