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
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
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)
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
Unfocused, indisciplined, selfish, uninterested.
These are some of the most recurring words on my report cards every semester from kindergarten until high school.
I was that one student who asks too much, gets bored too easily, has short attention span and resides on the edge of weirdness. Thus, most of my teachers simply did not know how to handle me.
I was an artistic kid who broke out in song in the middle of class, doodled my whole notebook to the point there was little space for actual note-taking and was famous for impersonating colleagues and teachers. And did I mention the nonstop singing?
So how come I survived school and became a scholar wannabe myself? Through art.
It took me years and more that few visits to the educational psychologist to figure out that there was nothing wrong with me. I was just different. My head was different. Instead of dealing with one thing at a time, my head was a constant web browser with 15 tabs open! And I was using them all at once!
As soon as I figured that out, a revolution came about: instead of forcing myself to focus on one task for quite some time as my teachers instructed me to do, I started having 4 or 5 tasks in front of me at the same time. I would tackle them in parts, shifting from one to another while intercalating them with doodling, singing, dancing or fiction writing. It took me a little longer, but I started nailing all of my assignments and actually being able to do them all.
Highly creative people are wired that way because creativity is nothing but the connection of previously conceived ideas that were separated, and now are confronted. So my highly creative brain is way more interested in connecting ideas than focusing in acquiring new ones. And by giving it time and space to create between input sessions, it became easier and easier to focus during those periods.
From this very personal experience I have noticed that there are so many different learning styles and I, as a teacher, should try to embrace and celebrate these differences in the classroom. However, it is not unusual to hear teachers complaining about fidgety students in their classrooms. So how can we tackle that situation, then?
Ways to cater for these highly creative beings are: give them space to breathe and process all the information that they are coping with both external and internally; prepare activities that promote critical thinking or a connection between concepts; include art in your classroom, in the form of drawings, fiction writing, poetry writing, dancing/movement or drama games.
I’m sure that after a little Drama, the unfocused, indisciplined, selfish, uninterested humans in your class will give you no drama at all.
Dear ESL Drama Gamers, a promise is a promise!
Here is the second part of the summarized inspiratons IATEFL 2015 provided me.
Lots of artsy love,
ESL Drama Queen
Here is the second part of the series of posts about my favourite talks and workshops throughout the four days of IATEFL 2015 Annual Conference and my personal comments about each of them.
Some of the quotes were heard at events specifically about arts, some of them at talks that had completely different topics. Despite being heterogenous, all of them are relevant to one who is eager to include drama games in ELT in one way or another, for transdisciplinary approaches require transdisciplinary theoretical basis.
A few of them may seem obvious, however I believe that the strongest epiphany one can have is truly noticing for the first time what the eyes failed to see for so long.
I hope they can be as useful and inspiring to you as they were to me. And may you all sail through the rough yet fulfilling, known yet fairly unexplored waters of using art, theatre and creativity in ELT.
Uncovering expertise in coursebook writing
Julie Norton & Heather Buchanan
Bio: University lectures at the University of Leeds and Nottingham and materials writers for Oxford University Press.
Practical constrains – word count, time and spread limit
Creativity constrains – using the right kind of language, linking deadlines with creativity
Following the brief – who are you writing for, coping with changes in briefs during the project
Managing the process”
ESL Drama Queen: When a teacher starts creating his/her own material some of these challenges don’t apply, though some do. For instance, planning the format – how much space on a page is going to be utilized and why – choosing the best language to get maximum effectiveness and managing the time taking to prepare and execute activities. This also applies to developing new games and inserting them in the lesson plan.
Write with someone
Be prepared to take criticism
Think about how other people would use the material
Be self-critical, meticulous, flexible Imagine what it will look like on the page
Manage your time within the day
Be aware of your own principles about teaching and learning and the principles of the project
Write answer key
Start at end point and work your way backwards
Get classroom experience
Be alert for new ideas”
ESL Drama Queen: All of these tips are also applicable when inserting drama games in a lesson plan. The best way to make the best out of a drama game is to sync it to the teaching point of the day and using the game as a means to achieve that goal. In order to do that, the process is very similar to that of writing brand new material: you have to look at the goal you want to achieve in the end of the class and think about each phase you are going to develop in order to get there. Then analyze the games you know and think about which one could help each phase you developed and how they could be included in the lesson. Bear in mind these tips above as well and the lesson will probably work out fine.
