How ‘Strategic Interactions’ Can Train Better English Speakers


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A Power Point Production of a panel discussion held at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association 2009 convention in Atlanta, GA under the Panel Title of: "The Political and Social Ramifications of Misunderstanding American English:"

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  • Thank you for posting this slide show. I am interested in Strategic Interactions for ESL and found this most informative and the role play very good for my class.
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How ‘Strategic Interactions’ Can Train Better English Speakers

  1. 1. How ‘Strategic Interactions’ can Train Better English Speakers
  2. 2. Process Drama and Role Play <ul><li>Students and teacher work together out of role to explore an issue </li></ul><ul><li>Together, students explore the problem more deeply </li></ul><ul><li>They improvise the situation and take roles suggested by the situation </li></ul><ul><li>By stepping into another’s shoes, they learn to explore another point of view or ethical position. </li></ul><ul><li>Brian Way, Dorothy Heathcote, Gavin Bolton, Cecily O’Neill in UK, Tony Goode and Jonothan Neelands, Australia and New Zealand, and Patrice Baldwin, Canada </li></ul>
  3. 3. Strategic Interactions <ul><li>Robert Di Pietro has structured an approach called “Strategic Interaction” based upon an Vygotskian/Stanislavskian approach. Following his method, one can restructure role plays found in text book lessons to become much more effective by keeping these few guidelines in mind. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Vygotskian/Stanislavskian <ul><li>A Vygotskian approach follows the findings of the Belorussian psycholinguist, Lev Vygotsky, who encouraged social interactivity in the classroom for second language acquisition. </li></ul><ul><li>The Stanislavski approach (after famed actor/teacher, Constantine Stanislavski) emphasizes the pursuit of psychological objectives to release feeling and action. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Guidelines <ul><li>Make sure that the given circumstances for each player are clear, accessible, and complex enough to excite the feelings of your students, Take time to let your students imagine the “given circumstances” fully. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Guidelines <ul><li>Make sure that the objectives of the two principle characters are in conflict. </li></ul><ul><li>Divide the class into two teams who will work with the principle players to help them to plan strategy to obtain the objective of each principle player. Have them work on different strategies and the language necessary to communicate each strategy effectively. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Guidelines <ul><li>Let the two principles improvise for a set amount of time, usually ten minutes, although it may be longer if the players need it. Video tape the performance. When/if they get stuck, the players can call “time out” and consult again with their team. The team members instruct them further and the players can return to try the new strategy and language use. Alternatively, a new player can replace the old. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Guidelines <ul><li>When the improvisation comes to its natural end, play the video back and review any word use or grammatical error. Have the same or other players replay the improvisation again live (Di Pietro, 1987). </li></ul>
  9. 9. Strategic Interactions in Action <ul><li>THE </li></ul><ul><li>GUN </li></ul>
  10. 10. Role A <ul><li>Role A: You are a college student attending a very good university in Maryland. You are studying pre-med. Although the university is ranked highly in the U.S., the area where the campus is located is now surrounded by less desirable housing and people. In fact, there is a large amount of crime in the areas close to the campus, including drug sales, prostitution, and burglary. You are a good student, have come from a much more quiet, safe, and middle-class environment, and feel fearful of walking through and living in the area. Unfortunately, there is no more room in on campus housing so you have had to rent an apartment in the troubled area and share it with a classmate. Classes started three weeks ago. Some of them are at night. You have had to walk home four times after dark and you know it will be getting darker earlier in the future. Considering the problem of walking home after dark in a rough area and your safety against burglars at the apartment, you have decided to buy a gun, which you have done to protect yourself not only for your walks home at night after class, but also in case some one tries to break into your apartment. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Role B <ul><li>Role B: You are a college student attending a good university in Maryland. You are studying history in preparation to becoming a diplomat. You are sharing an apartment with another student because there is no more room in on campus housing. You like your apartment and your roommate, but, unfortunately, the apartment is in an area that has become a little rough. However, the apartment is close to the university, so it is convenient to class. Classes started three weeks ago and although there has been no problem with walking home or living in the apartment, your apartment mate has talked about getting a gun for protection, “Just in case.” You are terrified of guns, bullets, and violence. You don’t feel safe if there is a gun in the house because you have read so many times about the dangers of having guns around and you feel that if guns are available, they lead to violence…either intentionally or accidentally. On top of that, you feel that guns don’t stop violence, but only lead to more violence. You want to stay in the apartment because it is cheap, you like your roommate, and you think you can deal with the neighborhood and neighbors. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Video of the First Steps
  13. 13. <ul><li>After the improvisation, there is time for discussion of the issue, gaining real student ideas and viewpoints more easily elicited because they have been working with the issues. </li></ul>Reflection
  14. 14. Re-view, re-form, and re-play
  15. 15. Conclusion <ul><li>Strategic interactions can be built from role play ideas found in most text books, but teachers should modify the structure of scenarios and input more complexity of context and interesting objectives in conflict. This keeps all students interacting all of the time, whether in performance mode or in support of their ‘player’. </li></ul>
  16. 16. THE END But, I hope, a new beginning.