After finishing the unit of this week, I have added myself a new method of teaching English to children. It is really interesting and useful method. Can you guess that method? Yes, that is storytelling. And in this writing, I will share with you something I know about it. According to Berice Dudley (1996), “STORYTELLING is the art in which a teller conveys a message, truths, information, knowledge, or wisdom to an audience – often subliminally – in an entertaining way, using whatever skills, (musical, artistic, creative) or props he chooses, to enhance the audience’s enjoyment, retention and understanding of the message conveyed. Stories are sometimes told purely for joy and delight.”
There are many benefits of using this method in teaching English to young learners. Firstly, it helps develop imagination and encourages creativity ability in children. Secondly, it improves and develops listening and remembering abilities. Thirdly, it enhances physical skills. Young learners can involve the story, can do action, and can use parts of the body to express the actions of the characters in the story. Fourthly, it connects between teacher and students, between students and students. They can sit in circle shape in the ground to listen to stories. By this way, they will feel more comfortable and close to their friend. Lastly, storytelling also improves language skills about vocabulary, grammar, syntax and pronunciation. Through listening to the story, they can learn new words, new structures easily from their teacher.
Besides, you should know performance techniques and storytelling techniques to create an interesting story for children. Here are some useful techniques for storytelling:
- Different voices for different characters- a story has different characters, so you have to use different voices for different characters instead of using the only voice to express.
- Loud and soft voice- you need have a loud voice to make sure that every student can hear your voice clearly.
- Mime and gesture- of course, any story has actions of characters; therefore, you should use flexible gestures to express those actions for children. It not only makes your story alive but also helps students easy to understand content of story.
- Pictures and real objects- this is important things that are indispensable for your story. You can use real objects or picture to represent and explain difficult words and phrases…
- Using pauses to create time for understanding.
- Using various expressions; clear and simple language.
- Making eye contact to connect to children.
To sum up, in my opinion, telling stories is really a good method to teach English for young learners. If you have not applied it in the teaching, you should try to apply it now. I’m sure it will be helpful for you as well as your students. Good luck!
McKay, H., Steele, H.M., & Dudley, B. (1997). About Storytelling: A Practical Guide. Hale & Iremonger Pty, Ltd.