Emotional Engagement for adult sudents
Bio: Herbert Puchta holds a PhD in English – with a focus on ELT pedagogy, has been Professor of English at the Teacher Training University in Graz, and is a past President of IATEFL. He is also one of the most influencial authors in YL.
Personalize the content
Tackle emotional inteligence
Allow teacher’s personality to be shown
Make sure the classroom is a safe place
Make activities relevant
Provide the element of surprise
Use music and movement
Make sure students feel included
Provide and ask for meaningful feedback
Allow some thinking time”
“Emotion is part of the process, and not its conterpart; emotions and intelligence go hand in hand (Lazarus and Lazarus)”
“Neuronal connexions grow as the chid gets older: that’s PHYSICAL learning. The brain physically grows when we learn. This growth is more extensive and powerful when emoton is envolved. Emotion here is also physical, it’s adrenaline, dopamine and serotonine, who influence sinapsis. Therefore emotions are like fertilizers for learning. That’s why emotional engagement is key for the learning process. Learning is also a physical process. the brain is an organ of emotion”
“Focused attention (Egbert): it is easier to focus on something that we consider to be relevant”
ESL Drama Queen: All of the above can be successfuly achieved by proposing games in the classroom that connect the teaching point of the day with emotional skills development. In order to allow both language learning and emotional engagement to coexist, I’d reccomend choosing a drama game that targets actors’ emotional development and adapt it in order to include your teaching point during the playing process. This way, the production of that specific piece of language will coexist with the emotional development of the group.
“Emotional engagement is a step further from integration”
ESL Drama Queen: Integration as I see it is external to the participants: I can be part of a group because I feel safe and comfortable with the people in it, but that does not mean I am actively emotionaly engaged to everyone in it or the topics we talk about. Engagement to my mind can only be achieved when I am aware of my own self and I personally make the choice to do, say and feel things in the group.
Authors: Doff, Lazarus and Lazarus, Thaine, Purpura, Zull
Well, this was part 2 of the IATEFL 2015 events to be reported here on ESL Drama Queen.
Stay tuned for more to come the next few days.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Periscope!
And, as usual, have fun with the games!!!!
There is nothing more terrifying than a cold audience.
That horrifying feeling of talking to students and getting….. NOTHING!
Or worse: getting nothing but complaints!
I can still remember – with shivers on my spine – a certain group I once had that no matter what I tried, they remained unsatisfied.
They would constantly complain about everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
The class is too slow. Now it’s too fast. Your accent is too American. There are too many windows in this classroom… The list is endless.
I thought that they would never go for playing games in the classroom since they liked NOTHING about the course: and I was right.
But, as I am a terribly stubborn human being, I decided to insist on it anyway.
I remember the first time I proposed a game to them. They looked at me with a ‘what the hell’ face and, as I insisted, they did it in a very cranky way.
And so it went for the next month: me insisting on the games, they doing it out of obligation and ‘good will’.
I only kept doing it because, honestly, they would complain about anything anyway, so I decided to make the classes a little more lively, even if just for a few moments.
And you know what happened? They complained!
But this time, in English!
And that right there was my reward.
They might not have noticed at the time, but the games were actually helping them improve their fluency – and I could notice!
I just kept saying to myself, ‘They complaining in English now! In ENGLISH!!!!’
So one day I did something sneaky: I recorded the whole class.
Afterwards, I sent them the video via email and asked them to pay attention to how much L1 and how much English they were speaking. And that changed everything.
They still complained about the classroom, my accent, the textbook, the coordination, the duration of the class…………….. But they were happy they were speaking English.
