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Story Hui

What is Story Hui?

Story Hui is a group storytelling process that can be used by teachers to evaluate learning in deeper and wider terms. Story Hui combines teachers' success stories with visual mapping, digital transcripts, and a group questioning process that helps to uncover hidden meaning, value, and impact. Through Story Hui teachers can:

  • think and work collaboratively
  • take part in professional inquiry
  • evaluate learner capabilities, engagement, and wellbeing
  • consider the impact of digital technologies on teaching and learning
  • explore student achievement not covered by formal testing.

Story Hui makes learning and achievement visible. It provides sound evidence of progress in student learning capabilities. Using a group storytelling process, it reveals clear evidence of change in learning, engagement, and wellbeing - while re-energising the practice of teaching as inquiry.

Stevenson, 2015

Liz Stevenson, from CORE Education, explains Story Hui and how it is used. Teachers, Parani Temoana and Tania Chapman, from Titahi Bay School share how it has enriched their teaching as inquiry process.

What are the benefits of Story Hui?

The key benefit of Story Hui is that it enables participants to consider student achievement in much broader terms than test scores. During the storytelling process, teachers are encouraged to reflect on the whole learner and provide rich and broad personal detail. In doing so, they cast light on a range of student competencies and develop deeper understandings of student wellbeing and engagement.

Story Hui can be used by groups of teachers and leaders taking part in professional inquiry, by teachers alongside parents and their students, or by groups of students themselves.

How does Story Hui work?

Story Hui works best with small groups of approximately 4 or 5 participants. Each group needs:

  • a facilitator
  • a timekeeper (4-5 minutes for storytelling and 4-5 minutes for questioning)
  • someone to draw the story with simple pictures and shapes
  • someone to record the story with text.

To begin, the direction of the stories is established through a common brief. For example, "share a story about something you did that you feel significantly improved learning for a student or a group of students."

Sharing and mapping stories
The storyteller is given 4-5 minutes to share their story. The story is transcribed and it is drawn in three different parts:

  • Section 1: The beginning. What was happening to learning? How do we know this? Who else was involved?
  • Section 2: The action/inquiry. What was the initiative? What happened? What did this mean? Share all the details.
  • Section 3: The end. What was the result? What learning improvement was seen? How did others respond?

Facilitative questioning
Once the storyteller has shared their story the group asks facilitative questions to establish more information. The purpose of facilitative questioning in Story Hui is to help the storyteller expand their thinking and take a deeper look at their own beliefs, values, and assumptions. During this process, the person who is mapping the story adds further details using symbols and notes. Evidence is added as points under the story. By following this protocol, the Story Hui becomes a group thinking experience that is multi-channelled with layers of information.

Titahi Bay School teacher, Parani Temoana demonstrates Story Hui in action as she reflects on her inquiry into selecting and using Apps to support learning in maths.

Facilitative questions

The following questions can be used during the questioning phase of Story Hui to help expand the story and build collective knowledge:

General question beginnings

  • Can you tell me more about ...
  • How did you feel about ...
  • How did that change ...
  • So what did that mean for you?
  • I'm not clear about the bit where ...
  • Can you give an example of ...
  • And then what happened?
  • What happened for ...
  • What led you to think of this/to see it this way?
  • What was your role in this?

Possible questions for section 1

  • How was the student feeling about ...
  • How were things at the start?
  • Was there anyone else involved?
  • What about family/whānau?
  • How was the student going in reading/writing?
  • Can you tell us a bit more about the student?
  • How were things in the classroom?

Possible questions for section 2

  • What was the first thing you did?
  • What happened when you ...
  • And then what happened?
  • What led you to think of ...
  • How did you set up/manage/maintain ...
  • What was happening to the student's relationships with others?
  • Was the student able to do this on their own?
  • Did anyone help you?
  • What was hard?
  • When did you first realise there was progress?
  • What did you particularly notice that told you that the student was becoming more focused?

Possible questions for section 3

  • What changes did you see in the student?
  • How did the family/whānau respond?
  • How did this impact on the class?
  • How did this make you feel?
  • Have you seen this happen before?
  • Why do you think ...
  • What were your strengths in this?
  • Did anything surprise you?
  • What learning from this will you keep and implement again?
  • What changes will this mean for your teaching?

Acknowledgement: These questions have been derived from Story Hui , a booklet written by Liz Stevenson.

Story Hui in action

Story Hui in action

Titahi Bay School teacher, Parani Temoana demonstrates Story Hui in action as she reflects on her inquiry into selecting and using Apps to support learning in maths. 

Story Hui

Story Hui

Liz Stevenson, from CORE Education, explains the Story Hui process. Teachers, Parani Temoana and Tania Chapman, from Titahi Bay School reflect on the benefits of this process. 

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Story Hui
This site introduces Story Hui and includes testimonials from teachers who have used Story Hui in their professional inquiries.

Story Hui booklet
This PDF booklet written by Liz Stevenson provides information on how to get started with Story Hui. It offers an example of a mapped story and explains the data that was gathered through this process.

Story Hui – A design for social good
In this blog, Liz Stevenson explains the origins and benefits of Story Hui. Liz views Story Hui as a "hand-in-glove fit with our complex 21C world of capabilities and work".


Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching – a New Zealand perspective
This research project discusses some emerging principles for future learning, how these are currently expressed in New Zealand educational thinking and practice, and what they could look like in future practice.