Lesson Plan: Listening + Method Acting: readiness

 

Have you ever felt like you understand a situation around you, but you just have a hard time responding to that stimulus immediately?

Maybe it’s in the middle of an argument and you can only think of a come back two hours later, or perhaps your interlocutor reacts unexpectedly and leaves you speechless.

I guess we’ve all been there.

In order to avoid that from happening once again, we could draw some help from the creator of Method Acting, Konstantin Stanislavski. But this time, we could focus on his concept of readiness and how it can aid spoken communication through active listening.

Why use Stanislavski’s readiness concept into Active Listening?

The imagination that leads to faith begins at the very moment the actors allow themselves to be available for any kind of stimuli the environment might present. By developing a sense of readiness in his actors, Stanislavski aimed at fostering acceptance of external stimuli. This technique demands from the actor a volatile, agile and alert mind, which is capable to respond to these stimuli through action, whether physical or verbal. And that is exactly the link between acting and ELT: attempting to develop the learner’s listening so that skills such as perceiving, analyzing and responding to auditory stimuli can be enhanced.

 

This activity in particular intends to create a sense of emergency that leads to deep focus and readiness. Just like during rehearsals for an actor, the students are faced with a situation which demands high levels of attention, language recollection and creativity and allows them to let the target language sink in through active listening and drilling.

I hope you have fun with this one as well!


Listening + Method Acting: readiness

Type: Listening

Age: Young adults and Adults

Language level: A2-C1

Aims: Actively involve learners in the listening process; promote sense of readiness to perceive, analyze and respond to auditory stimuli; encourage metacognition development.

Interaction Pattern: Whole group, pair work, group work, individual work.

Material: Course book; recording; audio player; white board or similar.

Timing: 60 min (full lesson)


Procedure:

1. Before listening, activate learners’ schemata by discussing the overall situation in which the speakers will be in. You could come up with questions or use the ones in the ‘pre-listening section’ in the course book you usually follow. Ask follow up questions to personalize the situation and elicit as much language as possible such as: ‘What would you say in this situation?’; ‘What do you expect the other person will reply to you?’.

 

2. Tell learners they are going to listen to a conversation, but you will pause the recording a few times. Every time you pause, they will be given thirty seconds to write down what they believe the next sentence will be. (Tip: depending on your class goal, pause right before the target language for that class is used in order to draw extra attention to it). Tell students they are also supposed to check if their predictions were correct when you continue playing the recording. Play recording, stopping before language you would like them to focus on (give learners enough time during pauses).

 

3. Ask learners to compare in pairs what they had predicted and what was actually said. Write on the board: ‘Can the sentences you predicted actually be part of this conversation?’; ‘Why do you think the speakers decided to use these words/sentences to continue the conversation?’; ‘What else could they have said?’. Learners discuss in pairs.

 

4. Tell learners they will listen to the conversation again and you will stop the recording at the exact same parts. However, this time, instead of writing down predictions, they should speak up what comes next. Play recording, stopping before language you would like them to focus on. Learners speak in unison during pauses. Play as many times as needed until most learners remember the target language by memory.

 

5. Assign learners a few questions to develop metacognition of their listening skills, such as: ‘What were you listening to?’; ‘What helped you to understand the text?’; ‘What prevented you from getting the correct answer?’; ‘What did you do to understand as much of the text as possible and remember it afterwards?’. Give learners a few minutes to reflect on their own listening processes. Afterwards, divide learners in small groups and have them share and discuss their findings with their peers.


If you would like to have this lesson plan as a PDF, click here


 

Lesson Plan: Listening + Method Acting: faith

Method acting

Many have heard this term but few outside the Drama field know what it actually stands for. Method Acting is the title given to the acting methodology created by Konstantin Stanislavski, the Russian director who is still one of the most influent thinkers and practitioners of the dramatic arts until this day. It is a rigorous system, which intends to guide actors through their craft from character-building, to rehearsals and performance.

Among many crucial topics covered in the Method, one can be particularly interesting for language teachers, especially when it comes to listening instruction: the concept of faith.

 

Truth on the stage is whatever we can believe in with sincerity, whether in ourselves or in our colleagues

Stanislavski, K.

 

For Stanislavski, communication can only be truthful, meaningful and purposeful on stage if the actors truly believe – or have faith – that what is happening at that moment between them is real. And this concept can be very useful to help our usually forced, unnatural and artificial listening classes into something students can actually relate to, actively.

Why use Stanislavski’s faith concept into Active Listening?

By inviting learners to be participants in the conversation they are about to hear, not only is their schemata activated but also their faith in its reality developed. It gives them purpose to listen and enhances the sense of usefulness and meaningfulness about the target language. Instead of passively eavesdropping on the speakers, students are invited to actively ‘be in the conversation’ with them. It also stimulates their promptitude abilities to respond or react to what is listened to at the time of speech, as they would have to do in real life.

 

Thinking about these benefits and applications into modern listening instruction, I thought about a possible lesson plan combining these two worlds and you can find it below. Hope you all enjoy and test it!

And, as usual, have fun with the games!!!


Listening + Method Acting: faith

Type: Listening

Age: Young adults and Adults

Language level: A2-C1

Aims: Actively involve learners in the listening process; Promote sense of belief (faith) that the situation portrayed in the recording is personally relevant, useful and meaningful to learners; Develop skills such as listening for gist, listening for detail, promptitude to react or respond to interlocutor.

Interaction Pattern: Whole group, pair work, group work, individual work.

Material: Cards with background information about speakers; Course book; Recording; Audio player; White board or similar

Timing: 60 min (full lesson)


 

Procedure:

1. Before listening, distribute cards to learners describing the situation divided in different points of view. For example, if there are two people talking, half of the learners receive a card describing background information and motivation of speaker A, while the other half receives cards with similar information, but about speaker B.

 

2. Divide learners in two groups, according to the character they received. Tell students they ARE these characters now. Assign some questions to get them emotionally involved, such as: ‘Where are you?’; ‘Why do you want to have this conversation?’; ‘Why are you going to talk to THIS particular person?’; ‘Which pieces of information do you expect to get from the other person?’. Have learners discuss their motivations in groups.

 

3. Tell learners they will listen to the conversation and their task is to check if the motivations they predicted are the same in the conversation. Play the recording. Ask for interpretations from the whole class. Ask follow up questions such as: ‘So where are you, actually?’; ‘Why did you choose to talk to this person really?’; ‘What is your real motivation to have this conversation?’.

 

4. Assign first question to develop listening for gist. You could come up with one or use the one in the course book you usually follow. Play the recording. Check answer. Ask follow up questions such as: ‘What was you overall intention while speaking to this person?’; ‘Were you satisfied with the result of your interaction with this person? Why?’.

 

5. Assign other tasks to develop listening for specific information. You could come up with some or use the ones in the course book you usually follow. Play the recording as many times as necessary. Learners compare answers in pairs, justifying it. Check answers. Ask follow up questions such as: ‘What motivated you to say ___?’; ‘Why did you use the word /form ____ ?’.

 

6. After listening, assign tasks that promote interaction between learners and characters, such as: creating a script with an alternate ending, based on the motivation and language learners believe would be more suitable and realistic for this situation; reporting the conversation based on the character’s point of view (gossip to a third party).


If you would like this lesson plan as a PDF, click here