When I was in primary school, my teacher told me a lot of stories that was the reason why I wanted to go to class. As well as I, almost of children enjoy listening to stories so much because there are many famous characters in stories such as King, Queen, fairy, prince and so on that lead them into mysterious world. In addition, it is too interesting for them to imagine the strange things that they have never met in their real life. Up to now, when being the forth- year- student in English education major, I realize that storytelling is a method that is not only exciting but also effective. It teaches children about their life and others such as culture, religions, and understanding; especially in TETL, storytelling plays an important role in developing children’s cognitive and language skills. It makes them relax and encourages their participation in different activities. It stimulates their imagination and creativity. Moreover, it both improves their listening skill and enriches their vocabulary.
However, what should teachers do to involve the children in storytelling? After watching some videos made by British council from Thailand, South Korean and Singapore, I have some ideas about this.
Firstly, it is important for teacher to prepare the students for the story. The children must be ensured that they are ready to listen to the story. There are some main techniques used in this period. For example, teachers must choose a topic that I suitable for their children’s interests like animals. Before storytelling, the teachers can give the children some questions relating to the content of the story or have a small task so that they can focus on that topic. Pre –teaching new vocabulary is a very necessary step before listening. There is a variety of techniques in explaining new words like using pictures, real objects or acting.
Secondly, how to tell a story in order to attract the listener’s attention? In my opinion, the most important storytelling technique is looking the child in the eyes. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, so you can see the feeling of the children in their eyes. For instant, if you find their confusion, you have to read it slower and clearer. Besides, using gesture is obligate. Obviously, at the age of 6 to 8, the children’s vocabulary is too poor so they are unable to understand most of the content of the story with only listening. Therefore, it is better for teachers to use whole body to tell stories. This means that we should use body language, face expression, posture and so on to express. In the children’s little minds, they often think the story is really happening, so teacher have to be flexible in telling stories. Using loud voice or soft voice in suitable situation; sometimes, we can pause or keep silence and ask the children guess what will happen next. This will make the kids pay attention into the story.
Finally, what’s about checking the kids’ understanding about the story? There are some useful activities for enhancing knowledge. After telling stories, teachers should give the educational purpose through the story as well as orientate them to real life.
In conclusion, storytelling is really useful in teaching language for young learners. Actually, I have applied this method to my part- time job as a tutor for a four- grade student. After this lesson, I find that it is not to difficult to tell an English story for kids while teaching them.