I would have to say that I totally agree with the author on the value of the books in terms of linguistic.
As mentioned by one of the teachers interviewed by the author, she/he would use the story books to connect the words and forms they learned previously to a more meaningful context. In fact the children not see only the words in a more meaningful context but also the words in action so to speak. This would make the lesson more connected to them and also more meaningful as they could "see" what they learnd has a place in their world.
A picture story-based approach can take creative, authentic unadapted texts from all over the world, with their embedded linguistic and aesthetic cultural identity, to the heart of the language classroom. A picture story book approach lends itself to a communicative language method where children are encouraged to use the language from the story either in role play form or games. We also could also give children tangible tasks where they learn to collaborate with their peers. In this learner to learner relationship children feel more comfortable and can build on their self-confidence and self-esteem in the learning environment.
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The Value of The Story
A picture may paints a thousand words but a story will complete the words into something meaningful.
The pictures are important but if the story is terrible, the children will tend to loath it. If the story is good then couple it with beatiful pictures, the attraction will get to the children. Thus they will become more interested in digesting the story and unintentionally the words they learned.
When the text is authentic and not grammatically sequenced, it exposes the learner to several tenses at the same time, which reflects a real life situation where the learner will have to find meaning through image and context, building on learning strategies.
The Value of The Pictures
The use of pictures definitely increases the attention of the children because the children's attention span is quite short. The pictures are there not maily for colours but also as a stimulant for them and grab their attention. The pictures could also act as their imagination switch by starting their reading readiness.
Reading stories(words)alone can restrict our students but even an elementary learner can access the most complex story through pictures so lower levels don't 'miss out' on the 'exciting' stories that the higher levels are looking at.
Of course, as we take our enjoyment from pictures in everyday life so our students take enjoyment from the pictures in the story. They will add a touch of intrigue to the class and make the lesson much more dynamic as imaginations are aroused. This is especially useful with those students who find it difficult to use their imaginations. The picture story provides a support and ideas which the students can then build on more easily than inventing their own story all together.
I find that picture stories also add pace to the classes. The students' reaction to a picture is almost immediate whereas the same reaction from a written story would take much, much longer. The students are interested and enthusiastic right from the beginning of the class.
In the teaching of grammar using picture story books, I agree that the teacher must teach or act as a mediator because it is feasible and relevant to the teaching of grammar.When most people think of grammar, they imagine those dull lessons in school about diagramming sentences . Teaching English grammar to students is a very different process than teaching mother-tongue grammar. Learning grammar is part of learning how to communicate in English, so focusing on communication instead of rules will make learning grammar more interesting for teachers and students.
When teacher acts as a mediator, using picture story books as a stimulus, we will have the scenario below:
â€¢ Working with illustrations provides a creative and artistic learning environment which children respond to.
â€¢ A story book provides a child-centred universe where abstract concepts are symbolised within the text and images.
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â€¢ Supporting visual literacy is important in order to help children take meaning from text as well as develop aesthetic understanding.
If the lesson is teacher's centered, we would not have the above happening. In the teaching of grammar,as a mediator, we could provide the help so that the lesson will go along the way the children perceived the way the lesson should be. It is not that we should let go without any guidance but we merely guide them to the correct path without them losing their way. For instance, story books are mainly in the past tense so what we could show them is that the words in the past tense could be change into present tense when the situation arises. We could also use the words to make them see that it could be used in another situation.
What we must considered as mediator to make the lesson interesting and smooth are:
1. The story is appropriate for the children level. This means not only to the story itself but also of the pictures. Primary pupils must not be burdened with books that the vocabulary is beyond them.
2, Illicit comment while reading the books. We must ask for their reaction after a few sentences or after a paragraph because if we wait too long to ask for their comment their attention might wander off.But if we constantly ask for their reaction then, we will no longer be the mediator so it is a fine line actually.
3. Do not assume that the children are smart or the opposite. Be prepared to give examples
of the adverbs and the children might make mistakes when prompt for answers so give them a gentle nutch to the correct ones.
4. The teacher also must not talk too much during the lesson. Its the children's hour, let
them enjoy the time.
5. One thing to remember, have fun with the children.
I like to use a few short lessons within a one hour period to teach the rules of grammar. The short lessons are designed to introduce, model, practice, and apply skills. For example, if I want to teach my students about adverbs, I might begin my short lesson by having the class read a picture story book which has a lot adverbs in it.
After a discussion about what an adverb means and where to locate adverbs within sentences, I would model how to effectively use adverbs in a piece of writing, using the story book as an example. Next, I would provide guided practice in using the skill by giving my students a variety of action words and having them practice writing appropriate adverbs to describe these verbs. Students could then apply this skill by searching in their notebooks for correctly written adverbs. They could also search their individual writing pieces for verbs and add adverbs to help describe the actions in more detail.
This way learning grammar does not have to be a dull lesson of filling in boring worksheets. Instead, open a stimulating picture book, and introduce students to an authentic example of the skillful use of grammar.
In order to make the children participate more in the lesson, the story must be on their level, no need to make it hard for them to understand as this will make them give up and get bored. I will review the story with them after a short silent reading session.
The students are then divided into smaller groups of fives or fours. We will go through the story again but this time special emphasised will be given to the adverbs. Each group then will list the verb that were placed before the adverb. We will have a short competition where a group will challenge another group by giving a verb and the other groups must respond will an adverb. This will ensure the children are kept on their toes and the competition will make them want to participate.
Then we will have another competition among groups where as they have to write sentences (not from the book) using the adverbs found earlier. The competition will make the children want to participate and they will learn the adverbs without the pain of feeling bored. But the most important part to remember that the teacher is there mainly as a mediator and as mentioned earlier, the teacher must show that he himself is interested in the lesson because if he does not, then everything else would not work.
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