We all seem to admit nowadays that the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) is decisive at early stages of learning. Indeed, as opposed to traditional perspectives, modern curricula include in their methodological guidelines real contexts in which students develop not just “academic knowledge”, but also the social skills and abilities to get by in our pluricultural and plurilingual societies.
The usual orientations in “EQ” friendly environments are in alignment with the recognition and management of basic emotions, so as to understand that reactions are closely linked to feelings. Similarly, our real needs can only be satisfied if we truly show what we feel. In guise of an example, if sadness is not properly identified and we give evidence of anger, our classmates shall be dissuaded to get closer, and in turn we would receive distance instead of comfort.
In teaching English as a foreign language (FL) to children, there are some principles who seem to remain stable, despite the rapid changes of technological societies. These principles are universal, since they have to do with children´s nature and their likes. In this case, the use of stories with a didactic intention is probably as old as human being, and of course an enjoyable resource in all cultures.
Nonetheless, as an indispensable requirement, FL teachers ought to be aware of how comprehension strategies can help learners improve their ability to understand; therefore, it is essential to promote these strategies which, in turn, shall lead to a more autonomous type of learning, favouring learning to learn competence. In this sense, intelligent guessing is usually applied by FL teachers who want their students to reflect on the listening task. Some important intelligent guessing strategies are: predicting, by using prompts and clues to encourage them to guess what they think it is going to happen; and inferring meaning from the context, which is much more memorable for learners than receiving an explicit translation.
In this story by Miranda Paul, we can appreciate how “daily-life” stories can be ideal real contexts to get children familiar with the world of emotions and relations with others. This selection of children´s familiar scenarios should be perceived as close to their experiences. On the other hand, we may also introduce relevant situations for useful language practice, such as introducing themselves to other people, polite conventions when meeting or greeting people, etc. As we can see, in these situations students may be able to practise and infer social conventions of the language; but also learn the necessary skills to get by in daily life situations in English.
According to the video promotion, ‘The Tantrum Phantom’ is a story created to help children understand how to deal with their emotions in a positive way. It also emphasizes that getting angry does not help to fix their problems… I must admit that this was enough to arouse my teaching curiosity and get down to it; and eventually children had great fun with the story, and we all reflected on the importance of identifying and showing true emotions.
Video by: Candyseed Stories