Thursday, 9 November 2017

Building Students’ Confidence through Stories and Reading

Rafli Riansah stood in front of his friends and teacher while telling a story from the pictures in the book. This grade II student of SDN 010155 Sei Muka, Kecamatan Talawi, Kabupaten Batubara, North Sumatra was telling the story with enthusiasm, although not so smoothly. Rian, as he is usually called, was not reading the story. He told the story based only on the pictures he saw.

Endang Susilawati, who was practicing reading technique at SDN 010155 Sei Muka, did not stop Rian’s activity, although she later learned from the other students that Rian could not read yet. The reading and storytelling practices were part of the Pelita Pustaka program from Tanoto Foundation which was held in August 2017.

Endang is not Rian’s teacher. She teaches at SDN 017116 Karang Baru, Kecamatan Talawi and only did teaching training practice at Rian’s school. Even so, she does not discriminate between students who she teaches. Wherever she teaches, even only in a training practice, she does her best and gives equal opportunities to all students.

“For me, building the confidence of children is more important than their ability to read. The ability to read can be taught by anyone, but building the characters of the children must be done continuously. Teaching the children must touch their hearts, “said Endang.

The opportunity of meeting Rian became an important lesson for Endang. Facing a difficulty means having a greater chance to learn. That’s what Endang experienced. After giving Rian an opportunity, the next day she gave Rian another chance and it turned out Rian became more confident and could tell his story more fluently.

The lesson learned from meeting with Rian is then applied by Endang at her school, especially at grade 1 up to grade 3. She does not discriminate between the students and gives equal opportunity to every student to have confidence to read or tell stories in front of their friends.

The result is very positive. The students in her school have more confidence, though this activity has only been running for about three months. The students no longer feel awkward when asked to read stories in front of their friends. In fact, they sometimes take their own initiative by reading stories before Endang arrives at the library.

Not only do they have more confidence in reading stories in the library, the students also have more confidence and become more active during lessons in the classroom. When questions are asked, the students are not afraid to raise their hands and give their answers. Their answers are not always correct, but having the confidence to give answers is already an important improvement for a student.

Endang hopes every teacher and parent will give their children a chance to try, although they will not always succeed. Endang has learned something from Rian. When a child is given a chance, the child will try to do its best and every child has the potential to grow, move forward, and become smarter.

Written by Jepri Sipayung, Tanoto Foundation Sumatera Utara.

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