Nasreddin Hodja tales may inspire Turkish foreign language gifted and talented students to speak better English
This study deals with a special methodology to meet the special needs of Turkish gifted and talented students (GTS) in terms of improving their English oral proficiency. Most GTS are known to have been born also "gifted in languages". Their language awareness shows by their "communicative skills, creative flair and arguing and reasoning". Their skill in using their native language reflect in their talents in foreign languages by their "strong desire to put language pieces together by themselves, by their creativity and imagination, picking up new words and structures very quickly, constantly asking questions and showing an intense interest in the cultural features of the new language they are learning." So benefitting from these talents they could easily be oriented to fine-tune their pronunciation and intonation in acceptable norms of phonetics. Turkish GTS having greater ease in learning new skills than their peers and are not usually satisfied with the usual methods and curriculum which do not fit to their vision of perfection at their own pace. The official foreign language training they are offered lacks the method by which they can learn to speak clearly and effectively, which is a skill they need to acquire in order to communicate orally with the rest of the world. Therefore they must be trained in new approaches to bring their proficiency on that line up to higher standards. In order to compensate this vital gap, such GTS need to learn first a special technique called "IPA transcription reading" and practice on relevant materials. In this innovative approach, students first acquire an awareness of the individual sounds and speech rhythm of the target language, i.e. English and practice on them by reading aloud texts written in IPA codes accompanied by their sound recordings and have their performance monitored by their speech instructions until perfection is reached. As for the drilling material to be chosen humor has been found great advantage, as it makes learning easier. The best known Turkish philosopher Nasreddin Hodja's satirical tales, traditionally a great source of inspiration for Turks, has been considered as a great source for such activities. By working hard on the transcriptions Hodja tales, students find not only to express themselves in English more clearly, understandably and fluently, their audience but also their conversation became wiser and more humourous. Because a sense of humor in conversation makes both speakers and listeners feel better as it smoothes out their interactions as a social lubricant. Those GTS grasping the correct norms of English pronunciation after much drilling on transcription are expected to speak English more efficiently and confidently than earlier and than their peers not undergone such training. The desired outcome will of course be achieved through constant practice and monitoring their performances. © 2015 Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists.
SourceJournal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists
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