The danger of a single story

Moyan_Brenn_2011
Image by Moyan Brenn, 2011

A Nigerian author who gives us a fictional account of the experience of being an African international student in a Western in the powerful novel, Americanah (2014), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains how she found her voice and emphasises the danger of thinking there is only one voice, one narrative. She advocates the need for plurality – recognition that not everybody shares the same story. Stronger than any faith for me, this belief expresses the danger of dominant narratives in our public spaces that shape our learning and teaching. This clip reinforces for me the notion that the stories we tell ourselves, whether about our teaching, our students, our colleagues, our research can be even more meaningful if they are shaped by and for other, different, narratives. It is perhaps the richness of a dialogue over a monologue, an intercultural world rather than a monocultural one. The Christmas story is one single story in our history and culture. Think how many other stories exist living and breathing in our classrooms.

This post was one of our advent learning and teaching treats. To explore all the other treats click here.