Students feel more involved in their lessons and try and read them graphically when they are able to produce ideas/words/sentences by themselves .
Picture descriptions, interactions, and narrations are a good way to generate new ideas amongst students.
The use of familiar songs to rework their lyrics, adding on to them, and letting each student generate a new idea based on an existing example can be a good start to make students write poems.
We did not learn our mother tongue; we acquired it. Similarly, learning a new language becomes a tiresome process, whereas acquiring the language can be a joyful experience for the learners.
Every student is unique in their own thinking capabilities. So, a variety of divergent ideas are generated in the classroom when a question is posed to the students. However, as teachers, we usually start with the knowledge that there will be only one correct answer. And, once that answer is out, we tend to not let the students think about it further. There always exists a gap between how children think and what the teacher thinks about the thought process of their students.
As for example, when we show a rose to the students and say “This is a rose”, we expect the students to think and say “This is a rose” as well. But, the students might think of rose (pink) colour, rose milk, rose water, rose powder, and many other things.
When we take up the ideas of the students, the students will have ownership of those ideas. Those ideas can then be fruitfully capitalized for facilitating language acquisition. Such interactions that take place in the classroom can further be streamlined to create poems, descriptions, or conversations.
In this essay, I am going to share my experience of adopting this method of pedagogy from the time I worked with six enthusiastic students of class 1. I also included 3 UKG students in the class to generate more ideas.
Changes in my classroom:
I found it difficult to teach two- or three-letter words to the students using a different form of pedagogy. However, with the new form of pedagogy that I adopted, the letters in a word did not matter anymore—it was only the ideas of the students that mattered. I understood that teaching letters/words/sentences do not make much changes in the learning process; it only inculcates rote learning and sometimes confuse the learners. So, I decided that whatever I would like to teach the students would be taught as discourses (connected speech). A discourse is a set of meaningful ideas in the form of descriptions, songs, narrations, dialogues, etc.
In discourse-oriented pedagogy, the teacher generates ideas from the students and writes down their responses on the blackboard. The students possess the ownership of the words/sentences that they produce, and they attempt to read them graphically.
Let us understand how ideas can be elicited from the students by following some simple steps as given below:
I drew a part of a car as shown above and asked my students to identify the figure (“What is this?”). While one answered “frog”, another said that it was “Mickey Mouse”’. A third one said that it was a “car”. I completed the diagram step-by-step and posed my question again. Following this, all the students answered that it was a “car”.
I wrote the statement “This is a car” under the picture, and I sang the sentences as “This is a car, a car, a car” in a melodious tune.
Similarly, the students made many such sentences, such as “This is a pencil, a pencil, a pencil”, “This is a sharpener, a sharpener, a sharpener”, etc.
Following this, I coloured the car in red and asked, “What is this?” The students answered, “Red car.” I, then, wrote “This is a red car” under the picture.
in this manner, I asked the students to draw the things around them which they liked. I helped them to write the names of those objects in English.
Let us see how my students created songs:
It is difficult for children to draw pictures of every object and generate sentences in a similar pattern. To keep it simple, teachers can choose to go with a picture that depicts only a few objects and ask questions to elicit ideas relating to each of those objects. I used the picture in the poem titled ‘A Happy Child’ to show them a sample picture that could be used.
I interacted with the students by asking a few questions, such as “What do you see in the picture?”. One said “tree”, while another said “house”; and, a third one said “girl”. I wrote down all these responses on the BB and repeated that “tree” was said by Krishna, “house” was said by Hasini, and “girl” was said by Reshma.
Following this, I asked the students to frame these responses as sentences. Initially, the students found this exercise to be difficult. But, I reminded them of the example of the previously-generated sentence—“This is a car”. It is then that the students started making sentences for their own ideas. After this, I asked one more question—“What is the colour of the car?”. The students said, “Red colour.” I said, “The car is red.” In this manner, the lines given below were generated by the students:
This is a tree. The tree is green.
This is a house. The house is red.
This is a girl. The girl is happy.
Generation of the Poem ‘If I were an apple’:
To motivate my students to create a poem, I generated a song similar to ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’. I began with a short narration about Ani and the apple tree (Ani is the name of the imaginary character that I use during my classes to cite examples. So, the students were quite familiar with it.)
“Ani was going to his home after playing with his friends. On his way, he saw an apple tree. He tried to get an apple from the tree, but he couldn’t. So, what will Ani ask the tree?”
1. What did Ani ask?
Apple tree, apple tree,
Have you any apples?
2. What will the tree reply?
Yes boy, yes boy,
I have apples.
The students enjoyed the song, and they started singing it as well.
The students then began to tell me the names of the fruit trees that they liked, such as mango, guava, jamun, and I wrote down those names on the blackboard. Then, they started singing the song of their favorite tree and wrote it on their notebook. They also drew pictures of the tree.
Similarly, more poems were generated using pictures and stories to generate the ideas. A lot of interaction took place to help with the generation of ideas, and questions were also asked to the students.
The amount of effort we put in is directly proportional to the sum of the happiness and creativity of our students in their learning. Little drops of water make up the mighty ocean. Likewise, putting a little effort in changing our mindset regarding the conventional teaching methods and shifting to discourse pedagogy will help us bring positive changes within our school children. This year, I incorporated discourse pedagogy with only my students from class 1 and class 3. In the next academic year, I plan to implement this in the other classes as well. You too can give this a try with your students, and you will be able to see the changes in their learning skills. English is a language, not knowledge. The English language can be acquired with the help of discourse pedagogy.
Teacher: C. SASIKUMAR, PST (GMS, MANAPET)
Term: Term 3