Dr. Baros is a dedicated researcher, educator, and LGBTQ advocate. Her areas of expertise are proficiency-based language teaching and creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and people.
First, I identify "helpful" words (words that will increase story comprehension, but there is no goal to master/learn these specific words - the goal is to comprehend the overall story) and do TPR with them before the story. I don't mind having a large list - some of these words are review and most of the words will be easily understood in context with the story, actions, drawing, and writing on the board to help. This just breaks down some of that process so that students can focus more on the story while it's being told. I plan on doing TPR with these words a day before I actually tell the story (and they're high frequency, so I'll be using them anyway) and then reviewing right before the story to help prevent students getting mentally exhausted. I really want them to focus on enjoying the story when I tell it.
Prior to telling the story, I briefly discuss the title, setting, main characters, and basic conflict to students in English. This was an explicit recommendation from my ELA colleague. Not only does it build anticipation for what the story is about, but it scaffolds the story for students who might have more difficulty with listening comprehension (in general, not just in their second language). When students have a general idea of what they're listening for and what the story is generally about, I believe they're able to feel more confident (and therefore motivated) about understanding the story as well as hone in on important details without getting caught up on what they might be a little confused about. Remember, we're mainly talking about those kids that really, really struggle with reading and listening comprehension here no matter what language it's in.
Some students will benefit from graphic organizers for various reasons. This was another explicit recommendation from my ELA colleague. Some students who struggle with listening comprehension will benefit from having a concrete item to keep track of what they're comprehending and how it fits together. Other students simply feel better having it. As long as it doesn't interfere with comprehending the story, why should I deny them this resource? Of course, that means I need to be REALLY clear about what the graphic organizer is for and what I expect them to do because putting a paper in students' hands may lead them to treat the story like traditional school and focus on mastery rather than simply comprehending and enjoying the story. Here is my STORY graphic organizer that I use, inspired by this one developed for fiction story texts in ELA. I plan on telling students that comprehending and enjoying is the goal, so eventually I would like to help everyone get to the point that they don't need the graphic organizer. However, it's there just in case you feel like you need it. If you're understanding the story just fine, though, leave it alone. I will probably show students the reaction questions (below) so they know how they're being "evaluated" - or rather, how they're evaluating me and the story. I should note, too, that I plan on handing this out to everyone before the story in order to avoid calling attention to students who need it to help them follow the story. (An added benefit of using this particular graphic organizer is that it was inspired by ELA fiction text structure organizers, so you can check off the "Connections" standard box for the day!).
Next, I tell the story! For my novice and beginner stories, I divide my board up into squares that match the reading (below) and draw each scene in the square that corresponds with the reading. Like Dr. Mason, I write the Spanish and English on the board, but erase the English immediately and just leave the Spanish. Also like Dr. Mason, I elaborate and add details as needed to reinforce an illustrate the ideas - you will see this best by comparing the video of me telling the story to the reading afterward. The basic idea is that you communicate the same idea a number of ways, giving students more opportunities to understand what is happening while also providing rich and varied input. I draw my pictures (mine aren't very good, but they get the job done) and do a lot of acting with my body to illustrate what I am telling students. One of my own adaptations is the idea of "recycling", from TPRS, where I retell the entire story up to the current moment at certain points (where those points are depend on the story and the class). I may also ask for a thumbs up or down midway through to make sure I'm being comprehensible - sometimes I think I am but I'm not, so this gives me a chance to reset and salvage the story if needed. As I get more confident in my SL skills, I may eliminate this check.
Immediately after the story, I have students write a reaction. Their reaction is very open and could be any of the following - this year, I'm going to as for a one-paragraph response (5 sentences) and let my students choose which question(s) they want to respond to based on their experience: What was your favorite part of the story? What is something you would change about the story? What would you add to the story? What is something that helped you understand the story? What is something that made it hard to understand the story? (I may add/change this list over time). This is a quick exit ticket and achieves a few things: First, it gives me a quick glimpse into how I did. Thoughtful responses to the first three questions show me that students comprehended the story enough to evaluate it. That's pretty high up there on Bloom's taxonomy and shows evidence of higher level thinking. If students are answering these questions well, then we're doing great! The last two questions explicitly give students the opportunity to tell me what I'm doing well or need to improve on. If these are the questions that resonate with students, particularly if there's something that made it hard to understand the story, I know that I need to make some adjustments and even have some recommendations on what those adjustments should be. Finally, I am going to ask students to rate the story itself on a scale of 1-5. Was it one they enjoyed? Should I tell more stories like this? Should I use it for future students? Assuming students understood the story, this will help me know which types of stories resonate with particular classes and assist me in choosing future stories.
