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Language is primarily meant to be a means of communication Hence the spoken form of language is more important than the written form. As far as the place of English is concerned it is an important language of communication. Its importance cannot be ignored at any time and any place in our country. Moreover, English is the most sought after language, hence extra attention must be paid by every school to its teaching so that the students learn the habit of speaking, reading and writing correct English. The greatest emphasis, however, should be laid on correct pronunciation.
Good pronunciation is a sign of culture. Therefore, every teacher should take pains to imbibe good pronunciation in children. The normal school time table and syllabus do not provide full opportunity to the children to learn and practice good pronunciation . Moreover, the method and manner in which English is taught in India gives rise to very faculty pronunciation. It is, therefore, essential that a concentrated effort t is under taken in our schools to train children in good pronunciation.
While teaching through text book, a teacher should pay minute attention to correct pronunciation. But it is an admitted fact that no amount of curricular work is enough to provide sufficient practice and drill work essential for this. Hence, due attention should be paid to those co-curricular activities which provide the students with opportunities to improve their pronunciation.
First of all, the teacher himself should have a sound knowledge of English phonetics and the production of sounds. He should also know that spoken English language differs from other Indian languages in three main areas: intonation, stress and rhythm.
Intonation-In English, we have falling intonation for statements and rising intonation for questions.
Stress-In spoken English, context words like nouns, adjectives, principal verbs and adverbs have a strong stress. Structured words like prepositions, auxiliaries, determiners have a weak stress. Stress changes the meaning of a word completely.
Rhythm-Rhythm means stress at regular intervals. Rhythm depends upon the proper use of syllables at a time. We can generally speak 300 syllables per minute or 5 syllabus per second.
Dramatisation has a great appeal for children. All children have a natural inclination for dramatic invention and activity. In their zest for dramatisation, children try to express every interesting thing experienced by them in the form of drama. This makes dramatisation a treasure house of practice in forming good speech habits in children. The educational possibilities of dramatisation for children intending to learn English are limitless. There is a vast variety of plays and one act plays available in English and the teacher can easily make a good selection out of them. The children can also be invited to the act of making such a selection. Thus, dramatisation is a very useful teaching device for language teachers interested in improving the pronunciation of the students and inculcating correct speech habits among them. Dramatisation has the added advantage of combining speech and oral expression with facial expression, gesture and movement or action. It is thus, a means of communication between the actors and the audience.
Dramatisation can be incidental or spontanceous in the class room. In this form of dramatisation a piece of prose and poetry lesson can be dramatised by the students at the spur of the moment. Its other form is that it is formerly presented on the stage after due preparation. In both forms, dramatisation provides a powerful love for training the student’s power of expression and clear speech and action.
Dramatisation is also a valuable means of training the pupils to shed off the cloak of stage shyness and face a public audience without any trace of nervousness. It also provides a healthy release for the emotional feelings of the children. Thus, it provides a lot of opportunities in which lye children’s instinctive tendencies to speech and action find a good and befitting outlet.
Famous literary pieces presented in a dramatic manner have a powerful influence in creating in the children a love and appreciation of good literature. But that is possible only in higher classes.
Written aspect of co-curricular activities
Written aspect of co-curricular activities can be manifested in the form of preparing wall papers and mottos in English. Extracts from poems or sayings in English can be presented on a wall paper. Mottoes also convey in very prief wise sayings or proverbs. Students of secondary classes should be encouraged to write some short essay or article in English for school wall-paper.
The students should be encouraged to learn the skill of communication through speech as well as writing. When we talk of teaching English, we have to take into account both the spoken and the written form. The aim of every school should be to inculcate in the children powers of good expression – both oral and written:
The normal school work done by students in shape of writing essays and composition exercises is quite insufficient to give them full training in expressing themselves in written form. Hence, the written aspect of co-curricular activities is of great help to the students in this respect.