That was one of the most difficult groups I’ve ever had, but of one thing I’m sure: there is nothing a very stubborn teacher who insists on getting their students to learn can’t do!
How can we get students to notice and analyze new grammar structures?
Writing model sentences on the board, using colour coding, asking them to read an example from the textbook… We’ve all done that.
How about asking students to BE the words and try to organize themselves into a sentence?
That’s Wordganize, a fun and effective way to promote active analysis of a grammar structure while fostering group integration, the development of managing skills, real life argumentation and the increase of STT (student talking time) during new language exposition.
It can be used to analyze all sorts of grammar points, from A1 to C2. It is very versatile and gets students moving a little, which is a plus for days in which we have to provide too much input.
As usual, I hope you and your students can benefit from this different way to discover new structures.
Enjoy it and have fun with the games!
Drama Game: Wordganize – Grammar analysis
Language level: all
Aim: Notice and analyze new structures
Material: Words written on paper slips
Timing: 5-7 min
After providing students with some passive input of the topic in the form of a reading or listening activity, tell students they will try to remember a few sentences from the text.
The idea here is to prepare in advance sentences students have just been exposed to during the reading/listening activity, cut the sentence into words or chunks and give each student a piece.
Ask them to close their books and stand up in a line.
Hand out words to each student. They have to either hold the word, clip it to their clothes or stick it to their foreheads – depends on how outgoing your students are.
While they get their words, write on the board some model sentences to help them get through the next phase of the game – since this is not the aim of the activity and they shouldn’t focus on THIS language, but the one on the sentence they have to build.
Tell students they ARE these words now.
They have to organize themselves into a sentence and you CANNOT help.
They can use the language on the board to help organize themselves.
When they think the sentence is correct, they can call you to check it.
If you teach in a small classroom or you have a group that is not really into getting up and moving around, you can ask them to switch places, sitting in the ‘right order’. Another variation is for them to move the pieces of paper around, and hold them up for everyone to see.
Also, if you have few students in class, you can give them either two words per student, or cut the sentence in chucks rather than individual words.
Students start organizing themselves as a group.
At this point, usually students with leadership-inclined personalities will probably take the role of managers.
Observe and interfere as little as possible.
At the end, ask CCQs (Concept Check Questions) to the whole group to raise awareness of the structure you want them to focus on.
(If you are not familiar with CCQs, click here for more information)
Make sure you prepare your CCQs in advance. It is quite challenging to attempt to formulate effective ones on the spot, at least I think so.
You can repeat this game two or three times, asking students to Wordganize themselves into different sentences demonstrating the same grammar topic to provide more practice and cater for students that might not get the idea the first time around.
At the end of this game followed by well-designed CCQs, students should be prepared for controlled and freer practice.
Wordganize is a way to learn a structure through concrete and active means and enables students to get a hold of their own acquisition. All followed by the guidance of the teacher in the form of pre-designed CCQs.
It’s quite effective and fun.
This is the full lesson plan of the game Paper Balls which was part of the great content exposed by Mary Patricia Schnueriger during the workshop Learner-tainment in Geneva. If you want more information about the workshop, click here.
Paper balls is a very lively game that can be used and adapted to cater to a plethora of teaching goals. On this post I will depict some of the uses I came up with after analyzing the original idea from the workshop.
I developed lesson plans with 4 different goals in mind: ice breaker, vocabulary review, grammar practice and fluency practice.
However, if you have found other interesting uses for this game feel free to comment below!
Drama Game: Paper Balls – Vocabulary Review/Practice
Language level: all
Aim: Revisit and personalize previously taught vocabulary to facilitate retention
Material: Paper to make notes
Timing: 7-10 min
Each student gets a piece of paper large enough to be molded into a ball (1/5 of an A4 should suffice)
Students write words or expressions they learned the previous class or previously during that very class on a piece of paper
You can direct students here to write what you want them to practice. Let’s say you have an A1 class and you’d like them to practice vocabulary regarding worklife, you can write on the board
On the other hand, if you have a B2 group, you could write on the board ‘verbs followed by infinitive, gerund or both.