Then, I'm going to let the story rest for a day. A friend of mine is using the Waldorf method for homeschooling her children, which also uses story methods, and told me about how the method emphasizes incubation. Tell a story, and then let it sit and process for a day or two. From my own education and experience, this makes a lot of sense and has a lot of other benefits - by just telling the story, students can focus on enjoying it and not having to worry about what they're going to do with it later. It also gives me a chance to repeat the story and show students what they did learn. Finally, it ultimately gives me more time to work with a story since we're doing it in shorter chunks spread out over time. My plan this year is to let the story rest and move on to something else after completing the above steps. Then, a day or two later, I will put up our visual of the story (don't forget to take a picture of your board! This is a student job in my class) and retell it in a simple, straightforward way while pointing to the images students are already familiar with (I'm a big believer in using the same pictures for this particular retell, even if better ones are available. It will help students recall the details better since they're associated with those particular images). After retelling the story, I'll have students do a verbal retell in English (particularly helpful if a student was gone during the original story). Then, we can move to reading the story. I use a this format for reading so that students can connect what they're reading with the images we drew on the board. It also allows me to use the boxes for a variety of activities - what do I want students to put in the boxes - drawings, text, or...? Also, we can cut these apart and use them for ordering and matching activities.
At this point, I can do whatever activities I would typically do with a One Word Image, Super Mini Story, or a TPRS story. Are we going to act it out? Read it? How? There are so many options here, and what we do will depend on the individual class and story. But, now we've got a new resource!
Must teachers be 100% comprehensible? Is there room for noise? And, if so, what amount or type of noise is acceptable?
First, here are a few comments from this article, The Case for Non-Targeted Input (Krashen, 2013)
"For an item of grammar to be acquired, the language acquirer must be ready to acquire the item. It must, in other words, be at the acquirers' i+1, where i = aspects of grammar that were most recently acquired."
"An important corollary of the Comprehension Hypothesis is the "Net" Hypothesis: Given enough comprehensible input, i+1, all the vocabulary and structures the student is ready for, is automatically provided. In Krashen and Terrell (1983) this was referred to as the Net: "When someone talks to you in a language you have not yet completely acquired so that you understand what is said, the speaker "casts a net" of structure around your current level of competence, your "i". This net will include many instances of i+1, aspects of language you are ready to acquire" (p. 33)."
"Ray and Seely (2008) emphasize the importance of translation because they feel that students must understand every word of what is said in class and what they read. As noted earlier, this may indeed be very helpful at the very beginning, but the transparency requirement should give way to the requirement that students feel that they are understanding everything. If only the feeling of full comprehension is required, if input is allowed to contain some i+n, we are no longer restricted to translation as a means of making input comprehensible. We are free to use pictures and realia, as emphasized in Natural Approach (see also comments by Carol Gaab in Ray and Seely, p. 235), as well as other means of making input comprehensible that do not obviously provide a one-to-one mapping from form to meaning (e.g. background readings that provide a general context for a story). If, in fact, the input is truly compelling, it is likely that students will not even notice the "noise" or bits of incomprehensible and nontransparent elements in the input."
I believe there is a difference between "total translatability" and "total comprehensibility" (I dislike the word "transparency" because I think it is confusing and could apply to either case).
Total translatability - students have a one-to-one connection for each and every word. This limits what you can communicate to students as well as the intention of communicating it: the emphasis is on learning forms, not on understanding messages.
Total comprehensibility - I'm beginning to think that acceptable "noise" does not come in the form of incomprehensibility, but rather that the meaning of words that would be incomprehensible on their own are made clear through other methods. For instance, when Diane Neubauer told us the story about the Zodiac, there was a part where the rat jumped over the ox's head. Had she focused on us understanding the words in that part of the story, it would have been overwhelming as well as disrupted the flow of the story - we were right at the climax and focused on what was happening, so it would have been much less compelling (not to mention out of bounds) to sit and focus on the somewhat more-complex language involved in communicating that idea. However, we completely comprehended that very critical part and kept the "flow" of the language going thanks to her gestures. We learned plenty in the process - and she could still use that story for valuable input (as opposed to being "barred" from an otherwise comprehensible story because a key part would have been "out of bounds"). This still counts as noise, however, because I didn't make any connections with the actual target language and couldn't have told you what the words were, even just after hearing her say them. And, frankly, I didn't care - I understood the message and wanted to hear the rest of the story! They key is that the message was, in fact, 100% comprehensible even if it did include noise, which was important because it lowered my affective filter and kept me in "flow". In other words, I didn't get stressed about trying to achieve a deeper level of comprehension than I was ready for nor was I stressed that there were details I was missing, because I felt confident that I had comprehended the entire message.
