A methodological proposal for the use of short stories regarding the biocultural memory as a pedagogical tool

Jorge Izaquiel Alves de Siqueira, Maria Franco Trindade Medeiros, Luci de Senna-Valle


Background: Since its origin, the human being as a biocultural species has been observing the natural world and forming a set of practices, beliefs and cosmovisions associated with its environment. These practices have been transmitted between generations, primarily through oral storytelling, and have played an important role in human evolutionary history. Narratives and short stories about the natural world have also been essential for the maintenance, inheritance, and transmission of knowledge within the cultural and social group. Short stories can even function as a strategy to conserve or rescue the biocultural memory. The students, as culturally distinct subjects, each have a rich knowledge and reports on their individual experiences and perceptions regarding the natural world. In view of this scenario, of the rich biocultural diversity on a global scale, we propose that such narratives regarding ethnobiology can be highly valuable when included in the educational context as a pedagogical tool. To support this idea, we have presented a methodological proposal that aims to stimulate the writing and discussion of those short stories which highlight the interrelationships between students and nature. This methodological proposal is structured in order to value multiculturalism in the teaching environment, having as its main subjects the students and their past and recent experiences.

Methodological proposal: The present methodological proposal is broken down into five main subtopics, namely: (1) ethical suggestions, in which the teacher should decide wheter the data arising from the application of this methodological proposal would be documented and published, (2) procedures for presentation, in which the teacher must give an explanation related to the short stories, explaining to the students what a short story would be, its structure and characteristics, as well as giving examples of short stories related to ethnobiology to the class, (3) writing procedures, where the students will write their own short stories, (4) socializing procedures of the short stories, where written short stories will be read and discussed, and (5) assessment procedures, which are based on student participation during the execution of this practice, interaction during the socialization of the short stories, and the assembly of a panel.

Conclusions: The use of short stories related to students' experiences with the natural world and its elements, or their biocultural memory is a promising pedagogical tool, which can assist teachers in the intercultural dialogue, contributing to a more culturally sensitive teaching-learning process, in which students' experiences, from writing and socializing short stories, are the starting point for broad and productive discussions, which can be applied by teachers across different areas, due to its multi and interdisciplinary characteristics.

Key words: Bioculturality, ethnobiology, ethnobotany, multiculturalism, intercultural dialogue.

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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