Teach English in Liheng Zhen - Suqian Shi

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English language learning in early childhood is a challenging endeavor in a sense that the teacher needs to sustain the students’ attention to keep them motivated so they can participate and be engage during class time. In order to keep children interested in class, the teacher has to design an activity that will allow the children to be themselves. The use of stories for learning English in early childhood can be an important component in making the class lively and entertaining. A good language teacher should be lively and entertaining to establish good rapport with students at the same time engage students during classroom interaction. One way of motivating students especially young EFL students is to use stories as a tool in learning the target language. Studies have shown that young English as a foreign language (EFL) learners benefit from storytelling activities in class as they can personally relate to some characters and events in short stories. As stories are used s springboard for class discussion, it will allow the children to be active participants of the teaching-learning process. A story as defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary is a description, either true or imagined, of a connected series of events. Children by nature love to tell or listen to stories. As such the use of stories in the EFL classroom can serve as a motivational activity for early childhood children to be able to open up their feelings and share their ideas in class. Stories are very inviting to children as they connect their personal experiences to the story in a natural manner. No matter how simple or short the story is, the characters and the message will always be remembered by the young learners. New research published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, suggests that no matter how a narrative is expressed -- through words, gestures or drawings -- our brains relate best to the characters, focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist of each story (McMaster University, 2018). This is especially true as young learners can feel and can relate to these meaningful and interesting stories especially if they also share their own stories or narratives in class. In this way, they get to learn vocabulary words they get from the story or they can also share the new terminologies when they answer questions or ask questions pertaining to the story presented or shared in class especially if they also share their own stories or narratives in class. The importance of stories for young EFL learners in Early Childhood is that it provides educational and personal advantage to these children. It is educational because they get to know about events that they can relate to and they also become aware of the culture and tradition that the story including some social and cultural activities associated with it. It also has its personal advantage as every student in class has his own way of interpreting the story based on his family and cultural background thus can instil moral values as he recognizes and appreciates his own identity. It is the role of the EFL teacher to choose the most appropriate and culturally sensitive stories with valuable lessons for children to appreciate their own culture and their own uniqueness. Storytelling and story sharing using illustrated storybooks in class can make it more interesting especially when done in a creative and lively manner. Through the story presented, children can freely paticipate as they react, comment, ask or answer questions from the story. Allowing students to share personal experiences and real life stories after the story is presented or during the discussion will help them develop confidence in using and in learning the target language. Thus, the power of stories as a tool in developing the children’s communicative competence is always rewarding. Since stories are easily relatabe, the use of stories for young EFL learners in the classroom can provide them more exposure on the relevance of language and language use in real life setting.