Language is often defined as a means of communication and is an important medium to think,to feel and to react to things. Childhood language plays a formative role in the development of the child’s personality and abilities and acts as a strong force for shaping a child’s perception of the world.
A child uses language for many purposes and thus in the early years of language development it should be nurtured and the child should be allowed to use language in the classroom, at home, etc. which will lead to language growth and development. As we know that from childhood the child is exposed to language in many different forms.
They learn to read and write from a very early age as they observe their adults, their parent’s, prints around them in form of billboards, packets, newspaper and thus when they enter into the classroom, their knowledge of language should be given space and should be taken as a base to build the language classroom. Therefore in classrooms opportunities to use language in a context should be provided and focus should be laid on developing language in an interconnected way, as the Emergent Literacy perspective emphasize. At NatureNurture, we actively work to build language through our trans-disciplinary approach.
A variety of activities and methods should be employed to help our young learners develop an understanding and proficiency in the language. Initially their grammatical errors, sentence structure can be ignored, and focus on their thoughts and ideas can be laid to help our learners think and create a beautiful piece of writing that has come from their imagination and creativity.
Now-a- days as everything has turned online and we need to change our teaching and learning process, but it is not impossible to engage our learners in activities to help them develop language. Here is the list of some activities that we can use to engage our learners in a virtual classroom that will effectively contribute to developing and enhancing their language whether English or Hindi and will make our classrooms more interactive and meaningful for our young learners.
- Children’s Literature: A lot of children’s literature should be used to help learners develop reading, writing, Speaking, and Listening skills all in an integrated manner. Children’s literature should be selected keeping in mind that it has a context, including a variety of interesting words, illustrations that are big, detailed, colorful, and meaningful. As illustrations are a great way to develop language, to develop oral language, and to enhance creativity and imagination in our young learners.
Books need to have interesting words that would stretch our young learner’s vocabulary. Different instructional strategies should be used like, predicting, projection, reasoning, finding, etc. while a story read aloud that will enhance the comprehension and will engage in creative and imaginative thinking As & when learners listen or read a story it does enhance reading, speaking, and listening skills but also helps to mind the events and characters portrayed in the story and helps to witness situations that we would never witness in the reality, helping them to broaden their perspective. Some sources to find good Children’s literature are; CBT, NBT, Pratham, Eklavya, Ektara, naturenurture.in etc that we all can refer to as educators and can engage and expose our children to good literature to enhance their language skills.
- Poems: Apart from using Children’s Literature, using a variety of poems is a great way to engage our young learners in a language classroom. The poem is a good source to help engage our learners as they contain lots of rhyming words that will add to their vocabulary and are short and easy to remember. Young learners often find poems interesting and often sing them as songs. Poems, that are short, have a lot of rhyming words, and are interesting should be used that will be enjoyed by our learners and will tremendously help in the language development of our young learners. As an educator, we can make a list of local rhymes that children often sing while playing and we should recite them with our children in the class.
- Opportunity to write: Writing is also a way to communicate. Often in the classroom writing is considered separate from language, and is often developed after the child has mastered the alphabets, letters, etc. Rather, from early age children are surrounded by written text and have an idea of writing. Drawing is also a prerequisite for writing. Therefore as an educator, we should help our learners view writing as a form of communication and lots of opportunities to enhance the same should be provided. A variety of writing opportunities should be provided. We as educators should frame questions keeping in mind different t writing styles. For example, Dialogue based writing, projection-based writing, imaginative writing task, speculative writing tasks, that will engage our learners and will enhance their language development.
- Picture Books: In the early age of development, picture books are a great way to engage our learners and to help them develop the English language. Use picture books that have vivid illustrations, with great detailing, and are colorful that will help learners think and weave a story around.
- Games: There are different games that we can use in our English/language classroom to engage our children well. Here is the list of some activities that we as an educator can use to enhance the efficiency of our classroom and can help in the development of English language.
- I spy: It is a wonderful game that we can play with our learners. In this, our learners can be little detectives and can find things just like detectives do. For example, I spy a fruit that starts with A. In this, the learners can bring fruits with alphabet A or can draw. It will enhance their listening skills and as in this example will help them associate the letter with word/object that will contribute to their language development. As educators, we can develop as many statements and can play this game with our learners.
- Daily News: In the English classroom we can set up a time to discuss daily news. Each day children should be encouraged to find information related to any theme or concept (Concept going in class or on any other topic). It will enhance their reading skills and will add new vocabulary.
- Think, Pair, and Share: It is a wonderful activity to engage our young learners in an offline task amidst this pandemic. We can pair learners and can give them a task in which they will be requiring to call up their friends and discuss the task allocated. Try to give questions that involve thinking and multiple perspectives. It will not only help them develop the language but will also enhance their socio-personal skills.
- Antakshari: English antakshari is a fun way to enhance our learner’s vocabulary. In this, the learners have to speak a word from the last alphabet of the word spoken. For example, The educator says Elephant, then the learners have to say a word with the alphabet ‘T’ and the cycle continues. We can change it as per our requirements. Creativity is the key.
- These are some of the games that we as educators can take up with our learners. Using all these ways will help enhance the English language in our learners. We need to focus on developing their thought so that they are better able to articulate them in that language. Opportunities to write, read should be provided that will contribute to developing the English language.