Andrew Stanton’s line, “The greatest story commandment is: Make me care.” stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it almost a year ago.
I was on my way to working with a couple of teachers in another area of Quebec and had a long drive ahead of me, so I plugged in my phone and listened to a podcast I had been saving for just such an opportunity – from NPRs TED Radio Hour, Framing the Story. Listen to it to hear what Andrew says about storytelling.
Grant Wiggins writes:
…a course must seem coherent and meaningful from the learner’s perspective. There must be a narrative, if you will; there must be a throughline; there must be engaging and stimulating inquiries and performances that provide direction, priorities, and incentives. (What is a course?)
This is true at any level, in any industry. Whether working with students or professionals – learning will happen, learning will be meaningful – when I care about the story you have to tell and can fold it into my own.
Make me care – say all learners to all teachers.
When they are skipping class, doing the minimum to pass, avoiding work, avoiding professional development opportunities – somehow we have not made our material something they care about. Sometimes it is beyond our control – other stories in their lives have prominence.
For me, I strive to make you care about what I have to teach.
The truth about stories are that that’s what we are ~ Thomas King
(Oh – and to my students – you don’t need to make me care. I already do.)