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The importance of Teaching Children Fairy Tales
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read more fairy tales.”
They are many reasons why we should read our children fairy tales, but experts seem unable to agree whether we should start reading fairy tales to children at a very young age or not. This discussion becomes more difficult when we think of teaching fairy tales in a language class.
In my opinion, we should start as early as possible. Of course, the choice of the tale, the objectives, the language, and the activities should be graded for each age group.
Today, I will share some reasons why we should use fairy tales in a foreign language classroom (two parts) and in my next posts, I will share some activities.
1. Fairy tales help show children how to manage problems
Sometimes we struggle to teach children how they should deal with problems they may face when learning a language. Making use of fairy tales might be a powerful tool to teach them how to deal with these problems.
2. Fairy tales help children build emotional resilience
Not everything is perfect in learning a foreign language in the classroom, as it is not in real life. If we build an environment to show children that good and bad things happen, and that these problems are part of the learning process, they will develop a positive attitude towards learning in general, and will become stronger emotionally.
3. Fairy tales help teach critical thinking skills
We, as teachers, can use either good or bad fairy tales and expose children to guided conversation about these aspects. They will help children develop critical thinkings skills.
4. Fairy tales help develop children’s imagination
I have always believed that fantasy, fun, and imagination help develop creativity. Fairy tales help children use them all and become more creative than they actually are.
5. Fairy tales help teach lessons
All teachers who teach children know we teach more than a language.Fairy tales might help us deal with some delicate lessons and morals that arise in the classes.
6. Fairy tales help children’s development
Fairy tales may be similar to children’s development, as they have many layers of meaning. If you use the same fairy tale at different ages with the same students, they will grasp the different meaning. This may be similar to learning a new language – the struggles against difficult times is unavoidable, but if they face the hardships and overcome obstacles, they will meet victory in the end, and be prepared to move to another level of development.
7. Fairy tales help teach cultural literacy
When you read fairy tales to children, it helps them develop their imagination, as they may include different cultures and ways of doing things. They also teach children about cultural differences in the world outside their own, which is essential when learning a foreign language. They will develop a curiosity to learn about new things, places, people.
8. Fairy tales help teach stories
Fairy tales teach children how to understand the meaning and power behind storytelling. Hearing a fairy tale over and over again will help children develop their own storytelling skills, for instance, tell a story in the correct order, pay attention to details, characters etc, either in the mother or foreign language.
9. Fairy tales help teach children move beyond their comfort zones
Some fairy tales can inspire children to be open to explore danger and confront it – both real and imaginary danger – which is very important when they are learning a foreign language. Also, they can help children understand individuality, but also the importance of supporting one another. Collaboration is a powerful skill, not only in learning a language, but also in their future work environment.
10. They are great fun!
If your objective is to use fairy tales to teach language, lessons, moral, culture, etc, you cannot also deny that it is great fun to sit with children around and simply read fairy tales. Their excitement and smiles when you come with a book to read, and the fun you will all have when you disappear in another world inside the fairy tales will be memorable. So, have fun and enjoy your fairy tale!
By Malu Sciamarelli