Every ESL LESSON should be A STORY and the teacher the STORYTELLER


(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1NezzSZ)

If you are a ESL teacher (compared to other teachers) the comparison to the lesson being like a story is very defined.

The components of a story are that:

  • It has a beginning – the set up or question
  • It has a middle – the complications
  • It has a main point (the climax)
  • It has an end that ties up all the other threads to give an overview

If you look at it like this, the comparison is simple, and sadly most teachers don’t see it this way. If you do – I love you for it and the students probably do too!

So how does a teacher become a great story teller? Well it mostly comes down to knowing what it is that you are trying to get across to the students. For example, if you are teaching in an ESL centre and you are teaching adults, your concept of the day may be the use of adverbs in a written text.

But saying this, this is not the only thing that is important. As with a great novel, the first page or even the first few lines are the key to getting the readers attention and will often define if they are going to be bothered to continue reading the book or not.

So how does a teacher do this?

It may come down to anything from the moment the teacher enters the room. The teacher may decide to enter (from the beginning) let’s say ‘slowly’, or ‘quickly’. From there the teacher may look at the class and then leave and re-enter ‘quietly’, look at the class then leave and re-enter ‘angrily’, then finally sit down and look at everyone.

The teacher has managed to get the attention of the class from ‘page 1’ and the class now is wondering what is going on? The story has just started, and the students want to know more. The teacher then gets them to think back on the process in which she entered the room, getting them to spell it on the board, check their spelling, maybe write a sentence on it, make a list of them.

Then comes the next part. The use of it in other ways. The teacher may continue to present other adverbs from others in the class talking ‘loudly’, whispering ‘softly’. Then comes the adverb game, the listening exercise, the reading text building up to the climax of the story of getting they themselves (the students) to write their own story in partners, using the adverbs, making the story feel more mysterious and unknown and exciting.

The final denouement of course is the presentation of the story to the class with actors and narrators telling the story as the person moves and acts out the adjectives. All being brought together by the teacher showing them how they themselves know now what an adverb does, how it works in a sentence and to never, never again be afraid of using it, being creative with it and most of all understanding how important it is to the verb – and the English sentence as a whole!

Yes, I know I am sounding incredibly dramatic here – but as I said – teaching is like being a storyteller, the teacher has to know (as the writer does), that every moment counts in that classroom, every twist and turn in the delivery of that lesson is like a sentence in a novel….

Look at it this way, you will have so much more fun and your classes will be a perfect dream!

What do you think?


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