“WHO WANTS TO LISTEN TO A STORY?”
The school PTA or commonly known to all as the PIBG of SKKT has initiated storytelling activities to the standard 1, 2 and 3 pupils in school. The idea came along during a small chat session amongst concerned parents on how we can help the SKKT kids to improve English language proficiency in a fun and interactive way. It was when we started talking about having storytelling session by people other than the school teachers themselves. We worked on the idea of recruiting volunteers to come and conduct storytelling session around 12.00 noon until the afternoon school session starts.
The first storytelling session started on 15th March 2017 with the objective not only to tell stories to our students but to enable them to learn new words and encourage pupils to participate in conversation/discussions.
We provide opportunities to the pupils to share their experience or short story with others. As the session is before school session starts, it is a productive way to utilize waiting time with useful and knowledgeable activity in the school hall.
Our initial plan of having one session per week has now turned to a daily session except Fridays. We have until to date conducted 19 sessions by 11 wonderful volunteers. We managed to get the local community volunteers who some have family members or relatives studying in SKKT. Most of the volunteers are professionals including retired teachers, nurses, managers, even doctors to come in for a fun session with the kids. We couldn’t thank them enough for their time spent with the kids.
To acquire a language, pupils need many opportunities to practice and apply what they have learned. In SKKT, English language classroom often poses challenges in this area due to teaching methods, formulated curricula, and limited opportunities to use language outside of the classroom; not to mention also the interest of the kids learning English language and negative emotional factors that may interfere with language learning.
How do you make English learning exciting then? A great way to give the kids meaningful opportunities is to apply their learning and engaging with them so that they are more willing to participate. The volunteers or storytellers don’t rely on just “speaking” the story or sit still in a chair but to grasp their attention, they walk around, have sing-along session, invite the children from the audience to act out the story as the volunteers tell it, engage with them by getting them to contribute, to give answer to questions, make suggestions or ask questions. The kids sit enthralled, mouths open, eyes wide when listening to Aunty Jaz, Grandma Sham or Nenek Alimah telling those exciting stories each afternoon.
We hope the sessions we conducted so far have inspired purposeful talking and not just about the story and improve listening skills. We hope such session will give a motivating reason for the children to learn to speak and write English.