With regard to i+1 - there have been a few that say if everything is "100% comprehensible", then it is not providing the "+1". However, this position confuses what is acquired with what can be understood. It is important to understand that "i" is NOT what can be understood - it is what is already acquired, meaning that it can be used by the student. The "+1" is the language that is not yet acquired but can be understood (and therefore has the potential to be acquired). This area of "+1" is very broad and flexible as it contains all of the language that can be made comprehensible. For instance, novice students who have never been exposed to the target language before, have zero "i"; thus, the entire first lesson (or series of lessons) are all within the "+1" range. As students acquire "i" from the "+1" input, their ability to comprehend additional "+1" expands, although much of the language that was "+1" will remain "+1". This is why I agree with Krashen (2013) that non-targeted language is ideal for differentiation - students convert the "+1" into "i" at different rates according to the natural order, but as long as students are provided with a "Net" of language that includes "+1" for all students, all students will be able to continue acquiring the language they are ready for at their own pace .
With regard to noise, I don't think that "noise" can be acquired - the grammar and vocabulary from the language used MUST be made comprehensible before acquisition of that particular form can occur. In my above example with the Zodiac story, I had no chance of acquiring the structure for "jump over" because I never really even wrapped my head around the target language words in the first place. However, that was not a bad thing - in fact, it enabled Diane to tell a compelling story while staying "in bounds" and keeping the affective filter low. I believe that teachers need to skillfully judge and plan how they will tell a story knowing that the majority should be comprehensible at an level which students can acquire it, but be able to bridge these sections with tiny bits of comprehensible noise (if that makes sense) in order to make up for bits of language that might be beyond the "+1" level yet are still necessary to be compelling.
So, to answer my initial questions:
YES, teachers MUST be 100% comprehensible - meaning that students feel that they are comprehending everything. Some misunderstandings will occur - that's fine. That is part of language development and their understandings will become refined as they receive more input (also noted in Krashen, 2013). This keeps the affective filter low as students become comfortable and confident about comprehending messages, forgetting to focus on individual words and whether they can translate them.
YES, there is room for noise, but it must be comprehensible noise that is strategically used only when necessary. In other words, the messages must remain comprehensible even if the language is not. Moreover, teachers need to use their best judgement in order to maximize the amount of "+1" at a level that is possible for students to acquire. Yet, they should not feel constrained to only providing input that is at the "+1" level - comprehensible noise can be used as a tool to help students access input opportunities that might be otherwise compelling and comprehensible for students.
Someone recently asked about how much time I plan my lessons, especially now that I'm working to differentiate for my classes. While it may look like a lot of work, my lesson planning is even easier and more enjoyable than ever before. Here's what I do:
Step 1: Select contexts and strategies for providing compelling CI
What will my stuents find compelling? I use a variety of contexts for authentic and compelling input for my students. I emphasize auditory input, with the "critical input" activities followed by reading what students heard. Here are a few examples of contexts, although this is by no means exhaustive:
Step 2: Select the language that will be used and how you will make it comprehensible
What will you talk about and how? What do you need to do to "stay in bounds," or in other words ensure that students can comprehend what you are saying and not get overwhelemed or oversaturated? This involves identifying:
When I get to class, I pick word cards that correspond with the story to guide me and to show to my students as I provide input (these are like my verb word wall, but in GIANT magnetic form with Spanish on one side and Spanish/English on the other). For more organic activities, I just have an idea of what language I might use to facilitate the conversation and then adjust the conversation and make it comprehensible as appropriate during class. This does require skill to think on-the-spot about what will be "in" and "out" of bounds, and what you will do with that language. For this reason, I feel that Story Listening, Comprehensible Comics, and other pre-planned activities are easier for new CI teachers.
Step 3: Determine how you will check for comprehension
This can be done a variety of ways, although the teacher must be careful not to raise the affective filter and make students anxious or feel put-on-the-spot. I use a variety of methods, and they differ based on the activity.
