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Teaching english in the first triad of primary school with the use of the Storyline approach

Anja Podpečan (2017) Teaching english in the first triad of primary school with the use of the Storyline approach. MSc thesis.

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    Nowadays, English is known as the lingua franca, the most commonly used language in communication among individuals who speak different languages. Its importance is also reflected in the Slovene school system by implementation of learning of a foreign language in the first educational period. Thus, we try to meet the optimal conditions for learning a foreign language in the early period. In the process, ensuring learning situations, where learning would be performed in an authentic manner, presents a problem. In this way foreign language learning would resemble the context and circumstances of first language learning as much as possible. Storyline represents one of the modern approaches to teaching, which meets the characteristics of recommended early teaching of a foreign language, and also the demands of the Slovenian curriculum. The approach, deriving from Scotland in the 1960s, is still a novelty in Slovenia, especially in the field of teaching of a foreign language. Abroad, however, the approach is a teaching method, used in different subjects of the curriculum and on all levels of education. Storyline is a holistic student-centred method of teaching, where learning is conducted innovatively and interestingly, within the form of a story creation. The story creation is exactly what persuaded me to try the Storyline approach in teaching English as a foreign language in the third grade of the Slovene elementary school and analyzed the effect of the approach on pupils. By means of the qualitative research approach, I included 15 pupils, aged 8 and 9 years, who collaborated in the Storyline project, which lasted for 5 weeks (two lessons every week), into the action research. The answers to the research aims were acquired by means of interviews, before and after the Storyline project, with pupils and the primary school teacher, who teaches English in the class, participating in the research, and by observation and analysis of the children’s products. I collected and compared the opinion of the teacher as well as the experts who have been using this approach to teaching for many years. I discovered that the Storyline approach, with its authentic elements, positively influences the acquisition of the first intercultural experiences of pupils, preserving positive attitude towards the subject, and encouraging motivation for learning a foreign language. At the same time, it encourages autonomous learning and the use of a foreign language by ensuring a safe and creative learning environment. The pupils responded positively to the following elements of the Storyline approach: story, characters in the story, drama elements (role playing), creativity elements (artistic creation), incidents and unexpected events, team work and celebration. The problem tasks within the Storyline topics encouraged pupils to cooperate, and use various methods and materials when facing the problem. With its characteristics, Storyline represents a good starting point for alternative ways of assessment, such as portfolio, and enables more authentic learning experience of learning a foreign language in the classroom.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: early teaching of English, Storyline approach, authenticity of learning situations, action research, alternative assessment
    Number of Pages: 149
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Mateja Dagarin FojkarMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11525705)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4440
    Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 12:35
    Last Modified: 24 Apr 2017 12:35
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4440

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