Storytelling as a tool for ESL teaching
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As a young child, you were no doubt told stories by your mother and other members of your family; now, as a trainee or novice ESL teacher – you will have to tell stories to your ESL students.
Storytelling is probably as old as the hills: it has been used worldwide as a means of passing down cultural memories, beliefs, customs, superstitions, and histories. Its use in the ESL classroom is particularly appealing to young students: those students who are below the B2 level of the CEFR. Indeed, storytelling is beneficial for all aspects of ESL learning: particularly speaking and listening. Before you can tell a story, you will have to find an appropriate book.
All the major publishing houses have a wide range of ESL graded readers, for example, Oxford University Press has a good selection in its ‘Bookworms’ series of graded readers. Visit https://elt.oup.com/cat/subjects/graded_reading/?cc=gb&selLanguage=en. When selecting a book, make sure that it will be appealing to both male and female students: in this way you can guarantee that all the students will be interested in listening to the story. It may be more interesting for the students if you select a book that is set in a different culture to that of the students’ own culture, and don’t select a book just because you like it – the students may not share your interests.
Having selected the book, you should now read it BEFORE you read the book to the students. Familiarize yourself with all the characters, plots, sub-plots, figurative language, and vocabulary. When you come to read it in class, seat your students in a semi-circle, and read to them for about fifteen to twenty minutes: make sure that you actively involve the students. Before you start reading, get the students to explain what has happened so far in the story. While reading, ask them what they think is going to happen next. After reading, discuss any difficulties they had in understanding the story.
As a storyteller you should try to empathize with the characters in your story, and try to give each character their own voice; don’t read it as if you are reading exercises from a grammar book: a wide variety of emotions can be expressed by simply altering the sound of your voice and the use of body language. Additionally, you should always finish your storytelling sessions at a climax, for example: ‘He picked up the gun and aimed it at… Don’t forget, if you hope to captivate your students, you will need to dramatize the story. As a word of warning, the novice ESL teacher should be careful not to spoil the ‘magic’ of storytelling by transforming it into a grammar or writing activity.
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LAST UPDATED: 27th August 2021
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- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.