Step 4: Determine whether a grade will be attached to an activity, why, and how
This is where each teacher will have to determine what fits with their philosophy, goals, and program. I've changed my grading system three times this year alone, but I do feel that the most recent system might stick because it's easy and authentic. I grade anything that is formative as a completion grade - these make up 50% of their overall grade. Students are letting me know how well I am doing my job - it's my 50%, so as long as they let me know how I did, they get the grade. The other 50% is based on their behaviors aligned with my expectations for them, since those behaviors will lead to acquisition. Because I have pretty clear routines in my class and pre-made forms, this requires no extra preparation beyond printing copies of resources.
That's it! As long as I'm not trying anything new (or blogging about it!), it usually only takes me about 15-30 minutes to plan for all of my classes each day. I take about 15 minutes to plan my weekly outline ahead of time. Then, all that is left to do during the week is picking language to use and writing up the reading and any related materials. Assuming I already have a story, comic, or other context in ind, this takes about another 15-30 minutes to create the resources and differentiate them by class level and student need.
To be completely honest, what takes much more time is finding stories and other contexts to talk about, especially for Story Listening. Selecting the right context and/or story means becoming familiar with many stories and how they might be both compelling and comprehensible for your students. However, this is becoming easier and easier as I build a bank of resources (such as this, this, or this, with more listed here) and listen to stories other teachers are telling. One of my best stories was one I learned as a student of Chinese Story Listening!
I have some students in my regular class (about 40 hours of instruction so far) who are VERY low - as in, out of thirty students, all but three will highlight that at least 95% of the story (indicating they understand it when we read it), and three will highlight about 10% of the story. When I've spoken to their other teachers, they struggle with focusing their attention and retaining information in their regular classes as well. Many of them have low English reading skills and/or low motivation. In any case, I just haven't reached them yet the way I would like to and I'm afraid they're getting left behind by the rest of the class.
This month, my "professional goal" is to meet these kids where they need me. Here are a few of the ideas I've come up with, but I'm also curious to hear your thoughts.
One strategy I'm experimenting is by using the videos of my instruction. Not only am I recording their stories from class and putting them on my YouTube channel (my kids think having a YouTube channel is so cool haha), but I'm also including the reading and a carefully chosen set of Quizlet flash cards that parents/students can practice.
In addition, I just started teaching novice students (0 hours of previous instruction) and am telling them a novice version of the stories ahead of telling my regular class their more intermediate version. I'm encouraging students who might want/need some extra practice and support to pre-listen to these easier versions of the story to understand the basic problem, characters, storyline, and vocabulary that they'll hear in their in-class version of the story (on the condition that they'll still pay attention when I tell it and won't spoil the story for others). These include the reading and flash cards as well. My hope is that by scaffolding the story this way, they'll increase their comprehension level, get more meaningful input, and I will still be able to tell the more difficult versions of the stories that the rest of the class is ready for.
Here are some other ideas that one of our excellent ELA/SPED teachers suggested after I described Story Listening to her (I'm still processing whether and how I would use them; these could be whole-group or small group) - she pointed out that typical students need 40 or more exposures to something to understand it and use it in a new way; students with learning challenges or exceptional needs can need twice that exposure to comprehend. Thus, these activities are aimed toward increasing that exposure in order to comprehend words in new contexts (PLEASE NOTE - I know that these do not lead to acquisition. Acquisition isn't my goal; rather, I would be using these strategies to increase comprehension of the input so that the stories are more comprehensible and effective for acquisition - perhaps think of these as "practical preliminary steps" in order to provide quality CI for all of my students given the particular challenges and demands of teaching in K-12 public schools) :
Interventions for students who are not comprehending the stories in the first place:
Interventions for students who are understanding the story, but are not transferring what they hear to what they read, whether in context or when applying to new contexts (in addition to providing more auditory input):
I think I will explore using the graphic organizer and pre-teaching in the coming weeks, although I will have to re-arrange my class activities to do small groups. As a secondary teacher, this seems a bit daunting - but I have to give it the good ol' college try! If I can pull it off and my students are able to comprehend (and therefore acquire) more, then it's absolutely worth it.
