Saturday, January 9, 2010

Story Telling Can Improve Speaking Ability for Beginner

Henny Handayani


Activation is a technique of teaching English that ask student to active in speaking. And story telling is one of way for teaches students to communicate creatively in learning English. As a second or foreign language, English is not easy to learn by the students at the beginning of the study. For them, English is likely to be one difficulty in learning. One of the basic skills in English is speaking. Speaking is the ability that requires the process of communicative competence, pronunciation, intonation, grammar and vocabulary improving. For the beginner, speaking exercise of story telling is difficult to try. Naturally, they feel confused on the rule, like: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and fluency. Some of students are afraid to be active in speaking. This phenomenon makes many students have low scores in English. The lessons must be relaxed and comfortable. So, the students feel confident, they will not need to try hard to learn language.
It will just come naturally and easily. In addition, they say that learning English is confusing activity. For them, English is different from Indonesian. The students also say that they frequently get bored when learning English, especially speaking in story telling. Some of the teachers state that it is caused by the teaching technique which is applied by them. They are unable to create an interesting classroom situation. The teacher tells that when teaching learning process occurs in the classroom, students often seem unwilling to learn. Some of them are singing, some are laying their head and writing something that is not related to the material. In conclusion, they do not pay attention to the teaching-learning process.

Storytelling is a creative art form that has entertained and informed across centuries and cultures (Fisher, 1985), and its instructional potential continues to serve teachers. Storytelling, or oral literature, has many of its roots in the attempt to explain life or the mysteries of the world and the universe--to try to make sense out of things (Tway, 1985). In doing so, the characters and themes in the stories have become cultural and often cross-cultural archetypes of historic and continuing importance (Lasser, 1979). Even in today's technological world, we have not changed to such a degree that the archetypes presented in traditional oral literature are no longer applicable (Livo and Rietz, 1986.
Highlights for beginner educational story telling is dedicated to helping children grow in basic skills and knowledge, in creativeness, in ability to think and reason, in sensitivity to others, in high ideals, and worthy ways of living--for children are the world's most important people. This study investigated the relationship between reading comprehension and oral storytelling as abilities. Reading comprehension was measured by the Reading Comprehension subtest of the Peabody Individual Achievement Test. Storytelling was measured by (a) the Oral Production subtest of the Language Assessment Scales using the standard scoring protocol and (b) a story structure analysis. A comparison of the standard scoring protocol and reading comprehension revealed no relationship, while the comparison of the story structure analysis and reading comprehension revealed a significant correlation. The implications of these results for language assessment of bilingual students are discussed.
1. Nature of Story Telling
Storytelling has been used as a means of communication since earliest times. Many religions started with a person who told stories that conveyed values in a memorable and moving way, and which were also capable of being understood at many levels. Storytelling however today is becoming one of the key ingredients to managing communications, education, training, and innovation in the 21st century. Educators have long known that the arts can contribute to student academic success and emotional well being. The ancient art of storytelling is especially well-suited for student exploration. As a folk art, storytelling is accessible to all ages and abilities. No special equipment beyond the imagination and the power of listening and speaking is needed to create artistic images. As a learning tool, storytelling can encourage students to explore their unique expressiveness and can heighten a student's ability to communicate thoughts and feelings in an articulate, lucid manner. These benefits transcend the art experience to support daily life skills. In our fast-paced, media-driven world, storytelling can be a nurturing way to remind children that their spoken words are powerful, that listening is important, and that clear communication between people is an art.

2. Basic Concept of Story Telling
To build children's storytelling skills, Plourde (1985) recommends activities that focus on role playing, generating character, helping students find an appropriate voice, and developing the ability to make logical conclusions. Plourde elaborates on a dozen techniques appropriate for children in kindergarten through grade 6. One, for example, has the teacher or one child relate the beginning of a familiar fairy tale and another child make up an entirely new ending. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (1984) offers several suggestions for making low-cost crafts materials that facilitate storytelling. Among them is the construction of a simple mini-cinema illustrating sequential events of a story. These stages of the story may then be presented with a flexible strip of drawings operated by pulling a string.
Gross and Batchelder (1986) present exercises for older elementary and middle school students designed to improve group dynamics and create a learning environment for storytelling. One technique involves using a circle to practice games inspired by modern dance education and Native American rituals. These exercises help older students who are apt to be self conscious to become more confident, willing to participate, and supportive of the storytelling process. Music--classical or popular, recorded or live--can also be used to set the scene for storytelling, as can puppets and other simple props. (Sidorsky, 1985) But effective storytelling is a versatile strategy that stirs the imagination and enables children to visualize with few or no visual aids at all.

For a classroom teacher who wishes to use storytelling, it is best to begin by choosing a simple story with only a few characters and an uncomplicated plot. The story should have action, the plot should be understandable to the listeners, and the events of the story should have a definite climax that leads to a conclusion the students will find satisfactory. Folk and fairy tales are the easiest kinds of stories for beginning storytellers to communicate (Ramey, 1986; Taub, 1984). In selecting these or any story, it is important to keep in mind the age of the children in the audience. Scott (1985) advises the storyteller to be flexible, to expect unexpected reactions, and to remember that enjoyment the first and chief consideration. Scott and other researchers (e.g., Ramey, 1986) emphasize that a storyteller need not be a "performer," but rather a person who has good memory and listening skills, who sincerely likes the story chosen for telling, and who knows the story so well that it can be recreated for an audience without any uncertainty or panic. Storytellers who are too "actorish" usually fascinate the audience, but at the expense of the story.
The second consideration in effective storytelling should be to encourage exploration and experimentation with language (Schwartz, 1987). Constructing meaning through use of language is an implicit goal in storytelling. A language development focus can recommend retelling. Stories that are told and retold develop a patina with each new telling. Children's participation in storytelling provides not only novelty to stimulate the child's curiosity, but also enough familiarity to allow a child to perceive relationships and to experience success at using language (Wason-Ellam, 1986).
Perhaps storytelling's greatest value for a teacher is its effectiveness in fostering a relaxed and intimate atmosphere in the classroom An experienced teacher or storyteller, explains how this practical and general objective can relate to the other benefits from using storytelling: It can 1) introduce children to a range of story experiences; 2) provide young students with models of story patterns, themes, characters, and incidents to help them in their own writing, oral language, and thinking; 3) nurture and encourage a sense of humor in children; 4) help put children's own words in perspective; 5) increase knowledge and understanding of other places, races, and beliefs; 6) introduce new ideas and be used to question established concepts without threat to the individual; 7) lead to discussions that are far ranging and often more satisfying than those arising from formal lessons; and 8) serve as the most painless way of teaching children to listen, to concentrate, and to follow the thread and logic of an argument.

After read many books and finished this paper, the writer would like to put forward suggestion as follow:
1. The beginner must be encourage to use English every time
2. The beginner need to develop their ability especially of speaking English
3. The teacher shouldn’t force the students in making their speak but she should be able to make students interest in learning English especially in story telling
4. The teacher be able to select a good technique in teaching English especially in teaching speaking.


1. Lillian M. Logan and Virgil G. Logan a Leona Paterson. Creative Communication, Teaching the Language Art, Mc Graw Hill Ryerson Limited, Canada.1972.
2. Paul Roberts, Understanding English, Cornell University,1958.


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  2. thanks you i need this article to help me do my final assigment