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Importance Of Story And Drama For Teaching English Language Essay

The purpose of this study was to determine the importance of story and drama as a teaching element in children literature. How do teachers scaffold children’s learning through story and drama in Turkey? Also what is the effect of using creative drama method on attitudes and reading strategies in Turkish lessons? In the study literature review and interview was used to investigate how much literature teachers apply story and drama techniques in their literature classes and how they are practical or useful on Turkish children’s learning who are studying in middle schools. Population of this research is Turkish secondary school teachers who have experience in story and drama teaching. As a sample, it was interviewed 4 middle school Turkish literature teachers to learn their teaching experiences and attitudes to research topic. Collected data was analyzed and consequently findings indicated that story telling and creative drama methods had significant effect on make and begin and carry on a relationship, self control social skills and learning well by experiencing in Turkish lessons.

INTRODUCTION

Children's literature is for readers and listeners who are about 2-14 years old. Children's literature is a resource no literature teacher can do without. This study investigates a sample of pieces that are middle schools Turkish children literature according to scaffolding children’s learning through story and drama. Scaffolding is a well-known metaphor widely used in education and language teaching to describe the guidance, collaboration and support provided by teachers to lead children to new learning (Read, 2006). Stories and drama share a number of features, which make it natural to integrate and combine them in scaffolding learning during language lessons with children (Read, 2007).

When working with children, storytelling and drama techniques can be integrated and combined in multiple ways to provide robust and flexible scaffolding. This underpins and props up children’s learning in initial stages. It also provides appropriate support as they gain in confidence, and opens the way to new learning and the internalization of language and skills in enjoyable and creative ways (Read, 2006). Then what is literature? Literature is thought, experiences and imagination shaped into oral or written language that may include visual images. Children learn best in social situations, when content is meaningful and is interrelated. And literature is so available for these applications.

Research Questions are;

What are the importance of story and drama as a teaching element in “Children Literature” in middle schools especially based on life experiences of Turkish Language and Literature (TLL) teachers?

How do you scaffold as a teacher to children’s learning through story and drama in secondary schools?

How children literature scaffolds their effective learning by using drama and story in Turkish lessons. It could be analyzed effects of drama technique examining by how the effect of the creative drama method on the attitude and reading strategies in Turkish teaching, effects of creative drama method on the reception of some social skills, and evaluation of the attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards creative drama. On the other hand, it could be analyzed effects of storytelling technique examining by evaluation of the attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course, the function and importance of tale in language acquisition cultural worth instruction process, evaluation of the attitudes of parents who have 4-10 Years old children towards children literature and children books in Turkey. It was considered to analysis and combine effects of story and drama based on these topics.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In this study literature review and interview was used to investigate how often literature teachers apply story and drama techniques in their literature classes and the researches that have already been done about the topic how they are practical or useful on Turkish children’s learning who are studying in middle schools. On this research project topic, there was no specific thesis or research that points out directly this study which includes both story and drama features. For this reason, it is preferred that to classify and analysis each researches that have already been done about the topic. By this way, it was considered to analysis and combine effects of story and drama, attitudes of Turkish teachers, Turkish teacher candidates’, and parents to story and drama. That’s why; it was analyzed that 6 of studies are on the effects of children literature that 3 of them are directly related with drama and 3 of them are related with story during Turkish Language lessons with children. These studies contains well studied on research methodology, sample or population, and evaluation etc. After analyzing of collected data consequently findings were combined and indicated that story telling and creative drama methods had significant effect on make and execute a work with a group, begin and carry on a relationship, self control social skills and learning well by experiencing in Turkish lessons.

Examined research studies are chosen from especially from Turkish educators intentionally to analyze how often they use and how are practical or useful on Turkish children’s learning who are studying in middle schools. Because of there was no specific thesis or research that points out directly this study it is chosen to inform two most closest researches to this research project topic in drama and story head topics.

