К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2009
Автор: Васильева Т. А.
The interminable development of a modern
world nowadays under the influence of the process of globalization demands the
improvement of educational system in the Republic, especially the role of
learning foreign language is of great importance for growing generation. Today
there is an increase in need for highly qualified specialists mastering different
languages on the required level to communicate with foreign partners and sufficient
for the effectiveness in a professional work. Therefore the role of the
language is quite important.
Over the last few years methodologists show
great interest in different efficient approaches to teaching languages
stimulating the interest of learners. And one of them is storytelling. A lot of
research have taken place, many new guidelines concerning this theme were
suggested (Andrew Wright, Nikhat Thameem, David Nunan, Lida Schinke, Gail
Ellos, Jean Breuster, etc.).
Let’s look at some reason to use stories
when teaching foreign languages:
- Stories can be motivating and fun and can
develop positive attitude towards learning a foreign language;
- Stories train the imagination. Learners
are able to involve personally in a story as they identify with the characters.
It can be a tool in linking fantasy and the imagination with the real world of
Frequent listening allows certain language
items to be acquired while others are being overtly reinforced. Many stories
also contain natural repetition of key vocabulary and structures. Repetition
also encourages participation in the narrative, thereby providing a type of
pattern practice in a meaningful context. Following meaning and predicting language
are important skills in language learning;
Listening to stories can help the teacher
to introduce or revise new vocabulary and sentence structures;
Listening to stories develops the
learner’s listening and concentrating skills via visual clues, the prior
knowledge of how language works, the general knowledge. This allows to
understand the overall meaning of a story and to relate it to their personal
There are three main dimensions in which
stories can add to learning in the whole curriculum:
1. Stories can be used to reinforce conceptual
development in students.
2. Stories are a means of developing
learning to learn. This major category covers:
reinforcing thinking strategies (e. g.,
comparing, classifying, predicting, problem-solving, planning, etc.);
developing strategies for learning a
language (e. g., guessing the meaning of new words, training the memory,
developing study skills (e. g., making,
understanding and interpreting charts and graphs, making and learning to use
dictionaries, organizing work, etc).
3. Carefully selected stories can also be
used to develop other subjects in the curriculum, in particular:
Science: the life-cycle of insects, animals,
History: prehistoric animals, understanding
chronology/the passing of time;
Geography and the Environment shopping
and shops in the local area, neighboring parks, sports and games, using a map,
the weather and the climates around the world, cultural studies;
Art and Craft: drawing, making masks,
hats, cards, clocks etc;
Music and Drama: singing songs, playing
instruments, role-play, miming.
In our case this is a cultural aspect. We
can two aims simultaneously, that is achieve teaching difficult language
structures (grammar, vocabulary are of great importance when learning a foreign
language) and at the same time students come to know the culture of those
people, they come to know Turkish traditions, their way of life, their country,
political views, culture, history, etc. it enlarges the students’ horizon in
both ways: in learning the language and learning the Turkish people.
A syllabus is concerned essentially with
the selection and grading of content. A syllabus is most likely to include
language functions and structures, vocabulary, pronunciation and skills to be
practiced. Various factors are considered when selecting and grading content
such as the age and conceptual level of the learners, their needs and
interests, their language level and previous language-learning experience, and
the degree of difficulty of stories and activities.
There are many sources of simplified
stories especially for those who start learning the Turkish language. However,
at the same time many authentic stories written for Turkish-speaking students
can be also suitable for those learning Turkish. As these have not been written
specifically for students as a foreign language, the language is not selected
or graded. Many, however, contain language traditionally found in most beginner
syllabuses. The advantage of using authentic stories is that they provide
examples of ‘real’ language and help to bring real world into the class. Very
often simplified stories represent a watered-down version of the Turkish
language and can deceive both teacher and learners about the true nature of
language. Authentic stories can also be very motivating for a learner as they
experience a strong sense of achievement and having worked with a ‘real’ book.
Teachers can choose from a wide range of
stories: those that students are already familiar with in their mother tongue,
such as traditional stories and fairy-tales; picture stories with no text,
where students build up the story together; rhyming stories; cumulative stories
with predictable endings; humorous stories; stories with infectious rhythms;
everyday stories; fantasy stories; animal stories, and so on.
Care needs to be taken to select authentic
stories that are accessible, useful and relevant for students learning Turkish.
For stories aimed at beginners’ it is possible
to use the mother tongue from time to time. If the class shares the common language,
this is quite natural. In fact, the teacher would be denying students a very
useful learning strategy if he/she insisted on always using Turkish. However,
the teacher should consider carefully when and why to use the mother tongue.
Obviously, the more of usage of Turkish and the more students get better at and
more familiar with the language, there is less need to use the mother tongue.
Here we suggest some occasions when to use
the mother tongue:
Setting the scene by drawing upon the
students' experience related to the story or their knowledge about the subject
and language. However, the mother tongue can be used to help students to make
informed guesses about the Turkish words. Students can look carefully at the
questions and options to work out meaning and use other linguistic clues such
as similarities with the mother tongue. Even if the students complete the quiz
in their mother tongue, it will still prepare them for the story in Turkish.
Predicting what comes next in a story.
For example, the teacher can ask his students
to answer a question in their mother tongue.
Providing a gloss of the main storyline
beforehand. This is important with more difficult stories.
Eliciting vocabulary or phrases. For
example, the teacher could ask students to say something connected with the
story. If they do not know these words in Turkish, they will need to make
suggestions in their mother tongue. This provides with an ideal opportunity to
introduce the words in Turkish as the need to know them has come from the students
themselves and the context is clear.
Explaining keywords, a grammatical rule
or cultural information. Translating a keyword may be a useful short cut if
there are no illustrations to convey the meaning or if it is an abstract word.
