‘What did you discover about yourself this term?’
“I’m no longer scared to speak in English.”
*sentence has been corrected from ‘I no scare to speak English’*
This girl came in January with her head down. Every time she has to speak or give an answer, she would put a finger over her mouth, look downwards and take 5 minutes to say 1 word. It was difficult for me to get any answer from her.
1 month in, head still down.
‘It’s already been a month. Are you really going to keep making me wait for 5 minutes before you say something?’
Yes, there are times I practice tough love. Once I gain their trust, I practice some tough love.
“I’m thinking Teacher.”
‘Okay. I’ll come back to you.’
That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I wanted her to open her mouth to say something. Even if it was to tell me she needed time to think of the answer. Say something (I’m not giving up on you).
“Who can answer question number 1?”
I see a head and hand firmly up for the first time. Her eyes said ‘Pick me Teacher. I want to try.’ And so I did.
Month 3, she admitted her fear of speaking up in English had gone.
6 years in school, and she gained fear of speaking. 3 months with me, and she not only volunteers and speaks up in class, she is the female lead for the school’s marching parade.
In normal school, students practice listening and writing. Teacher say, student write. Teacher write, student write. In my class, students have to verbally give me the answer before writing it down. They use every moment in the class to practice. 70% of the time, they are talking, answering, conversing, be it right or wrong, even if it’s just to use the washroom.
Do this with your kids at home. Tell them to bring their textbook and exercise book home. Pick an exercise that they have completed in school. You ask the question, and get them to read the answer. Encourage your children to practice speaking it. Practice practice practice. That is key. And it starts at home.