RUNNING THE VITAL YEARS ISPEAK SERIES by MS YAP (LAGENDA HEIGHTS)
It is exactly a year since we first started the iSpeak series in April 2015. In Legenda Heights, we run the programme twice a day – morning & afternoon and on Thursday we run it thrice a day – morning, afternoon & evening.
Both the iSpeak programme and the usual Smart Board lessons are especially designed by VITAL YEARS. However, the iSpeak lessons are a little different because they are based on the Core Materials of the VITAL YEARS programme. The children are familiar with the words and topics; and are also able to listen and understand the audio better because most of the demonstrations are done by our Founder and members of the Programme Department, compared to the normal smart board lessons where most of the oral component is done by foreigners.
As we have observed over the past year, children listen and grasp the ideas better and have acquired better speaking skills. The iSpeak programme allows better participation and helps to develop the children’s confidence. Some of them have even begun to use global English when reading and speaking. They have shown improvements in the use of proper word stress, better intonation and pacing of speech.
We do give small tokens to encourage the children when they speak well and are willing to try.
To speak in global English is indeed a challenge to the facilitators. We are making an effort to prepare and equip ourselves with the necessary skills in order to lead the children. We practice reading the Core Books following the audio CD at least 3 times a week and this has helped us to better appreciate the text. We also take a few minutes in a day to carry out the suggested activities i.e. talk about our favourite food, colour, hobby, interesting places, collections etc, which has helped to evoke the slumbering passion in us. The regular activities and positive impact on the children has further motivated the facilitators to go the extra mile in preparing themselves for the lessons. Some are going all out with their creativity and props to make the session more interesting and to better capture the children’s attention.
Apart from the desired outcome, we do get other bonuses from our regular conversation among facilitators – we are closer and understand each other better now. What a surprise!