Strategies to develop good habits and make students engaged: short stories & songs in the FL class to promote positive coexistence habits.

Strategies to develop good habits and make students engaged: short stories & songs in the FL class to promote positive coexistence habits.

Source: Appusiers – Youtube

#ValuesSongs #RespectSongs #KidsNurserySongs

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It is undeniable that the FL classroom can be an ideal setting to foster a positive social environment where children learn the importance of respectful attitudes.  Transversal elements are those which require being covered from all the areas since their development in the curriculum is not established for a particular subject.

Using stories to teach English entails plenty of advantages. According to Van (2009)

  • It provides meaningful contexts.
  • It involves a wide range of vocabulary, dialogues and prose.
  • It appeals to imagination and enhances creativity.
  • It develops cultural awareness.
  • It encourages critical thinking.
  • It is in line with CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) principles (literature can enhance meaning and learning is facilitated through involvement and joy).

On the other hand, attractive stories can be the springboard for teachers to implement animation and expression techniques. Drama techniques range from exercise-based games, short rehearsed scenes from familiar stories, basic role plays, and simulations. There are some more advanced techniques which would obviously be out of reach for our students in primary education. According to O’Neill and Kao (1998), the usefulness of every kind of drama in second language (L2) lies in the fact that it provides contexts for multiple language encounters and encourages authentic dialogue between teachers and students. According to this, the use of drama strategies offers students the opportunity to meet the FL in purposeful and challenging contexts. As O’Neill and Kao (1998) point out, drama does things with words. It introduces language as an essential and authentic method of communication. Drama sustains interactions between students with the target language, creating a world of social roles and relations in which the learner is an active participant. Drama focuses on negotiation of meaning. The language that arises is fluent, purposeful and generative, because it is embedded in context.

Taking stories to the FL class draws upon both cognitive and affective domains. In order to prepare students for animation techniques, the role of the FL teacher as a storyteller is essential. Instead of a mere reading, the teacher´s performance should communicate the story in a lively and “catching” way.  This involvement of the teacher is essential to initiate motivation; in this sense, Mourão (2009) notes: When you tell a story, the book, the visual, your face and body are all visual aids for the children. Because you are telling the story from memory, you are looking at the children and using their reaction as feedback to what you are saying. Keep eye contact with children as often as possible, this brings them into the story and also helps you see if they are following. If necessary, we can allow them to interact with the story and extend it for their benefit.

It is very likely that the most important resource we have as teachers when putting into motion creative activities is ourselves. Animation and expression techniques require intervention from the teacher to involve students, organize the activity, support understanding, elicit and prompt language, amongst others; and perhaps the most effective way to do all this is from “inside” the drama activity.

In guise of an example, this story by Amit Garg shows how through cooperation the characters achieve their goal… An unexpected goal.

Find out more stories in

MOURÃO, S. “Using Stories in the Primary Classroom” in “BRITLIT: Using Literature in EFL Classrooms”. British Council. 2009.

O´NEILL, C. and KAO, M.S. “Words into words: Learning a Second Language through Process Drama”. Ablex Publishing Corporation. 1998.

VAN, T. T. “The Relevance of Literary Analysis to Teaching Literature in EFL Classroom”. English Teaching Forum. 2009.

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