How does storytelling within higher education contribute to the learning experience of early years students?


  • Sarah Flanagan Leeds Trinity University



Background and rationale. Reading stories telling stories is a familiar practice within primary education; furthermore there is recognition that stories are used within higher education. This study seeks to understand how storytelling within higher education contributes to the learning experience of early years students. It is anticipated that a deeper understanding of stories and storytelling in this context will lead to a greater appreciation of this resource and its enhanced use.
Design/methods. A qualitative methodology was used. The participants included 45 early years students. All students involved in the study were employed as early years workers contributing to the care and education of children aged 0–5. Semi structured interviews and non-participant observations were completed to collect the data and thematic analysis was used in its interpretation.
Findings. Participants saw multiple contributions of story and storytelling including the facilitation of learning, the enhancement of reflective practice and the reinforcement of professional/group culture. Story and storytelling provided opportunities for relaxation, entertainment and had a significant social impact. Certain activities encouraged storytelling and the most engaging stories were those that the listener could relate to

Author Biography

Sarah Flanagan, Leeds Trinity University

Senior lecturer, Institute of Childhood and Education


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How to Cite

Flanagan, S. (2015). How does storytelling within higher education contribute to the learning experience of early years students?. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 13(2-3), 162- 184.