Publication Date

Spring 5-8-2021

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Master of Arts in TESOL)

First Advisor

Dr. Leslie Turpin


Narratives have reemerged as a dominant form of rhetoric over the last fifty years. This dominant use of narrative discourse has only increased with the rise of social media. Walther Fisher (1987) proposed the narrative paradigm as a unifying theory of human communication. His major claim is that people are inherently storytellers and that people use a narrative rationality and a logic of good reasons to inform their beliefs, values, and actions. This paper utilizes his theories, along with recent findings in neuroscience, to establish an argument for greater inclusion of narratives into second language teaching. Narratives can have a powerful language learning function as they engage learners' imagination and allow them to create a mental context for language use. Narratives serve a powerful attention-getting and attention-keeping function that more completely engages them when compared to traditional language learning teaching. In addition to this, narrative educational practices prepare learners to negotiate the narrative-rich environments of their lives. Finally, narrative skills provide learners with the means to represent themselves in society through the use of their personal narratives to attract the attention and gain the empathy of the people in their community.


Applied Linguistics | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Creative Writing | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Early Childhood Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Epistemology | First and Second Language Acquisition | International and Comparative Education | Language and Literacy Education | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Other Philosophy | Philosophy of Language | Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics | Social Justice