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103 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People's primary way of learning is through hearing stories., July 7, 2001
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This review is from: Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence (Rethinking Theory) (Paperback)
I read this book for one of my instructional design classes - which focuses on how people learn - it is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. It gives you alot to think about. I think the best way to learn about a non-fiction book is through a series of quotes of what the person found interesting. So here are some quotes from the book:

"In effect, once she decided to see their situation as one of betrayal, she didn't need to see it any other way. Aspects of the relationship between the two people unrelated to betrayal, or that contradicted the notion of betrayal, were forgotten. Seeing a particular story as an instance of a more general and universally known story causes the teller of the story to forget the differences between the particular and the general.
....In other words, the concept of betrayal becomes what she knows about this situation. It controls her memory of the situation so that new evidence of betrayal is more likely to get admitted into memory than contradictory evidence."(P.148)

"...Is this relationship, however, an example of betrayal? Certainly, the teller relates the story so that betrayal is an accurate description. But betrayal was used as a skeleton story around which the actual story was constructed.
In other words, by using a skeleton story for betrayal, the teller could only construct a story of betrayal. All other aspects of the story were left out. But why, for example, could the teller not have told a story of "devotion"? Only small changes would be needed to make this a story of devotion - a statement that he still loves her and hopes that she will return to her former self or one that shows he values and will support her in her role as mother. ....We want to see the situations that we encounter in terms that are describable to others. We only have a short time in which to tell these stories. So, even if the fit with those stories is not exact, seeing and describing complex stories in terms of standard stories provides an easy shorthand method for communication." (P.148-149)

"The key point here is that once we find a belief and connected story, no further processing, no search for other beliefs need be done. We rarely look to understand a story in more than one way." (p.73)

"The skeletons we use indicate our point of view. Storytelling causes us to adapt a point of view. With this adaption comes a kind of self-definition, however. We are the stories we tell. ...As we come to rely upon certain skeletons to express what has happened to us, we become incapable of seeing the world in any other way. The skeletons we use cause specific episodes to conform to one another. The more a given skeleton is used, the more stories it helps form begin to coher in memory. Consequently, we develop consistent, and rather inflexible points of view." (P.170)

"An incident is remembered in terms of how it is seen in the first place. That is, labeling is in many respects an arbitrary process. ...And, of course, even that last categorization is arbitrary since one person might characterize the victim as being blond, while the other might characterise him as being fat." (P.222)

"We would like to imagine that we learn from the stories of others, but we really only do so when the stories we hear relate to beliefs that we feel rather unsure of, ones that we are flirting with at the moment, so to speak. When we are wondering, consciously or unconsciously, about the truth, about how to act or understand some aspect of the world, then the evidence provided by others can be of some use." (P.78)

"A good memory, then means an attentive labeling facility during processing or you aren't going to remember what you don't find interesting, so the more that interests you the better memory you are likely to have." (P.223-224)

"Yet what we learn is still entirely up to us. No one teaches us how to index after all. We make up our own way of seeing the world,..." (P.113)

"Knowing a great deal about a subject means being able to detect differences that will reflect themselves in differences in indexing. In other words, intelligence depends on clever indexing. Our expert is intelligent about military history. He sees nuances where others would not. He analyzes new stories well enough to be able to relate them to old stories that might not obviously be the same." (P.113)
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Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence (Rethinking Theory)
Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence (Rethinking Theory) by Roger C. Schank (Paperback - December 20, 1995)
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