Note to the reader:
For the last three weeks, I've been trying out Story Listening for the first time in my classes. I was struggling with the Story Asking as we would get stuck, I had trouble choosing details that kept everyone engaged, and many of my students were getting lost in the chaos or frustrated with the "flow" of the story. My "low" kids weren't understanding what was happening. My "high" kids wanted to keep moving. And my "easily distracted" kids were off in their world. I wouldn't say it was a hot mess, but it was close. The kids were learning, but I didn't feel like we were going anywhere fast and I was frustrated and exhausted. I'll readily admit that there are people more talented at "Asking a Story" than I am - but it just hasn't really ever "clicked" for me. So, after a particularly rough first period, I decided I would let myself off the hook and simply tell a story to the next class. I knew I had to pick something interesting, and the first thing that came to my mind was "La Llorona". I found a quick summary of the story online to refresh my memory, printed it out, and "told" it. Despite the minimal preparation, it was a hit! I didn't do any drawing - I just put the words they needed help with on the board with the English translation. After that, I pre-drew my pictures and vocabulary and told the story of "La Llorona" to my remaining classes with the pictures under the projector. After each class, I asked the students to show me how they felt about the activity by holding up fingers. A "3" meant they learned about the same, a "1" meant they learned a lot less, and a "5" meant they learned a lot more. Even with my minimal understanding of Story Listening and almost no practice, every student in every class rated the activity as a "4" or a "5"! I was sold! I've made a number of adjustments since that first week and would like to share my "beginners guide" to getting started with Story Listening.
First, it's very important to understand exactly what Story Listening is and is not. It is not simply storytelling. Storytelling puts the emphasis on what the teacher is doing and will likely not meet the acquisition needs of students, whereas Story Listening is focused on the person who is listening to the story and responsive to what they need. In order for story listening to be effective, the following conditions must be met:
It is also helpful to understand the potential similarities and differences between Story Listening and other methods of CI Instruction. NOTE: I use the word "potential" because CI instruction can take many forms. Almost all language teachers agree that we must actually use the language for students to learn it. In some cases, this takes the form of stating sentences that the students understand. Most traditional classes use the language in order to give instructions, although this use is incidental to the "real" instruction (i.e. vocabulary, grammar, worksheets, comprehension questions, etc. taking place.) For this particular list of similarities and differences, I'm going to narrow the list to items that differ between Story Listening and other methods that are grounded in the idea that the instruction itself should be through CI and focused on meaning and proficiency rather than skills and vocabulary. Even here, however, we find a lot of variance in how teachers instruct and the strategies they use, and and almost strategy has the potential to be used similarly or differently than the strategies employed in Story Listening.
Potential Differences: (many of these items overlap, so I apologize for any repetition)
Finally, I'd like to touch on a few differences in my personal preference for various strategies:
So, if you'd like to get started with Story Listening, here are a few tips from my personal experience:
Good luck with your Story Listening! I would love to hear from more teachers trying this in their classrooms and will continue to post videos regularly of my own.
All credit for the following goes to Dr. Beniko Mason and was obtained via personal correspondence with Tina Hargaden (email). Thank you, Dr. Mason, for sharing Story Listening along with your thoughts about it with us.
I have taught kindergarten children to senior adults with this story-listening way for over 25 years. It has worked with almost everyone.
I looked for stories at many different places, but I have found Grimm Brothers’ Household Tales the easiest to tell (copyright free, too). Storybooks did not have enough stories in one book and I did not want to spend the money to buy many books, and I did not want my students to buy textbooks. I looked for stories on line.
The Grimm Brothers’ tales deal with many different themes with variety of words. Besides, about 85 to 90% of the words used in the stories are within the high frequency words (2000 word families), but others are 3000, 4000, 5000, 10,000 word levels and some words are off-list words including academic words.
I adjust the words and structures according to the age and level of the students. I have told “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “The three Little Pigs” (these are not Grimm’s) to “The Tempest” and several other stories by Shakespeare. In between, I tell Grimm Brothers’ tales and other folk tales from the world including from Japan.
When I tell a story: I am usually standing in front of the students and draw pictures on the board. With my advanced students I just tell and do not draw pictures.
My high school students who stayed with me for six years since their elementary school years eventually just listened for over one hour without pictures. With these students after telling a story, I read the text out loud to them and they followed the text silently and reviewed the story by listening to me read the text. When they had questions they asked me afterwards. Some of these students began to get a perfect score in the English exam on the nation wide standardized tests towards the end of their high school years. I experienced several successful cases with junior and senior high school kids about ten years ago.
One girl (my niece) was failing in English in her junior high school, but she began to listen to stories and read during the summer of her 9th grade, and in the fall she was doing great at tests at her school and then she passed an entrance exam to one of the best high schools in Osaka in the spring of the following year, and in the first semester at her high school she ranked at 14th out of 340 students in the English section of the standardized exam.
