Old Stories and New Perspectives: A Disruptive Retelling | Harbord & Khan | 5 Min Read

May 18, 2023

What can our students learn from stories that reflect diverse cultural worldviews about human behavior and lived experiences? Fables and myths are two ways that people have traditionally passed down and retold stories about their collective knowledge, experience, and understanding of our world. When we retell stories, it is “to tell again or in another form” (Merriam-Webster, 2023). By retelling these old stories in another form, students have additional opportunities to develop empathy, cultivate their imagination, and explore the human experience over time and through space. However, it is important to be aware and respectful when we retell stories. For some people and communities, their old stories may be part of their living culture and way of life. So be considerate and sensitive to the cultural backgrounds of your students. 

Let’s look more closely at fables and myths. What is a fable, and what is its purpose? A fable is a brief narrative story with a moral or lesson that usually has animals with human behaviors and qualities such as speech. “In these narratives, the animal characters have all the physical features of animals. Yet, everything else about them is anthropomorphic; they certainly behave like human…

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Harbord and Khan

Meredith Harbord EdD and Sara Riaz Khan are global educators who use ethical dilemmas to enrich and transform curriculum. Their student centric approach is driven by an ethical model and innovative tools that support critical thinking and creativity. Meredith and Sara’s collaboration as Design teachers at ABA Oman International School in Muscat, focused on sustainability, ethical design and global mindedness and inspired them to establish Harbord & Khan Educational Consultants. They develop units of work based on real world issues to engage and challenge students for diverse curriculums (IB, PBL, Common Core and Australian) and are available for professional development and to create programs to meet the specific needs of your school. Meredith and Sara have authored two teacher curriculum books ‘Interdisciplinary Thinking for Schools: Ethical Dilemmas MYP 1, 2 & 3’ and ‘Interdisciplinary Thinking for Schools: Ethical Dilemmas MYP 4 & 5’ (2020). Website: https://bit.ly/3XopEzQ