How will pictures and illustrations help my students to learn?
- Will pictures really keep my students talking?
- Can students learn with pictures?
- How will storytelling help my students remember vocabulary?
- Does storytelling help students understand the deeper meaning of words?
Many teachers dislike it when students are reluctant to speak out of fear they’ll make a mistake. Teachers and leaders need to facilitate conversation and learning. We need to break the silence, get students talking, laughing and communicating.
Students who lack imagination, can’t think of a word, struggle to create full sentences… storytelling can help.
There are students who know 10,000 words, but can barely utter a sentence. There are others who know 1500 words and sound fluent (at least to someone new to teaching).
Memorizing words is very different from being able to use them correctly and effectively.
There was one person who you may have heard of that is especially well known for thinking and creating with images.
And that’s my story for today…
Have you ever heard of this guy?
He was a very quiet kid.
He hardly spoke at all until he was three years old. His parents thought that something was wrong with him and they consulted a doctor.
He was even told that he would never amount to much.
When he was about 5 years old, his parents gave him a magnetic compass.
And that is where it all began.
He was fascinated by the fact that no matter which way he turned the compass, the needle always pointed in the same direction. This new “toy” made him curious. It made him wonder about magnetic fields, which led him to become interested in physics.
That’s how his lifetime journey of exploration started. Many years later, he wrote about the compass saying: “That experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. ”
His name: Albert Einstein.
Most of us are not that level genius. But we do have the same capacity to be curious about new things. We love novelty.
Albert Einstein once said what?
He once said that all of his most important and productive thinking was done by playing with images in his imagination, “imagination is more important than knowledge.”
His work on gravity was influenced by imagining riding a free-falling elevator.
Everyone is born with an imagination. Storytelling is engrained in us. We are all storytellers to some degree.
We are nothing like Albert Einstein, but visual images do help connect our thoughts. They can help us retain things by sequencing ideas together and putting words in context.
New words are novel and we should explore and create with them.
The mind and imagination are wonderful things. Our job as teachers and leaders is to give our students opportunities to use words.
Don’t just ask them to memorize a random list of words and expect them to pass the test you give them. Give your students opportunities to grow. Ask them to tell you a story about their weekend (I mean a real story with adjectives and suspense, etc.)
Here’s some food for thought:
Keywords: overcoming shyness, how to overcome shyness in the ESL-EFL classroom