The Real Estate Instructor’s Toolbelt

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

Using Real Estate Stories as a Teaching Tool

There is an old Native American Proverb. It goes – “Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

Wouldn’t we all as instructors like to believe that what we communicate in the classroom would “live in the hearts of our students forever.” Many of us believe that we can infuse our lectures with stories that will accomplish, or come close to accomplishing, that objective.

Having said that, one of the most common complaints to regulators year in and year out, is real estate instructors telling stories that don’t have anything to do with the subject matter of the class. Clearly some real estate instructors don’t have guidelines on how to use stories to make real estate more fascinating, and also related to the course objectives.

We know, that the easiest thing in the world is to just read to students from the textbook or PowerPoint slides. We also know that it’s hard for students to learn while they’re sleeping. So what can we do to avoid complaints about storytelling and not put our students to sleep.

The following are suggestions to reduce the number of complaints to regulators and to increase the level of satisfaction and engagement of our students with stories:

1. Before telling a story ask yourself the question, What point do I want my students to get out of my story?

After posing one of the following questions, students need at least 5 seconds in order to process it and begin forming an answer. The students’ responses to these kinds of questions can be an indicator of whether you were successful.

  • What happened in this story?
  • What was interesting to you?
  • Identify one important concept you learned while listening to this story.
  • What do you think a real estate agent would normally do?
  • What is the normal next step?
  • What else could the agent have done?
  • Why is it that way?
  • What did you learn from this story?
  • What does …… mean?
  • What are you still wondering about?

2. Humor is good with students. Jokes generally aren’t. Students want to enjoy the educational process.

At the same time they did not come to real estate class to see a comedian. Use humor sparingly and make the stories short ones.

3. Don’t emphasize the mistakes real estate agents make (including your own).

Students come to real estate class to learn right courses of action, not wrong ones. Stories can make a substantial contribution to student success. As a learning tool stories can encourage students to listen and visualize in a way that bare facts cannot. Particularly in our media-driven world, a good story can be a reminder that spoken words are powerful and that concentration and attention is still a valuable skill.

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By: Dearborn Real Estate Education