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  • Luisa Scherer

What are Teaching Stories?

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Stories and tales are elements present in the life of children from almost every culture in the world. It is through them that wisdoms, values and customs stay alive throughout generations. But do traditional stories, that are present in many cultures, especially the western ones, transmit the message with the same objective as when they were created? Do they contain the necessary elements for the original message and intention to remain intact throughout the years? In this post, we are going to talk a little bit about types of different stories called teaching stories.

There are some eastern tales that were created with some elements allowing the real intention to survive and touch many people throughout generations. They are the teaching stories.

They don’t bring moral to the story, nor do they bring the repetition of well-known patterns naturalized by people – such a characteristic that many folktales repeat. Teaching stories use certain words and events that, organized in such a way, act in the brain in a different manner.

The surprising ways with which the characters can solve an incident encourage the brain to expand and perceive new possibilities, acting directly on cognitive development.

Since these stories do not belong to behavioral association patterns, children can develop more flexibility when it comes to solving problems and dealing with situations with which they are not used to living. If children have contact with teaching stories, they will be able to become adults more prepared for the unexpected and more perceptible in relation to emotional intelligence and themselves.

The effectiveness of teaching stories in people’s brains is based on studies. One of the researchers about the subject was psychologist and author Robert Ornstein. Many of the teaching stories that Robert Ornstein researched were published by the English professor, author and researcher Idries Shah.

You can check the teaching stories published by Idries Shah on The Idries Shah Foundation website. Aside from the stories, there is a wide range of books, class audios and texts about children, children’s literature, child psychology and psychology in general. It’s worth checking them out!

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