Peter Brophy – Narrative-based Practice

Considering my project is primarily about teaching and attempting to encompass it into a narrative that is unlike any other learning device. Reading about the importance of Narrative is important. Brophy expresses the importance of Narrative and considers the story as the most important and relatable learning device. The text does refer to learning throughout, so it is an incredibly relevant text to my study.

‘If we go back to the earliest human civilisations, we find that it is through story that knowledge, information, meaning and wisdom are passed from generation to generation.’

Brophy, Peter. Narrative-based Practice. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate Publishing, ix

Stories were important for people to relate to. The bible for instance incorporated a lot of different stories to create a faith. Billions of people have based their lives around the foundations of a story and it all the information has been past on with little lost of translation. This emphasises the need for a narrative to make sense of something.

‘We may learn a great deal by studying facts, procedures and abstract theories, and such learning is of vital importance, but we empathise with one another and we develop a deeper understanding of our world when we listen to stories.’

Brophy, Peter. Narrative-based Practice. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate Publishing, 33

Throughout his book, Brophy has emphasised the story as the most important device to understand our world. Through education, there have been many classes that refer to text books. But Brophy emphasis that narrative gives us a deeper understand that studying facts. The flow to a story and the human connection is what stimulates us.

Schank and Berman (2002) suggest that… information or images enables us to file the story, and its relevance, in our memories.

Brophy, Peter. Narrative-based Practice. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate Publishing 41

Here the theorists have referred to photography as an important way to understand things for a greater amount of time. Images are said to help us ‘file the story’; so the basis of my project is to file the story of a lecturers teachings. Due to what Schank and Berman have referred to, suggests that my body of work will help store the teachings of a lecturer through imagery that will last longer in memory. Which emphasises the practice as a relevant study with a purpose.

there is increasing interest in the role of narrative in painting the wider picture and providing the context for the acquisition of skills and the development of the individual’s knowledge.
Brophy, Peter. Narrative-based Practice. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate Publishing 66

Narrative can help create more understand and aid individual development. Depending on the quality of the narrative will depend on the resonance.

After researching Brophy’s text, it has given interpretation that there is a purpose for photographic narrative to go alongside actual lecturing. Being entitled the ‘Narrative of teaching’, my project emphasises the need to have a photographing narrative alongside the practice of teaching. It is a project that offers the view that storytelling is important in teaching, and showing a portrait and an object (that teaches say are important for students), offers that narrative.


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