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A story of a grammar class

2 March 2017 No Comment

Nabanita Deshmukh

Storytelling is a great way to introduce English as a second language (ESL) to students who are not yet familiar with it. Children cannot analyse language like grown-ups do but imbibe it naturally from the surroundings they live in. Teachers therefore need to use the same approach to make language teaching as authentic as possible by introducing activities such as stories because children make sense of their world through them! Stories can be read, written, and repeated in many different ways by offering students a rich repertoire of interpretation and meaning.

But the question remains, especially in the minds of teachers whether grammar can be taught through stories. After all, the basic component of a language is its grammar and every child has to learn it to be able to communicate well but most often this does not happen. Children dread grammar lessons and are unwilling to learn the rules, not because the subject is boring but because often teachers do not teach it right!

How to make grammar classes relevant is an important point of discussion in most teacher meetings and what comes to the fore is the need to teach grammar meaningfully.

Given that stories have such a great impact on children, here is a list of creative activities to make English classes fun and interesting. And who knows? By using them in class, you may end up teaching better and students may actually love to learn!

Sequencing skills
Sequencing helps children comprehend what they read or hear. It also helps them identify the components of a story such as the beginning, the middle,and the end and then retell it in a sequential manner. Sequencing skills are important comprehension strategies, especially for narrative texts and they also help in problem-solving.

village-storytelling Activity 1: Story strip sequencing

Objective: For developing reading and sequencing skills

Outcomes:

  • Students will learn how to work in groups and choose the right sequence for recreating a story.
  • Students will learn how to link the beginning and ending of sentences to create a meaningful unit.

Materials: Cut-out strips of stories

Procedure:

  • The teacher narrates a story to the class.
  • The teacher cuts the printed story either into paragraphs, sentences, phrases or words depending on the age and level of the students.
  • She divides the students into groups and asks each group to arrange the strips in the correct order.
  • The teacher retells the story to the class and each group has to rearrange the story strips if they have done it differently.
  • As a variation, teachers can make children do this exercise before telling them the story and use it as a prediction exercise and to generate interest and suspense.

Sentence-weaving
The ability to write correctly and clearly can transform any challenging writing task into a fulfilling experience. In this regard, the development of sentence-making skills assumes vital importance especially for primary students.

The author is a teacher and writer of children’s stories and rhymes. She conducts workshops for teachers and students on storytelling and interactive methods of teaching. She can be reached at deshmukh.nitu@gmail.com.

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