After writing their chosen piece of vocabulary, students make a paper ball with it.
Tell students they are to throw the balls around, so it’s gonna get kinda messy.
Depending on your group profile, you can either ask your students to stand up in a circle and throw the balls at someone across from them (more proactive, outgoing group profiles), or remain seated and throw the balls at anyone they’d like (more introverted, self-conscious group profiles), or even have a ball fight for 10 seconds and when time is over, students read the paper they ended up with (kids, teenagers and very open-minded adults).
Whoever has the paper ball reads it and executes a task. This task can be previously designed by the teacher to enhance language production of the topic to be reviewed/practiced.
For example, the A1 group practicing work-related words can be asked to come up with a TRUE sentence using the word they have (the truth in the sentence enables students to make the idea more memorable). As for the B2 group, they could perhaps come up with a question on the spot using the verb they have as a way to generate discussion and provide students with fast response practice (an ability B level students sometimes lack).
When the teacher sets previous specific goals for this game, it is a great tool to revise and practice vocabulary. However, if the students have no guidelines when they are either writing the words and phrases or elaborating sentences for them later, the chance you get words that are totally unrelated to your teaching point or useless sentences spoken just for the sake of completing the asked task is pretty big. So use it cautiously and runthrough your instructions carefully before applying the game.
Drama Game: Paper Balls – Ice breaker
Language level: all
Aim: Promote group integration and notice students’ previous knowledge
Material: Paper to make notes
Timing: 5-7 min
This is a good alternative for an activity on the very first day of class, so that the group can get to know each other in a lively way and you can also observe their production while the game is going on so that you can figure out what you will be dealing with during the course.
In order for both of these goals to be achieved, this is a no-correction version of the game. I wouldn’t correct a student on the very first moment of the very first class. It could feel rather intimidating, to my mind, and the idea here is to lower everyone’s anxiety and promote bonding amongst everyone in class.
Tell students you will play a game to get to know each other. In this game, everyone will receive a paper ball that they CANNOT open.
Hand out one paper ball with previously written questions to each student.
Write the questions beforehand to save time, incite curiosity and promote a more realistic response from students since they don’t know what the questions will be about.
Also, grade the questions in relation to what you want to observe in terms of production from your students. It could be just personal questions, but it could also be discussion starters to higher levels.
Ask students to stand in a circle and make sure everyone can see each other.
Tell students they will throw the balls at each other once. They can throw at whomever they want (usually they throw to someone directly opposite to them, but if anyone ends up now being thrown at, there’s always going to be a ball left from them. Ask them to go and get it.)
They will then have 30 seconds to talk to someone about the question they got.
After the 30 seconds are over, they throw the balls again and choose a different person to discuss the new question with.
Even is they get a question two or three times, the person they are talking to is never the same, so there is always room for authentic discussion.
Walk around and listen to what they are saying. This is the moment you assess their previous knowledge privately.
Repeat 3 or 4 times and then bring the group back to their original places.
It could be nice to have e brief feedback moment after the game, asking how the students felt, what is hard or easy during this kind of exercise. For higher levels, elicit from stidents the connection between this game and real life. Ask them situations in which they are ‘bombarded’ with questions and have to answer quickly and elicit strategies to perform better under pressure.
By the end of this activity the group should be a lot more integrated and aware of the importance of not only studying the book , but also drawing parallels to real life use of the language they are learning.
Drama Game: Paper Balls – Fluency practice
Language level: from A2 on
Aim: Promote freer practice
Material: Paper to make notes
Timing: 7-10 min
This is a variation of the Ice breaker in order to be used at the end of classes to promote freer practice of the language learned that day.
Since this the goal here is practicing, make sure you allocate some time after the game to promote public correction on things you heard during the game. Don’t forget to make notes as the students play the game.
Tell students you will play a game to practice what you have learned today. In this game, one by one, students will stand up and all the other students will throw them paper balls – either one by one or all at once, depending on your group profile.
