Thursday, March 11, 2010

the power of narrative

I've spent the last two days laid up and off from school with sinus headaches and head cold. I'm not sick often, but the fact that I can sit up and write on the blog I take as a good sign.

I have been reading Jerome Bruner's Acts of Meaning which is an exploration of the role of narrative in human culture. You will have noted that I regard creative action in the wood shop to be form of narrative... that narrative can consist of far more than just the written and spoken word. A well crafted, beautiful and useful object is narrative in that it describes to an informed viewer the skill and character of its maker.

I find it fascinating to listen to my student's conversations as they work in the wood shop. Their narratives are revealing. Whereas children would have once referenced their own lives in their discourse, "I did this and we did that", now so much of their narrative is repetition from what they have seen in movies, TV programs or video games. Their own lives seem to not be interesting enough in comparison to the prepackaged narratives sold to their generation by the entertainment industry.

I am not sure what this all means, and I am puzzled by Bruner's title, Acts of Meaning. We know that narrative is a powerful force in human culture. I am hoping that as my sinus headache clears greater clarity will come.

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