“Children need positive invitations to read, demonstrations, information, explanations that fit their understanding and texts that engage them if they are to learn what reading is all about” Meek in Carter, p. 146 Fables are short stories that have an abstract moral lesson, fables consist on talking animals which have human like qualities while others consist of only humans or both in a story. Fables impart moral values and life skills which are indeed valuable to young children. The Didatic value of two fables will and the way one would approach these texts in a classroom will be discussed in the following essay.
Reading which is at the heart of any literature is key to the children’s’ development be it socially, academically or language development. Fables are a wonderful way of getting children to read as they offer enjoyment; it increases the child’s vocabulary and encourages use of the language. The child’s reading skills are developed and since most fables consist of talking animals and are not time bound it stimulates the children’s imaginations.
We will look at two fables whereby one will realise that through the different characters and traits children have the advantage of comparing and understanding themselves or issues at hand. One will also see it expands children’s views of different places and cultures but most of all its scaffolds children to the realisation of moral values. Fables can be used to a teachers favour in a classroom environment. For example, children are playful by nature and there attention span is only that long to keep themselves stimulated you might find some learners disrupt the class by troubling other learners, playing tricks and acting the fool is common disturbances teachers face with youngsters.
A fable that will suit children who play tricks on other learners will be “The boy who cried Wolf” By exposing children to different type of character, places and consciences they develop ‘innerresources’ stated by Bruno Bettelheim. Bettelheim discovered through observation of children at play, they would take on or associate with the main characters personality or traits. Placing into context ‘The Shepherd’s boy and the wolf’ with regards to the disruptive children in the classroom.One must first understand children nature. Children who are generally disruptive in a class are usually bored or simple does not want to take responsibility of the task given at hand. Young children usually don’t know how to express themselves. By reading fables such as the one mentioned above gives them a better platform to differentiate between right and wrong and what the result will be for bad behaviour.
They receive the moral of the story subconsciously and respond on an emotional level. I would approach this text in a story telling lesson. Improvising a bit on the story to suit my situation saying that the shepherds boy was bored by looking after the sheep and wanted to play with other children but did not want to carry out the task of looking after the sheep thus neglecting his responsibility his father had trusted him with. As oral mode is antastic way of relaying a fable. It’s almost magical when one starts a story with a long time ago…. Children instantaniously open to a world of fantasy and make belief… After having told this story I will allow children to voice the feelings towards the shepherd’s boy and the angry villages.
As them expressing their feelings will increase their understanding of the underlying message. One must understandmoral lesson in fables are taken in subconsciously. The disruptive children will come to a realisation that him going on the way he does will only be to his demise… the other children will start smarting up and not give him the upper hand and he would have to stop his bad behaviour. By experiencing the boy’s agony this will allow for the children to get in touch with their own feelings thus imparting a life skill and this ‘inner resource will come forth later in life, be it in their work environment or social life, that a liar will dig his own grave. I will not threaten them or point out to them that if you lie this is what will happen but through this fable they will subliminally receive the moral and the result will be in the change of their behaviour.
Another fable we can look at his the Hare and the Tortoise Because children are still developing emotionally, psychologically, socially and their vocabulary of language, we must understand their need to feel that they are in a safe environment as the world of unknown is a frightening and overwhelming place for children. By having a clear depiction on good prevailing evil, being able to easily identify with hero and having the happy ending serves a source of security. More importantly the children see what acceptable behaviour is. In this case where the hare was over confident and showing arrogance that he could actually take a nap while waiting for the tortoise these characteristics caused him to ultimately loose the race and on the flip side of the coin, the tortoise who infect had almost no chance of winning was confident and smart despite all the odds which stood in his way.
He displayed peserverance. These very personality traits caused him to win. Children will internalise these traits even though it is displayed by an animal children readily accept them as they believe and live in a world where anything is possible. They can easily associate that all livings things have human like qualities this is called ‘Animism’ This specific text I would approach by having a play but firstly have a storytelling lesson. The children would become familiar with the text and characters and then I would prepare them for a play.
Personal interaction will make children recall better. I would involve them in preparing props and improvising a bit where other children would dress up like different animals of the forest and give them parts in which they will have a chance to act in the play by expressing their views on the race before it takes place. This will be stimulating exercise as children will experience first-hand the emotions of the characteristics allowing them to bank into their ‘inner resource’ after the play I would ask them to write down their feeling towards the story and what lesson did they learn to see how well they grasped the concept of the moral.
Children learn well through fun and games so replaying fables such as these serve not only as good entertainment it also talks to emotions that children can relate to such as fear, love, success etc. and its relevant to children’s life as fables consist of a basic and easy to understand introduction, plot development, conflict, climax and a happy ending in most cases. There characters as seen in the above mentioned fables were clearly identifiable, the hero and the villain and their strengths and weakness were easy to relate to. The diction was suitable for the age of children who take interest in
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