Larry Brown – One Story of Storytelling in Higher Education

Press Play to hear storyteller Larry Brown talks about storytelling in higher education on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.

Press Play to hear storyteller Larry Brown talks about storytelling in higher education on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.


All life is narrative, well at least narrative is how we perceive the structure of the cosmos, derive meaning, use language, and develop community. That seems to be a universal experience. I cannot imagine teaching informally or formally without narrative, without telling stories. So in the undergraduate or graduate classroom, or in alternative adult education, I do tell. I am aware that considerable contemporary research has indicated the value and effectiveness of story in teaching/learning, but I often structure the class period itself as a narrative plot. The class (if not the whole course) is a process of awareness, ambiguity, complexity, roles, and resolution. I have noticed from evaluations that my students connect with key concepts through the stories used in class, or the narrative structure of the class.

However, beyond storytelling as an instructional tool, the analysis of story is important when studying Human Geography, my discipline. Ethnic identity, ecological perspectives, urban housing choices, participation in global economics, the geography of religion, and the development of political ideology all involve story. These aspects of human culture on the surface of the earth are stories of meaning and purpose. Some academics my study story in folklore, folkways, literature, performance art, communication, marketing, etc., or may use storytelling as therapeutic method. These are specific in content or form, or utility. And some ways I am dependent on all these disciplines, as we weave together the story of higher education.


Larry Brown is an Assistant Professor of Human Geography at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. He has been storytelling for nearly thirty years. He is the co-founder and current co-president of the Mid-Missouri Organization for Storytelling (MOST) centered in Columbia, MO, past-president of the Storytelling In Higher Education SIG of the National Storytelling Network (NSN), a member of the NSN Board, a member of River and Prairie Storyweavers, MOTELL, and a member of the National Organization of Biblical Storytellers. He tells to all ages and is known for his original Jack Tales and ghost stories, as well as personal, Christmas, and medieval stories.

Larry Brown received a Ph.D. from the College of Education, Department of Education and Policy Analysis, at the University of Missouri, Columbia, majoring in Policy Studies. He conducted research on the radical racist religious right movement called Christian Identity. He is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in Sociology; received the Masters of Divinity from Christian Theology Seminary, Indianapolis; and the Masters of Arts in Geography from the University of Missouri, Columbia. In addition to teaching at MU, He taught at Stephens College and the Missouri School of Religion. He pastored congregations for thirty years in Nebraska, Indiana, and Missouri before becoming a full time professor.

He has published several articles on such topics as the Christian Identity movement, domestic terrorism, Islam and Christianity, Youth Ministry, Stewardship, and Christian Worship. Larry is the author of the Missouri School of Religion resource booklet entitled, “Worship In The Small Congregation.” Larry’s story, “The Angel of River Road” appeared in the 2009 The August House Book of Scary Stories .


For more on Larry Brown please go to his website:

1 Comment

  • By Chara, April 29, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!

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