The first one is done by Fatma Kırmızı Susar, Pamukkale University in Denizli Turkey, in 2008. This article was efficient to identify the effects of using creative drama method on attitude and reading strategy in Turkish lesson. Drama has a language all of its own and draws on various forms of literacy. Students develop literacy skills in many ways through the range of activities they participate in during the drama class. In the study experimental design with pre and post test control group was used. There were 75 fourth grade students (female=37, male=38) in Turkish classes. The study was conducted in a primary school İzmir, Buca, during 2005-2006 education year and lasted seven weeks' in data collection, reading comprehension attitude was reading scale and reading strategies scales was used. In the experimental group creative drama technique, in the control group Turkish course teaching program was applied. In data analysis Mann Whitney U-test were used. This test can be used for very small samples. It can also be used when the variable being recorded is measured using an arbitrary scale which cannot be measured accurately (e.g. a color scale measured by eye or a behavioral trait such as aggression), (Billiet 2003).

As a result, creative drama method was more effective on using reading comprehension strategies than Turkish Lesson teaching program group.

The second research study is done by Hasan Bağcı in 2007. This study had take place in National Education Journal which is published by Turkish Ministry of Education in Ankara.

This study gave a direction to this research project because it was the closest study to this research. And also it helped to this study to examine attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course based on story books and storytelling on lessons. The purpose of the study was to investigate the attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course.

A 35 item children literature attitude scale prepared to find out attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course was given 180 third year students at the Turkish Teacher Department of the Faculty of Gazi Education, Gazi University in 2004-2005 academic years. It was found out that attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course are generally positive. The findings were evaluated on three dimensions according to the gender, teaching program and lesson success marks towards the results of the research. There were no significant gender differences found between male and female candidates and the type of teaching program (primary program or secondary program) attitudes towards children literature. Nevertheless, there is a significant difference in attitudes of the Turkish teacher candidates towards children literature and children literature course with respect to children literature lesson success based on grades.

As a result, it was seen that using story and drama techniques in literature lessons are effective if it is done by systematically.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research Design:

In this study interview was used to know how much literature teachers apply story and drama techniques in their literature classes. Four middle school Turkish Language and Literature teachers were interviewed to learn their life experiences, case problems like learning difficulties, comprehension skills and effects of using story and drama on children’s learning in middle school. It was determined that how were the teachers’ attitude towards using story and drama in their lessons. There were some Turkish lesson researches that have already been done about this research beside these studies and it was found that if teachers use them effectively in classes they were so practical or useful on Turkish children’s learning who are studying in middle schools.

The advantage of interview was that the researcher could adapt the questions as necessary, clarify doubt and ensure that the responses are properly understood, by repeating or rephrasing the questions. Especially in my research project the literature teachers’ attitude to the importance of story and drama as a teaching element in “Children Literature” was so essential because the research project would both study on literature review and teachers’ life experiences.

Sampling:

The research project was related to the Turkish Language and Literature teachers who have experiences about teaching in middle school classes. That’s why; 4 following TLL teachers were interviewed about the topic.

Population of this research was Turkish secondary school teachers who have experience in story and drama teaching. As a sample it was chosen to interview 4 middle school Turkish literature teachers to learn their teaching experiences and attitudes to research topic. The limitation of this study was having limited sample to interview. Yet, to recover this limitation the teachers are tried to chosen variously cities, schools, genders, teaching experiences.

The interviewed teachers and interview questions are shown below:

A Female, 30 years Turkish Teacher in TED Ankara College, Ankara.

B Female, 8 years Turkish Teacher in BLIS College, Ankara.

C Female, 3 year Turkish Teacher in Private Istanbul College, Istanbul.

D Male, 15 years Turkish Teacher in Iskenderun Public School, Hatay.

Interview Questions:

Do you use story and drama to catch children’s attention to literature class in middle schools? And how often do you use them?

What are the beneficial activities do you use in children’s literature in middle school?

What are the limitations about using these activities in class environment?

According to your experiences, in which ways this age group of children do learn best?

Could you give a specific example on this topic according to your teaching memories?

DATA ANALYSIS

In this study, for data analysis it is preferred so separate questions and answers topic by topic that according to the teachers who are interviewed on storytelling and drama techniques to scaffold children’s learning.

3 teachers answered about using story and drama to catch children’s attention usually at the beginning of the lesson to catch students’ attention, interest, and curiosity.

