Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Give Me Words

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November 28, 2017

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Give Me Words

As we know English plays a very significant role in education. It is found that children with more expansive vocabularies achieve better grades in school. These children are able to think more deeply, can express their emotions and thoughts better, and learn new things faster than the others. By teaching our children literacy skills early in life, we can avoid or reduce future learning difficulties.

English is taught as a subject and also used as the medium of instruction. Both oral and written English are used in education. One of the best things that we as educators of English can do to improve our students’ word bank is to read aloud. When we read ALOUD, children learn more words; this sharpens their pronunciation skills, and it also increases their comprehension skills. But during this we need to take special note of catering to the interest of the children as they are different as per their age. Books on specialized topics can open the door to the unexplored, unknown and fantastic boundaries of learning.

English communication should mean COMMUNICATION; in language class the children should not be expected to sit quietly rather there should be constructive scaffolding for the building of vocabulary gradually. The teacher is the powerful engineer of the language who lays the basic structure of the language in the early life of the child. As a language teacher when we talk to children a step above their language and repeatedly use a few words in our conversation, the words get infused in their word bank very easily without much effort or rote learning. The words should be repeated as the children don’t learn the words in one go. Repeating the words in multiple environments will allow our children to truly live the words and therefore adopt the words in their language and conversation easily. But be sure to select words that relate to our children’s existing vocabulary and knowledge base. Talking to our students is no doubt beneficial for their language skills. It could be about the things in the park, grocery store, their favourite cartoon show or anything which can initiate the conversation process.

Children love to imitate their teacher. We know that our children are observant and follow our example, actions even words. We should cite great quotes from books, new facts so that they can be enthusiastic and excited to share their new knowledge.
In the early learning age we should captivate our children with new words, various sounds and plenty of expressions, as non-verbal communication also plays a very important role in communication. We should associate words with their favourite television shows, cartoon characters, pictures, toys, classroom environment because it helps ingrain the word better in the children’s brain through context.

We should always remember to respond to our children’s attempt to talk because it is the first step in building self confidence in children. We should always validate and expand upon the children’s attempt at communication. Our children will become language competent – this means they would be able to use the linguistic knowledge in a second language to fulfil a range of purposes in communication. People across the world do not talk only about fluency in English rather they focus on the expansion of the framework of communication competence. The goal has shifted from producing learners who can mimic the ‘inner-circle’ countries language to effective language users who are competent in using English as an international language.

But for this expertise the children should learn the linguistic code grammar, other higher internalized rule systems which are also important in English language. Therefore, with increasing knowledge of grammatical rules, the learner develops a knowledge which equips the students essentially with the ability when to speak, when not, and … what to talk about, with whom, when, where, in what manner. There is a great need to adopt more communicative approaches in the teaching of English.

When we connect to our children emotionally they behave like a sponge and are ready to soak up much more knowledge than we think. We should not hurt their feelings when they are unable to pronounce a few words. Of course, our children would mispronounce a few words; use them in the wrong tense, or in incorrect context. We should revamp the learning process by gently correcting the students, teaching them how to modify their statements or words. We should try to make this process feel more like an encouraging modification instead of a punishment or embarrassment, which would give our children reassurance and freedom to accidentally make mistakes while knowing that we will not embarrass them.

There is an imminent need to reform the obsolete ways of teaching English in the class. Language is a beautiful kaleidoscope of exuberant words – the only need is to equip our children with tenacity and readiness for this lucid language of the entire world.

Shimmi Sharma has Master’s degrees in English, Psychology and Education, plus a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education, a Certificate in English Teaching as a Second Language, a Certificate in Functional English and a Certificate In Guidance. She has been teaching English at Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi for the last seven years.

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The Progressive Teacher