ED 200 Week One Part 2 (Fall 2020)


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I would like to introduce you now to two very different individuals who will speak to the idea of narratives. The first is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She speaks to the idea of narrative. I think we can take what she says and begin to understand the effect of narratives in a slightly richer way. The lesson I learn from this is that there is danger in adopting a single narrative. And I don’t know about you, but I have the feeling that we are often given a single narrative regarding schooling.


The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



Narratives are powerful. Then can be dangerous. They can also be liberating. But as we discussed along with values, we have to be exposed to more than one if we are to develop an more authentic, relevant narrative.


7. Ms. Adiche refers to “the single story”. What does she mean by that?

8. What does Ms. Adiche mean by the danger of a single story?

9. What is meant by power structures?

10. Why is it so important for teachers to be aware of the narratives that define others?

11. What is meant by the incomplete story?

Now I would like to take this idea of the story, that is the story of who we are, and turn it toward understanding schooling. Just think, we have a story of what schools are. We have a story of what teachers are. We have a story of the value of subjects. We have a story of what the purpose of schools are, how much homework students should do, and what students will attain if they do well in school. All of these are stories that we tell each other and what we tell our children.

Interestingly, teachers had a story about you. Teachers may have walked into the staff room and talked about you, using only the story that they had. They may have sat at their desk when grading your paper and thought about you–referring only to the story they knew.

And you had a story about different teachers. Even though you only knew a small part of their story, there were times you talked about them to your friends sharing your incomplete story.


12. In five sentences, what was your story as a student in school (or in home school) according to your teachers?

13. How accurate was their rendition of who you were?



Finally, if we have a sense of how narratives might affect us — positively or negatively — it might be interesting to consider whether or not we can alter our narratives so that we can change the narratives that impact us. And, furthermore, as a teacher,we might ask,  “can I help my students develop their identities in positive ways by helping create more positive narratives?”


Creating Your Identity Through the Method Acting Approach | Greg Bryk | TEDxQueensU




14. Why does Mr. Bryk say he wants you to think like an artist–like a creator?

15. What is meant by borrowed robes?

16. What is the connection between creating and empowering?

17. Who do you want to be?