Latest research findings about teaching and leaning and activities for the classroom   Leave a comment

Sharing ideas


It just occurred to me that I should make better use of research findings, have a more practical approach to publicise research that would be relevant to teaching.

In my PhD, I have found that conversational narratives are a powerful way of improving an L2 learner’s linguistic, pragmatic and interactional competence. I find that personal narratives that come from personal experience can lead to incredible use of language over time and this also goes for spoken grammar. This is valid not just for primary school aged students but teenagers and adults.









Responding to storytelling may not be easy for students and there’s a unit in Beyond Talk that’s dedicated to responding to storytelling. Oral narratives have been going on for millennia and have been an important way of passing on traditions but also language, and also to develop relationships, conduct business, report an incident, etc. It’s a pervasive form of talk hence it is such a natural way of interacting. In fact, that’s what we do a lot of the time and you may have noticed that now some of the buzz words in the media are narrative and conversation/let’s have a conversation about this.

Below is what neurosciences has to say about engaging in storytelling and how beneficial it is:



As a teacher, creating opportunities to engage students in narrating personal events, without resorting to topics that may not interest them is a fantastic way of getting them involved and producing authentic language.

This also may be done in writing so you can start with oral narratives and then get them to create a blog to write their stories and other students could respond to their stories. I did that using Wikispaces and it’s wonderful to see how students’ writing progressed over time and how they engage with each other. Students in small groups can also create a story about something they deeply care about and create a short film about it which can be then shown to other students. Then a discussion about each film can take place, and each group can explain what motivated them to make this film, tell this story, etc.


Another activity is to get students to bring to class a favourite or treasured item/object. Organise small groups of three students. Get one student to ask questions about the other student’s object while the third student simply observes and listens. Make sure you thoroughly explain each student’s role before students start the activity. Then, when all questions have been answered, the third student who has been observing retells the story to the other two students as she/he understands it seeking confirmation from the storyteller. At this point, clarifications can be made so any students in each group can participate. Once one story has been fully told and understood get students to swap roles, until each student has revealed their own story based on their individual object/item. To finish the activity, get all the students together and discuss what was powerful in these narratives and what they learned and enjoyed.


Posted 05/30/2016 by ESLandCAteaching

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