Each student gets a piece of paper large enough to be molded into a ball (1/5 of an A4 should suffice)
Students write questions about what they learned previously during that very class on it
Tip: Walk around and try to correct the questions before students throw the balls.
Ask students to throw the questions at the student who is stading.
This targeted student has 1 minute to answer as many questions as possible. Then he/she sits down and it’s someone else’s turn.
If you have large groups, instead of conducting the activity with the whole class, allocate students into smaller groups and have them play the game.
Drama Game: Paper Balls – Grammar Practice – Sentence structure
Language level: all
Aim: Facilitate sentence structure analysis through concrete practice
Material: Paper to make notes
Timing: 5-7 min
This is a good activity to raise awareness to sentence structure and word order. Students should be able to ‘see’ the structure and actively think about it, instead of just passively receiving input from either the teacher or the textbook.
Also, the collaborative analysis of language has proven to foster the information to be more memorable, enhancing learning.
Since students will have to discuss a few things during the game, it would be nice for A1 students to be provided with model sentences to express their opinion. Otherwise, the activity will be either too challenging for them, or the main focus will shift from focusing on structure to struggling with expressing opinion. You could write on the board:
Tell students you will play a game to practice the grammar they just learned. In this game, everyone will receive a paper ball that they CANNOT open.
Hand out one paper ball with previously written words to each student. The idea is that the paper balls contain words that can be arranged in sentences – or you can also use it for adjective order.
Write the words beforehand to save time, incite curiosity and promote a more realistic response from students since they don’t know which sentences they will have to form. Don’t make it too hard, though. Keep them short and simple. Remember, the objective is not for the game to be a challenge, but for student to experience the concrete formation of sentences in English.
Also, grade the questions in relation to what you want to observe in terms of production from your students. It could be question formation for A2 students or inversions to C2 ones.
Ask students to have a paper ball fight for 5 seconds (to mix the words up)
Divide students in small groups and assign them 2 or 3 minutes to try to build a sentence from the paper balls that must be all around by now.
Walk around and listen to what they are saying. This is the moment you help them, make sure they don’t use (much) L1 resorting to the models on the board and foster further analysis of the language.
It could be nice to have e brief feedback moment after the game, asking how the students felt, what is hard or easy during this kind of exercise.
By the end of this activity the group should be more aware of that class’ teaching point and ready for controlled and freer practice.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the ideas.
And as usual, have fun with the games!
„Dramapädagogik ist ein Ansatz, der die Mittel des Theaters zu pädagogischen Zwecken einsetzt. Im Vordergrund steht dabei nicht primär das Ergebnis, nämlich die Produktion eines Theaterstücks, sondern der Lernprozess in allen seinen Dimensionen: physisch, ästhetisch (sinnlich), emotional und kognitiv. «Drama» kommt aus dem Griechischen und heisst «Handlung». Dramapädagogik ist dementsprechend eine Pädagogik, die handlungsbezogenes ganzheitliches Lernen herbeiführt.“
“Drama Pedagogy is an approach that utilizes Theatre for educational purposes. “Drama” comes from the Greek “action”. Result – or presentation – is not the primary goal, but the learning process in all its dimensions: physical, aesthetic (sensual), emotional and cognitive. Drama Pedagogy is therefore a pedagogy that allows acquisition to be practical and empirical”
A promisse of insights. That is the feeling one gets when embarking on the journey that is Dramapädagogik im Sprachunterricht. I have just begun to read it, however I could not wait to share it here with you guys.
The book is in German and, as far as I know, there are no English versions. So I have humbly set myself the task of reading it and summarizing the most interesting parts the author brilliantly exposes.
Elektra Tselikas-Portmann has extensive work as a drama therapist, psychotherapist, drama teacher and supervisor. In Dramapädagogik im Sprachunterricht, she depicts the idea of using Drama Pedagogy in the language classroom by giving the reader reasons why this approach is beneficial, manners to start practicing it, ways to achieve diverse goals with it in the classroom, a few practical exercises and theoretical basis for her thesis.
