Infusing Bodily Connotations Into Storytelling Instruction: A Discussion Grounded in Embodied Cognitive Theory

Yongfei ZHANG


Reforms in the theory and practice of curriculum and instruction should be based on changes in their theoretical foundation of cognitive theories. Traditional cognitive science has long been stuck in the confines of Cartesian dualism: the intact human being is divided into body and mind; cognitive computationalism and information processing theories have been prevalent. The computational metaphor of cognition advocates a “disembodied” kind of cognition and devalues bodily connotations. This approach has also impacted our fundamental understanding of issues in education and instruction; the theory and practice of storytelling instruction inevitably head down the wrong path as well due to the influence of this approach. Embodied cognitive theory is a new direction in contemporary philosophy and research in cognitive sciences; its emphasis on the cultural, integral, and affective nature of cognition infuses bodily connotations into our understanding of cognition. This new theoretical approach would also reveal new implications for the theory and practice of storytelling instruction.


Storytelling instruction; Embodied cognition; Cultural nature; Integral nature

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