There is one specific activity that I suggest we throw in from time to time as a break from the Invisibles. It is another way to teach using comprehensible input that is tried, tested and proven to work, and a very welcome addition to our CI arsenal.
Story Listening is a highly effective technique in which the teacher tells an engaging story to students at a comprehensible level using rich language. Interesting and engaging language that is completely comprehensible takes precedence when determining how to tell the story and what words to use.
Story listening is rather simple. Just simplify a story so that you know your students would be able to understand it. Then you (1) tell the simplified story to the students and (2) as you’re telling it you draw on the board what is happening, using some key words and figures.If at any time while doing this, you want to clarify anything, you can add writing so that your students can see the words they need. Your clarifying writing is written in L2, sometimes in L1 underneath, but then you wipe away L1 to avoid causing interference.
The students’ job is to follow the story as a whole. It is NOT to teach anything to some fictitious, meaningless and specious level of mastery. The goal is merely to tell the story so that the students can understand and follow the major events and some details.
The brilliance of this simple way to communicate with your students is readily apparent. Instead of focusing on details about the language, the students’ minds are simply flooded with comprehensible input. It’s exactly what they need.
You can follow up a story told in this way by reading it or with any other activities, but you don’t have to, and Story Listening (SL) should not be considered as part of the Star Sequence since it was designed specifically for the Invisibles, but the Star Sequence can be used with Story Listening, as a guide.
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