As mentioned before, I have just started reading it and here I will try to disclosure my impressions of the very first part of the book – which honestly seems very promising.
The author begins with a brief commentary of what Drama Pedagogy – Theaterpädagogik – is: an approach that utilizes theatre as a means to achieve pedagogical goals. This practice does not base itself in presenting a theatrical play, but enabling the dramatic process which students go through via drama games and, therefore, fostering a diverse kind of learning. In this sense, Drama Pedagogy allows participants to acquire knowledge in a more natural way via dramatic practice.
Tselikas also affirms that Drama Pedagogy is a means to include new ideas and creativity in the communication-oriented lesson plan: it provides the classroom activities with lifelike situations and places that the students are studying and allows them to practice and experience those scenarios in a safe and controlled environment before using the language in the ‘real world’.
After this introduction, the reader is presented with a table of contents which includes information about the inborn human susceptibility towards playing and acting – abilities explored by the Drama Pedagogy.
She explains, though, that these processes – although inherent in every human being – are blocked as time passes by rationality and moral values learned in social life. One of the goals of Drama Pedagogy is also to restore these abilities and bring them to the surface once again and through them, enable a free and creative environment in the classroom.
Neither the teacher nor the students should be professional actors in order to benefit from Drama Pedagogy, according to the author: the objective is merely achieving educational goals, and not contributing to training new actors. And to achieve these educational goals, one must build a challenging representation of real life through drama in order to promote the development of the students’ language skills through metaphors, symbols, roles and emotion.
Honestly, isn’t that mouth-watering?
I will keep posting summaries of this book to you guys, so stay tuned!
As usual, have fun and enjoy the games!
It was my Drama teacher at the language school I studied at: also quite young, energetic and somehow adventurous. He was the one that, after two years of helping me with my English, suggested I helped him manage the theatre groups he was responsible for.
At first I thought he was kidding, but then I realized maybe I did have an interest bigger than just learning a language twice a week and rehearsing a theatrical play once a week – maybe I genuinely felt curious and excited about the idea of helping others. And I guess he saw that in me and gave me a chance.
Rehearsals began in March and we were looking after around 30 students ageing from 9 to 15 every week for three hours. My Fridays were never as fun as those. I looked forward to Fridays like those kids did to Christmas!
I learned so much from those two years I spent assisting my former teacher: work ethics, dealing with students, dealing with parents, planning classes, time management, classroom management and – what would become my professional life’s obsession – drama games.
I first came into contact with drama games as they were traditionally meant to be used: as a means for the actors to prepare themselves for rehearsal and presentation. And for a long time I lacked to see the connection between those activities that helped us rehearsal and the language class I had twice a week.
It took one book and a very special person to open my mind to that possibility. The book was Theater Games for Classroom – A Teacher’s Handbook and the very special person is a dear friend that unfortunately is no longer with us. He also had started as a student and then decided to become a teacher – a path I myself would choose later on – and he had figured out the connection between drama games and the classroom. Not only figured out, he perfected it bearing in mind the syllabus, demands and requirements of the school he taught at.
He got so good at it and he was such an inspiration to so many around him, that in a few years he became a teacher trainer. And guess who had figured out she wanted to be a teacher and was his pupil by then? Yes, yours truly. And that was when I got a crash course in drama games in the classroom for the first time.
He gave me the book; he ministered the training course; he gave me a path and a passion. And every time I think about him not being here anymore it saddens me that the world can no longer benefit from his great ideas. Though his legacy endures.
Lots of us lucky enough to have been taken under his wing at the time still work with drama games in the classroom and believe in its effectiveness as a tool to facilitate language learning.
If it hadn’t been for these two very important teachers/colleagues/friends that life was kind enough to have put in my path, who knows if I would be where I am today.
Teachers matter. What we say and do have meaning and can affect our students deeply. So if we affect them, let us affect them affectionately. And as I learned from these two very affectionate teachers: drama games can help us do that.
So once again, see you guys next time and have fun with the games.
(ESL Drama Queen)