Increasing pupil engagement through storytelling

After several long months of remote learning at the height of the pandemic it is understandable that many students became more passive and felt disengaged from their learning. Understanding that student engagement is important to learning and achievement, Miss Nalini A/P Nagarajan, an English teacher at SK Batu Sembilan, Selangor, embarked on virtual storytelling sessions to encourage her year 4 students to attend class and keep up with their English language learning.

Miss Nalini A/P Nagarajan
English teacher
SK Batu Sembilan, Selangor

“Grab the opportunity to get involved so you can learn and grow professionally and meet teachers from other schools to share ideas.”

As a participant in the FINCO Reads programme, Miss Nalini had set up an Interactive Reading Corner and attended training but, as schools were closed, needed to adapt her skills for online learning. When offered the chance to host virtual storytelling sessions with financial industry volunteers she saw the opportunity to expose students to a new experience and encourage reading for pleasure. Typically class attendance was low during school closures, particularly amongst pupils from low income backgrounds but after working closely with FINCO and the volunteers, Ms. Scholastica, from AmBank to plan the session and engage parents, pupil attendance more than doubled. Pupils were excited to see a new face and engaged enthusiastically in the storytelling session with one, Dayan, commenting that she liked the volunteer’s facial expression when she was reading and all pupils asking for more such events in the future. After conducting further virtual storytelling and applying some of the reading and assessment strategies learnt through FINCO training, Miss Nalini shared that an increased awareness of student abilities had enabled her to better address students’ needs. She noted that her efforts had paid off in that her students began to use a greater range of vocabulary in their written work. Furthermore, at a time when learning loss due to school closures was common, assessment data showed that many of Miss Nalini’s pupils had in fact moved up by one band!

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