Teach English in Yangji Zhen - Lianyungang Shi

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We all remember the stories which were told us when we were children. They are remembered easily because the stories have repetitions of structures, the flow of events are told in the predictable order, and they are also interesting and fun so children are really enthusiastic about listening stories. Telling stories engage learners and show them language structures and vocabularies. Storytelling is beneficial for young learners. It introduces new cultures to learners and develops critical thinking skills. We can teach language to young learners in an entertaining way while telling stories. Stories teach valuable lessons to children. Stories contain repetition, so children can gather language easily. Curtain and Dahlberg state ‘’Story, or narrative, is a powerful vehicle for experiencing culture. Values and concepts of the culture that are embedded in myths and folktales can be shared through storytelling, story reading, and dramatization.’’ (2010). Teacher can introduce children to people from other cultures through stories. Stories offer children a world of supported meaning that they can relate to. Young learners can pick up new vocabulary and language structures with the help of stories into the curriculum. We can help students to develop critical thinking skills by asking questions so they analyze, make differences and compare things. Students should summarize, edit and develop the story. When we decide to use storytelling in our lessons, the first step is choosing the story. Our stories should be familiar to our culture, and they should include repetitive and predictable words. The visuals and realia should make input comprehensible. Then we should prepare ourselves to tell the story effectively. If we want to make our storytelling effective, we need to think about four elements: theatrics, props, script and rehearsal. Theatrics are gestures, body movement, voices and facial expressions. Props are visuals, realia, costumes etc. Rehearsals are memorizing the text, using cue cards, recording ourselves and practicing. Scripts are using illustrations integrating songs or chants and preparing some questions and prediction in the storytelling. If we want to make our storytelling good, it should involve before-, during- and after-storytelling activities. There are some activities that we can use before storytelling. We can use pictures or realia, such as puppets, to introduce the story. If there are key words, we should teach them before storytelling. We can ask students to predict what will happen in the story. If there are songs and chants, we should teach them before the story. We can check their understanding by doing during-storytelling activities. These activities also keep students interest. We can ask questions about the characters and setting. We should do TPR (total physical response) with students to make storytelling more active and fun. Besides, we can ask to create their own ending. After storytelling, we need to do follow-up activities to check comprehension. These follow-up activities get learners to practice new language structures and vocabulary. We can check their predictions with the before or during-storytelling activities. We can ask them to retell the story. Also, we can use games to check comprehension. We can use ‘’Start&Stop;’’ game, we retell the story with mistakes and students stop us when they hear a mistake and correct it. Storyboarding, and story mapping can also be used. When I think about the truth that language learning begins with listening and speaking, I can easily say storytelling is a powerful tool for langauge teaching. Storytelling is an authentic form of communication. It encourages learners to use imagination and creativity, increases verbal proficiency, develops listening skills. Students can become active participants of the lesson in a storytelling activity. Stories are motivating and fun so they can create desire to learn a language. Stories usually contain repetition of structures so learners can remember details easily after the first storytelling. Also, stories can increase students attention span by creating a sense of wonder. As mentioned above, storytelling has many advantages in teaching English for young learners. That’s why we should tell stories when teaching language. Source: Joan Kang Shin, JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall. 2014 . Teaching Young Learners English: From Theory to Practice