This essay argues for narrative competence as an underlying skill neglected in educational policy makers’ calls for enhanced literacy through improved reading, writing, numeracy and working with digital technology. This argument is presented in three parts. First, a genealogy of the narrative is presented by looking at understandings of narratives with respect to changes in technology and socio-cultural relations. Three technological forms of the narrative are examined: the oral, written and image based narrative. Second, revisiting Bernstein, narrative competency is connected to pedagogic practice. The focus is upon code recognition and the rhythm of narrative in a classroom context. Third, a proposal is made to develop narrative competence as a research programme capable of exploring literacy in an age of open learning.
The core assertion of this essay is that when narrative is understood in a multi-directional, multi-voiced and multi-punctual sense, opportunities are created for a pedagogic practice that is in tune with the demands placed upon youth and their relationship to changing technologies. This makes the exploration of connections between narrative competence, pedagogic practice and technology the central focus of this essay.
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