May 15, 2007

Teaching Thoughts Tuesday-A Good Story

Everyone likes a good story and I often start my classes by telling one. Most of the time it has a direct connection with the lesson or some event that is happening at the time. The stories are things that have happened to me with a few embellishments thrown in here and there to make the story more interesting, if needed. But for the most part they are true stories.

When I tell my stories I speak the same way I would to another native English speaker, but I'm more animated and act things out. I make sure my students pay attention to my body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to teach them to use these clues to help them figure out the story even though they can't understand every word. I make sure I draw my students in and make them feel a part of the story. I usually add some false information or some twist and turns to see if they are really paying attention and understanding what I'm talking about.

After the story I point out important new vocabulary words or phrases and students ask questions or make comments. My students seem to really enjoy the stories. After class students often come up to me to ask more questions and I also hear them discussing or trying to retell the stories to each other. The stories help start the class off in a fun way, help students improve their listening and comprehension skills, gives them a chance to hear real English, and they also get to learn more about me.

So give it a try in your class and tell your students a story.

See you next Tuesday!

Please send me your comments, feedback, and your thoughts about teaching.

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