Reminding students of what has happened
so far in the story.
Explaining how to do an activity. For
example, pair work or a game. The more familiar students become with these
activities, the less the teacher will need to use the mother tongue.
Learning to learn. Many activities which
require students to reflect on their learning or the language need to be
carried out in the mother tongue with lower-level students.
Using storybooks successfully in the
classroom needs careful planning. Simply reading a story to a class without
preparation can be disastrous with the loss of students’ attention, motivation
and self-confidence. Although learners are used to listening to stories in
their mother tongue, understanding a story in a foreign language is hard work.
Students' enjoyment will increase enormously if the teacher ensures that their
understanding is supported in several ways. The following guidelines provide a
framework to make story-based lessons more accessible:
It is preferable to provide a context for
the story and introduce the main characters. The teacher should help students
feel involved and link their experience with that in the story to set the
scene; relate the story to aspects of their own lives such as where they live,
the animals they are familiar with, what they like or dislike, going shopping,
having picnics, the people they know, etc. Once the context has been understood
and the students can identify with the characters, then elicit key vocabulary
and phrases, and involve students in predicting and participating in the story.
Provide visual support: drawings on the
blackboard, cut-out figures, speech bubbles, flash cards, etc.
Explain the context, keywords and ideas
in the mother tongue, if necessary.
Identify linguistic objectives. Decide
which language points students need to recognize for comprehension when the
story is told and which would be useful to reproduce such as lexical sets,
language functions and structures, etc.
Relate the story or associated activities
to work in other subject areas if possible.
Decide on the amount of time to spend on
the story. Should it be used once or twice or over a period of several lessons?
Decide when to read the story. To read a
little each lesson - or all at once after appropriate preparation?
Decide in which order to introduce or
revise the language necessary for understanding the story. Make sure students
understand the aims of each lesson and how it relates to the story.
If necessary, modify the story to make it
more accessible to pupils. Substitute unfamiliar words with better-known ones
and adapt the sentence structure to make the story easier to follow, and so on.
Find out if there are any rhymes or songs that students can learn to reinforce
the language introduced.
Decide which follow-up activities would
provide opportunities for students to use language from the story in different
Storytelling is indeed powerful. It provides
the foundation for learning. Storytelling teaches students to listen actively
and analytically, improves verbalization skills, increases imagination and
visualization skills, and increases comprehension and retention skills. As
educators know, listening is the basis for all language skills: talking is
learned by listening, reading is based on verbal language, writing is based on
reading. And once students have listened to a story and used that story to
create their own, they become anxious to write them down.
Imagination and visualization are also
essential to literacy, since these are the tools that allow a reader to give
meaning to the words being decoded. These skills, in turn, lead to
comprehension and retention. Imagination and visualization are also essential
life skills: They are the primary tools we use for successful problem-solving
in science, math, and daily conflicts. Storytelling builds all of these skills
while motivating students to explore the wealth of folktales and stories found
Storytelling is also a gentle way to guide
students towards constructive personal values by vicariously placing the
listener in situations in which the outcome of both wise and unwise actions and
decisions can be experienced from the safe distance of the imagination.
That's why we tell stories. And when
students learn to tell stories, they practice the art of organizing and
retaining information. They reinforce the wiring.
Stories are an effective tool for language
teaching. They meet the emotional, cognitive and psychological demands: their
need to belong; to act; to share; to feel protected, etc. Stories and fairy
tales are inherently interesting to students. They speak to the "I"
of the student.
To conclude the work we can say that these
then, are the main points for using storytelling in early foreign-language
1. Storytelling should be viewed as an
essential part of early language teaching. It gives students rich and versatile
experience with language and culture. Through storytelling, students acquire
cultural literacy to make their language learning meaningful.
2. The curriculum for language teaching can
be story based.
3. Finding the right story is important.
Story selection should meet certain objective and subjective criteria.
Objective criteria relate to story grammar; subjective criteria relate to the
student and his/her preferences. When selecting a story for language teaching,
objective criteria are the most important since they facilitate comprehension.
4. Text adaptation may be necessary to
facilitate comprehension. A story should be adapted in such a way that a
student can easily pick up clues or "staging posts" to construct the
5. Story comprehension and understanding is
affected by the storytelling technique used. We don't know yet which technique
is the most effective but it should lead to "guided comprehension."
6. Finally, guided comprehension is a
process through which the student learns strategies for making meaning. The
teacher's role is to help the student use different strategies and to adjust
the storytelling process if she/he loses the meaning.
1. Penny Ur. Teaching
listening comprehension. Cambridge handbooks for language teachers/ Penny Ur;
series editor Penny Ur. – Cambridge University Press: 2003. – P. 47-164.
2. Gillian Porter Ladousse.
Role play. Resource books for teachers/ Gillian Porter Ladousse; series editor
Alan Maley. – Oxford University Press: 1997. – 181 p.
3. Jill Hadfield. Classroom
Dynamics. Resource books for teachers/ Jill Hadfield; series editor Alan
Malley. – Oxford University Press: 1997. – P. 72-79.
4. Jogn Morgan. Vocabulary.
Resource books for teachers/ John Morgan, Mario Rinvolucri; series editor Alan
Malley. – Oxford University Press: 2002. – 126 p.
5. Gail Ellis. The
storytelling handbook A guide for primary teachers of English/ Gail Ellis, Jean
Brewster. – Gail Ellis and Jean Brewster: 1991. – 276 p.
6. David N.
Johnson. Cooperative learning in the classroom/ David N. Johnson, Roger T.
Johnson, Edythe J. Holubec. – Association for supervison and curriculum
development, Alexandria: 1994. – 110 p.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2009