The school wall paper provides an excellent opportunity for :’ the display of articles written by the students in a sincere and original manner. In such efforts, the students are not bound by the limitations
of class-room atmosphere. A student can write anything that catches his fancy. He may express his opinion on any subject that is dear to his heart. The fact that good efforts by the students will have the honor of being displayed on the school wall-paper, gives them great encouragement. It incites the child to put in his best efforts to produce flawless piece of writing. The students who frequently contribute to school wall-paper. Some original articles in English are sure to become good writers of English when they grow-up. ·
Thus, the school wall paper provides many opportunities to the students to express their ideas originally in English in a presentable manner. A good teacher of English should exploit this tendency of children and encourage them as much as possible for writing articles for school wall-paper.
The school magazine has all the advantages of the waH-paper and it has some extra advantages also. The teacher of English can write good articles for school magazine that can act as models for students. The teacher of English of secondary classes may also write articles on some famous books or pieces of literature in English so that the children may be encouraged to go to the sources and read those books or piece of literature. The information about the latest books available in school library can also be transmitted to the students through school magazine.
Moreover, the school magazine has the added advantage of having a wide circulation. Hence, the standard of articles, poems and stories published in school magazine can be kept at a fairly high standard. This will automatically raise the standard of writing of the students also. They will put in every effort to match their articles with the high standard of the school magazine. Thus a well produced school magazine fosters good habits of both extra reading and original writing in students. It is advisable that the teacher of English for secondary classes should be the editor of English section of the school magazine and the best student of English at secondary stage should be the student editor of English section of the school magazine.
Spelling games and word building games
Spelling games and word building games can be made so interesting that they may assume the form of co-curricular activities. The students can learn in a better way if they learn in play-way method.
The class may be divided into two teams for playing the spelling game. The teacher will give words tum by tum and ask the students from each team to deal with that word in a play-way form. Some of the spelling games are given below –
- Covering with hand-The teacher writes a word on the black board and asks the students of both the teams to have a look at it. Then, he covers the word with his hand and asks one student each from both the teams to write it in their exercise books. The word written by them is compared with the word written on the blackboard. One mark is given for right attempt and zero mark for wrong attempt.
- The teacher writes another word on the black board covers it as before with his hand and asks two other students (one from each team) to write it in their exercise books. Marks are given to them on the basis of their right attempt. The game is carried on till all the students get their turn. Total marks for right attempts (One mark for one right attempt) are counted for each team. The team getting more marks than the other wins the match. The match winning team is rewarded with a loud applause of cheers.
New word from old word
Step-I-The teacher writes a word on the black bard and asks the students from both the teams to write in their exercise books a new word by changing only one letter out of the old word. For instance, the teacher writes the word ‘daisy’ on the blackboard, the students are required to write a new word out of it by substituting only one letter out of this word. The new word can be ‘dairy’ or ‘daily’.
Step-II-The exercise books of the students of team ‘A’ are given to the students of team ‘B’ (one exercise book to one student). The teacher writes the new word on the black board and asks the students to give one mark for right attempt and zero mark for wrong attempt. The total marks of one team can be compared to the total marks of the other team. It will decide the fate of one match.
Step-III-After it, the teacher may write another word on the black board for instance, he writes ‘lemon’ and asks the students of both the teams to form a new word out of it in the same way. The required word can be ‘demon’.
Step-IV-In the same way, the exercise books of the students of team ‘B’ are given to the students of team ‘A’. The teacher writes the new word on the black board and asks the students to assign marks to the attempts of their fellow students in the similar way. The total marks obtained by each team will decide the fate of the match.
Note-If there can be a new word other than the new word written by the teacher, full credit will be given for it, subject to the decision of the teacher.
More matches of similar type
The teacher can continue the Rubber Matches by offering more words, from which new words are to be formed by changing only one letter of each word. The fates of the ratchets can be decided in the way already described. In this way, the team which wins the Rubber by winning greater number of matches will be declared the champion of the Rubber.
- Out-door activities-It is not necessary that the above mentioned games of word building and spelling exercise be played only in the class-room. They can take the form of out door activities, such as activities dur¥1g picnic and excursions. When the students are taking rest during picnics or excursions, the teacher can engage them in these games. In such a case, all activities involved in the games will be carried on orally instead of using black board or exercise books as is done in the class-room.