Another case is that there was a high school male student who ranked at D in the English section of the standardized mock college entrance exam in May. He began to read and listen to stories in June. In October, after only four months, when he took the test again he ranked at A in the English section. He passed an entrance exam to one of the best private universities in Kyoto in the following spring.
Another female high school student recorded my storytelling lesson on her cell phone and listened to it every night before she went to bed. She scored a perfect score many times in the English section of the standardized tests when she was 12th grade. She passed an entrance exam to a National University.
In class I never talked about grammar. We never practiced writing. We paid attention to vocabulary a little, but it was not forced. The students came to my class to listen to a new story every Tuesday night for 90 minutes. I had 6 or 7 girls in one room and they all listened to a story every week. They listened 40 times a week and they did this for three years at least. That is why I say if they listen to at least 100 stories they can become pretty good. I have adult students (45 or older to all the way to 69 years old right now). Some of these people have been with me for four years. They listen 12 to 15 times per semester, so they must have heard at least 100 stories. I do not have to draw any pictures on the board any more.
With other regular unmotivated weak students who are absent from class 40% of the semester.
Even with these kids, they prefer my class to other teachers’ classes where other teachers do intensive reading explaining grammar rules. I am always given every year the classes of the students who score the lowest at the placement test. I get the lowest 30 students. What happens is that about half of them score high on the next placement test and so they are moved up and I get those at the bottom. Some of them had been placed in the higher class a year before. Even these kids, who don’t come to school to attend my class, get better if they don’t go to sleep in class.
Special Effects: I do not bring in any costumes and puppets and candles and stuff like that. I do not think it is necessary. Once in a while it may be fun, but it is not necessary. If I did, that is a special treat.
Board: Even with kindergarten children, I write the words even when they cannot read them yet. Story-listening is the bridge to reading.
Using other senses: Speaking out loud, repeating, drawing pictures, acting out (role playing), singing and dancing… I am not sure about these activities. I feel that the class time may not be wisely spent if the goal was language acquisition.
1) Theory predicts that listening (input) alone is sufficient.
2) Research shows that input alone is more efficient.
3) My class is offered only once a week for 90 minutes per semester.
4) Japanese college students are passive learners.
Japanese students are mostly passive learners. The culture trains them to be that way. They are not supposed to be showy and stand out. Of course there are some exceptions, but mostly they are quiet. Quiet does not mean that they are listening or obedient, though… In my situation, class is the only place for Japanese students to get English input. I wish to supply them with rich input as much as possible. They will have time to output later or somewhere else to do it if they want to.
Theory, Research and Actual Class: I do not know if you agree with me, but I feel that it is sad that children (students) are required to spend a lot of useless, wasteful time in school. Out of a 50-minute lesson, there may be only 15 minutes of real learning time and the other is a waste (I am only talking about the classes in Japan.) But as a teacher we must fill that time doing something good for the kids. So, drawing about the story may be good if that helps them retrieve the language that they just acquired and also drawing may relax them.
In my class with kindergarten kids, I used to use flash cards. I give them a list of the words on a sheet of paper. We review the words on the list and have the children write a meaning of the English words in Japanese. The kids can take that home and then the mothers would know what they did in class and they may want to review the words with the children.
Like I said before, my high school students used to tape record the lesson so that they could listen to the story again at home. This way they could review the words with images in their head from the story. It is not like skill-building list memorization. Remembering the words with the images that they thought of while they were listening to the story is not the same as direct memorization. Imagination leads to memory and memory leads to learning (Stevic).
Your Own Children: I think it is different with your own children. Your children do not have other people who are watching them how they are performing. Your children have 100% trust in you. Your children enjoy interacting with you in their home. I think it is different.
Story listening for Kindergarten children: I will have a chance to teach kindergarten kids on the 22nd of this month. I will see how it goes with a story. I will let you know.
What to tell: I have always used stories from storybooks. I have always drawn pictures. It is faster to draw than find puppets or create puppets. I do not want teachers to spend unnecessary money or time for preparing visual aids.
Taking them to the library: Yes, I agree with you.
Classroom with less stuff on the wall: Yes, I agree with you on this point too.
Teacher’s job: I believe that my job is to help them improve their English to the next level each semester. I think that when students become confident with themselves, when they develop higher self-esteem, many other problems disappear. I concentrate on my job of providing compelling comprehensible stories and leading them to interesting books. Also when they start reading good books the authors of the books talk to them directly and then they change to become a better person too. I am not the one who is changing them. They are doing it to themselves through experiencing the stories in story-listening and books.
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