To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Storytelling as a portal to deeper wisdom in the curriculum studies of education and nursing

Kimberley Holmes (The Werklund School of Education, The University of Calgary , Calgary, Canada)
Kara Sealock (Faculty of Nursing, The University of Calgary , Calgary, Canada)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 25 February 2019

Issue publication date: 18 April 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore storytelling in post-secondary instruction and to reflect upon the authors’ experiences as instructors in two diverse areas of study. Both nursing and education promote a theory-based approach that is disconnected from the practical application of skills required.


The authors propose that using storytelling in the undergraduate classroom promotes an emotional engagement with the material, creates authentic human connections and demonstrates a practical application of content. The sharing of personal narratives creates a portal through which we understand the meaningful human element of the work, and the collective essence of our world. The authors believe that these outcomes are essential for the development of an empathetic and compassionate professional who understands the significance of the emotional, social and cognitive component of holistic learning that is required for the eventual acquisition of mastery in our disciplines.


Based on the authors’ experiences, the authors have found that storytelling creates a bridge between the curriculum theory and the implementation of that theory in the living world within the respective disciplines.

Practical implications

As instructors at the University of Calgary, in the Faculty of Education and Nursing, the authors see many intersections in the work and the instructional methodologies that the authors implement in the undergraduate classrooms to allow for authentic learning experiences. These cross-curricular connections have caused us to reflect on the use of storytelling in the humanities to promote emotions, create connections and demonstrate a practical and authentic application of theoretic concepts in both the undergraduate education and nursing programs.


This is an original piece of duo-ethnographic work composed by two researchers who were reflecting on praxis.



Holmes, K. and Sealock, K. (2019), "Storytelling as a portal to deeper wisdom in the curriculum studies of education and nursing", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 93-103.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited