[Meet Miss Frida] Introducing Fun English

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The students were carrying their backpacks when they entered the classroom in that fine afternoon. They looked fresh (after having their showers, of course) but seemed to be timid and quiet. Well, there’s always the first time for everything, kiddos! 😄

So, I put the best grin on my face and started greeting them. 😁

“Good afternoon, class.”

“Good afternoon, Miss Frida.”

“How are you today?”

“Err…err…”

I couldn’t help doing anything better but laughing to see their clueless faces looking at one another, finding the right answer. I knew it’s time to come to the rescue.

“How do you reply the question: ‘How are you today?’ Anybody knows?”

“Err … How are you today …” a voice burst out from one of my students. She looked hesitant to continue her words but I was there to encourage her.

“Yes, Nashwa? How do you answer that? How are you?” a smile still remained on my face.

“I am err … I am fine,” Nashwa’s eyes looking for something to hold on for her being “brave” answering me.

I clapped my hands. “That’s right. Wonderful! So, when I ask you: ‘How are you?’ you can reply me with: ‘I am fine. Thank you.’ Ok?”

They nodded and smiled.

“Ok. Let’s do it again. How are you?”

“I am fine. Thank you.”

“That’s excellent. Good job,” the magic words spontaneously came out from my mouth.

Note: I conducted the class in bilingual languages since most of the students had zero-base English.

***

Welcome to Nerisha! The place where the children can learn fun English easily and happily. Yay!

Last October, I officially started the class. It was a group of elementary students who mostly learned English as the fourth language after their first mother tongue (local language), Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic language (as most of them were having Qur’an recitation course after school). So, those three languages were the ones they listened and spoke first up to now.

Obviously, it’s not as easy as ABC making them get familiar with English. From the learning method which they have been using, their school teachers merely teach and emphasize writing skill. It means, the students get used to learn by doing exercise in written, observing how to answer the questions from the examples given, translating word by word to understand what the story is about. Briefly, they don’t get used to having any interaction or communication in English with their school teachers. Even English is delivered in Bahasa Indonesia during the ongoing lesson.

As the consequence, the students never sense how to speak English up. They are not given a chance to feel and sense how it is like to use English orally let alone as daily conversation. They are just not fully exposed  with it. Thus, most of them still feel English as a stranger and this feeling is carried away until they reach High School period if they are not lucky enough to meet the same boring method again. Old school!

There’s no one to blame on. (It’s no use to make things get more complicated, right?) All I know is I’m here to help my students love English more. If they love English, they will feel happy. If they’re happy, they’re willing to do more. It’s just as simple as that. So, let’s make things simple go simpler.

***

Pronunciation

This is the first thing I need to highlight for my students’ reading ability. Since they are not familiar with how to say the English words correctly, they tend to read the words wrongly. They need to learn to say the words in correct pronunciation. So, constant correction is fully needed. This is an example of exercise that you can do with your students or kids at home.

Exercise:

  • Prepare 2 picture flash cards of: BALL and BOWL
  • Write down the word under the each picture
  • Say the words correctly and ask the students/kids to repeat after you
  • Check their pronunciation
  • Show the cards one by one to each student/kid and ask he/she to read
  • Do it faster
  • Game over

The words BALL and BOWL have similar pronunciation. That’s why some students may find it tricky to read those words correctly. But when they’re able to do it wonderfully, the star is yours. 😊

Situation: in the classroom

Activity: reading the words on the flash cards

Me              : Ok, Nashwa. Read these words one by one. Ready? (showing the cards one by one quickly)

Nashwa  : Ball. Bowl. Bowl. Ball.

Me            : Very good. Ok, Nayya. Your turn now.

Nayya      : Ball. Ball. Bowl. Bowl.

Me            : Good job. Fahmi, now. Read.

Fahmi      : Ball. Ball.

Me            : Oops! Is this also “ball”?

Fahmi      : (smile) Bowl.

Me            : Wonderful. Next.

Fahmi      : Bowl. Ball. Ball. Bowl, eh ball. (take out his lunch box from his bag in the middle of reading the words, then simply start eating the bread and stop the reading activity.)

Me            : (can’t help smiling and laughing to see this) Oh, I see. So, this BALL and BOWL really make you hungry, huh? Alright, I give you two minutes to eat the bread and remember to share the bread with your other friends.

Fahmi      : (share the bread with his classmates and they eat together)

Me            : Ok, finished? Good. So, Fahmi. What else do you have inside your bag? Do you also have nasi pecel?

Fahmi      : (smile and shake his head)

Me            : Ok, let’s continue the lesson.

Sometimes, unexpected but funny things happen. There’s no other way but just enjoy them. Always remember to smile and show gratitudes. 😇😁

Very well, then. I’ll see you in my class soon.

Lots of love,

Frida Herlina

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25 thoughts on “[Meet Miss Frida] Introducing Fun English

  1. This is my first visit, Miss. Are you a school teacher?

    The method is interesting. I never thought of playing similar pronounciation with my sons .

    I never ‘teach’ English to my sons. I just talk to them in English, watch TV which is using English and no subtitle, sing with them in English. I love English even I’m not really good at it. But I’m glad I found a way to make my sons enjoy learning English

    One thing that makes me sad is when a friend asks me to teach her child. I don’t know what to do. I mean, I started to teach my sons from their early phase of life. I can’t find a way how to teach children with no basic at all. I mean, I can’t change people in a short time and almost all the aims of learning English is to get good marks at school.

    What do you think?

    1. You’re an awesome mother and teacher for your sons, Mbak Diah!
      It’s a great achievement of yours to be able to introduce English as daily activities, such as: singing, watching movies, etc. that make them enjoy and love English so much. Congrats!

      Well, yes. Language is best to introduce at early age. That’s why each kid will have different approach as each of them is unique. Backgrounds and habits will affect much, too. That’s why (again) your friend’s kid will not show the same result as your sons’ in learning English. They have different backgrounds and habits. So, you don’t need to worry.
      A real parent will understand her/his own kid’s strength and weakness and won’t set high expectation towards the kid’s ability.

      Teaching a zero-based student will take a lot of preparation. Firstly, we have to enrich her/his vocabulary building. Showing nouns on picture flash cards will do. Most children are visual so prepare a lot of colorful and interesting pictures to raise their curiousity.

      Teaching English doesn’t make us a magician that by saying “abrakadabra” will turn the child to be a master in English. No.
      Learning takes process and it always will.

      Our education system requires good grades. That’s why most parents/teachers push the children/students to get flying colors in each semester. What can we do about it? Do we have the power to change it?

      Above all, keep sharing and doing good deeds to others. Btw, I just visited your English blog and it’s amazing. Love your stories there.
      Pardon my long reply. It’s like another blogpost, huh? Thank you for stopping by. ^^

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