Storytelling as a Part of Learning English as a Second Language in Early Childhood
Storytelling is part of life itself. The world we are and most of the things we know about creating the world all came through stories.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Onikoyi F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The Nature of Storytelling
Storytelling has been one of the ancient and still relevant teaching methodologies to pass information and knowledge from generation to generation. History of the past, fabulous kingdoms, people, and cultures are all learned through stories. History as a subject at the elementary and tertiary levels is mainly made through storytelling.
The story, we could say, is an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment. It could also be termed as a tale. It could be a narrative of series of related events or experiences, whether actual or fictitious. It could be about animals or fairies (children's stories).
Storytelling in Early Years
Early childhood education is the education given to children between the ages of 0-6. The set of children in this level of education have a shorter attention span. They are more likely to have an open-mind approach to new learning experiences and methods. Children can also absorb the English language easily the same way as they acquire their language.
Stories for learning in early childhood is one of the fastest and unique ways for children to learn and develop an understanding of the world around them in terms of language, people, culture, religion, and society.It is an excellent way to teach positive attitudes, character building, and respect for others.
How to Tell Stories in a Classroom
In early childhood, stories for English learning are "teacher-centered" as the teacher does most of the talking and demonstrations. As a prompter in the early childhood class, the teacher would prompt the children to learn new vocabularies, sounds, and pronunciation of words in the English language. This could be done during storytelling through repetition and oral drilling.
Pros for Tell Stories in the ESL Classroom
Teachings done through stories are interesting, easier to understand, and easy to connect with. Storytelling is one way a teacher can use to motivate the children to learn. It can serve as a very good warmer to start up the day as it can lighten the classroom's mood. At the early childhood level, storytelling with lots of demonstrations by the teacher can captivate the children's attention longer than usual.
It will also enable the teacher to involve all the children equally throughout the lesson. Stories will expose the children to more words. Their meanings and uses as learners do better by copying or mimicking adults around them, especially in pronunciation. It will help learners understand the English language faster and easier as their absorbent mind is still very active. It will help children at this stage to develop an interest in reading, especially if stories are often told from books.Storytelling in early childhood education will stimulate the children's curiosity and interest to learn more about the English language.
The teacher may also want stories to be acted out to involve the children in the learning process using the ESA approach. Here the teacher as a participant in the lesson acts as an equal and not the teacher. The children are allowed to join in the activities based on the story told. The teacher assigns roles to the children, giving them different dialogues to activate what they have learned. With this, children are encouraged to practice English language learning in the story and use them in real-life situations. The Presentation, Practice, and Production technique is a perfect way to teach through storytelling in early childhood. English concepts can be put in story form to be taught to children. This will enable them to retain more information and be able to give feedback.
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Stories are essential for English learning in early childhood as they can serve as cues for children to remember quickly what they have learned.
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