12.1 Presenting New Language Orally
When children start learning English, they need to be given language before they can produce it themselves. Language has to go in before it can come out.
At the initial stage, the activities will be under the control of the teacher. Here are just some of the ways teachers can present new language orally:
Using a mascot
Using puppets or mascots is a great way of introducing new materials and new language to young children.
For example, if a teacher uses a teddy bear as their mascot, they can name it ‘bear’ and use ‘Bear’ to ask questions. Students can ask questions through Bear: ‘Bear wants to ask …’ Students can also ask Bear questions and teachers can present exchanges with Bear as their partner.
“Bear, can you run?
No, I cannot, but I can whistle.’
And Bear then whistles a tune.
‘Bear, do you like apples?
What about honey?
Yes, I love honey.’
The mascots name, identity, address, likes, dislikes, etc. will be built up in collaboration with the children, so that the mascot belongs to everyone in the class.
Once the teacher has introduced the mascot, pupils can ask it all sorts of questions, and the mascot can provide answers in this way. Most oral work is aimed towards someone and asks for a reply from someone, and supplying another speaker of English around can make all sorts of circumstances more comfortable to get across. The mascot means that no one needs to do oral work by themselves.
Teachers can use simple and clear pictures to present a new language; they can mime/act situations; they can use realia – toy furniture, clothes, animals, telephones, etc.