Just 1 teacher said that he uses rarely based on students’ motivation and amount of the class but he informs that he was working in a public school and amount of the classes were so high.

Yet he added also using this activities sometimes help students social and communal.

Using beneficial activities teachers answered this question in groups of shown below:

Memory nails (1)

Novel rooms (2)

Empathy model (1)

Hot seat play (3)

Role playing (4)

One teacher answered she uses “Memory Nail” activity which is efficient when analyzing story or novel in class. The activity aims creativity and subjectivity. Teachers want from students to produce a scene from story or novel using significant objects, characters’, images which are take place in story. It could be done in a shoe box in 3 dimensions or if opportunities are limited students could prepare a poster too. Two teachers, who are working in a private school, informed that they were using “Novel Rooms” to make students engage with the lesson. Each student brings an object that take place in the novel and they produce a room then students talk about why they choose this object and its importance for the novel. One teacher said that we usually use “Empathy Model” when we are analyzing the characters of novels or stories. “Hot seat play” was the one of the popular activity that teachers informed. It was building an empathy with the character of novel. Four all teachers informed them all use role playing especially in drama texts to encourage students to be social and communal.

It was realized that like each activity was up to teachers’ creativity. Teachers could change or add something to activity according to students learning needs. Almost all teachers agree that these techniques if they are well-applied arouse interest; attention and curiosity of students and that make vocabulary memorable more easily. Most of teachers said that they made pupils think from within the story and explore significant issues. By using guided questioning techniques, children think about the implications of the characters’ actions and analyze their behavior. They all referred to that is a kind of transferring action that gives children an opportunity to relate and apply their understandings from the story to their own lives.

Although there are so much positive effects of story and drama, it is referred that there are also limitations about using it. First of all, three teachers agreed that if the class is crowded, it is hard to control the class according to class management. Four all teachers agreed that keeping students on task is also difficult when they are using these activities. Yet in contritely teachers agreed that children learn easily because of these techniques are playful and so engage with their real life. That’s why; they suggests about arranging the class atmosphere by using preparatory work before using these techniques. These preparatory works could be small games and activities connected with story and drama.

As another point, it is said that, public schools are so willing about using these techniques but they are less trained about this issue. By this way, they wanted to improve themselves and investigate. They found 2 different and interesting events about this issue. At that time, I as a researcher learned a different thing almost at the end of this study. One of them is a research center in Ankara University called Child and Young Literature Application and Research Center. (Ankara Üniversitesi, Çocuk ve Gençlik Edebiyatı Uygulama ve Araştırma Merkezi (ÇOGEM)) and the other is an International Storytelling Conference which was April, 9th 2011 in Istanbul. It is hoped that this kind of works helps teachers and students. There are the web site addresses of these events at the end of references section to look at in detailed.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, it was realized that stories and drama share a number of features (Read, 2007), which make it natural to integrate and combine them in scaffolding learning during language lessons with children. As research topic “scaffolding” describes the guidance, collaboration and support provided by teachers to lead children to new learning, it is preferred to show conclusion part, synthesis of data analysis and literature review, could be shown below point by point like a ladder.

Using storytelling and drama techniques help;

Attention, interest, curiosity at the beginning of the lesson.

Using storytelling and drama techniques help catch students’ attention, interest, and curiosity at the beginning of the lesson.

Increase students’ motivation

Motivating students can be a challenging in sometimes, for example there are so many technologies and distractions that adolescents have.

Make students’ engage with the lesson

Children are encouraged to engage with the lesson through prediction, hypothesizing and using their imaginations.

Make students’ social and communal

Both stories and drama are take place in classes. They makes students increase their social skills such as cooperation, collaboration, listening.

Multiple intelligences

Stories and drama provide opportunities for students to use different combinations of their Multiple Intelligences.

Connection with daily life

It was oblivious that students learn best when they make connection with their daily life because they are concreting the abstract information.

Transfer previous information

This stage gives children an opportunity to recall and transfer their previous information.

Internalize

The final stage and desired outcome is that children internalize information from story and drama.

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