An Action Research Report on “Teaching stories without telling them”
Ask “Am I using my mental ability to make history or
Am I using it merely to record history made by others?”
This paper reports the results of an action research (RA) on the effectiveness of teaching stories in a new way “Teaching Stories without Telling Them”. The purpose of this research was to justify that how interactive ways of teaching stories enables students to perform better in the classroom, how the interactive teaching expands the knowledge of both teachers and learners, and how the teacher, at the same time, is teaching and drawing on and learning from the knowledge and experience of the students. That creates an ideal teaching cycle, a self-reinforcing teaching and never ending learning process.
The teacher can choose particular designs and techniques for teaching a foreign language in a particular context. No quick fix is guaranteed to provide success for all classroom situations. Every learner is unique; every teacher is unique; so is every learner-teacher relationship. The teacher’s key task is, therefore, to understand the properties of these relationships and set the classroom environment accordingly.
In other countries such as Nepal, students are taught to view their teachers as an authority and a knows-everything person in the classroom, and this value-based relationship hinders the learners from freely expressing themselves in the classroom. In this firmly established teacher-centered system, it is often offensive for the students to contradict the teacher’s point of view. This unequal classroom relationship is often seen as a cultural disposition. I believe that this is not a new issue. Many published writings have critically looked at it. However, a teacher can always adopt various strategies to increase students’ participation in the classroom activities. In order to justify this possibility, I used a technique that I have termed as “teaching stories without telling them”. If the stories are carefully chosen, students feel what they do in the classroom is relevant and meaningful to their lives. Moreover, when asked to respond personally to the texts, students become increasingly confident about expressing their own ideas and emotions. The stories involve emotions as well as intellect, which adds to motivation and contribute to personal development. This is in particular very useful where the classroom is often only source of English.
I’m a new English Teacher at Kaunlaran High School but I have been teaching English for the last four year. The pre-requisite to join this programme is School Leaving Certificate (SLC). Practically, the students who join this course range from SLC graduates to University graduates. I also work at “English Speaking and Research Club” that runs classes for those who want to improve their speaking skills. Interestingly, the members coming to this Club include school students to professionals and businesspersons. Certainly, the classes in both settings are multilevel in nature. I would like to refer to Hess’s (2002) definition - multilevel class is the class in which students vary considerably in their language and literary skills. In my case, students not only differed in language level, but also in age, motivation, expectations, attitude and interest.
In both places, I began with a pre-test in order to diagnose the learners' level of English. The candidates were tested all their skills – first day reading and writing and the second day speaking and listening. Later they were divided into three groups named as triple five (those scoring less than 50%), triple seven (those scoring between 50-60 %) and triple six (those scoring 60% above) according to their test results; but they...
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