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Plays

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Plays is about how to use them in our English lessons

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Plays

  1. 1. … drama is not made of words alone, but of sights and sounds, stillness and motion, noise and silence, relationships and responses. J. I. Sean, 1975 Drama , Stage and Audience What is drama for you?
  2. 2. Drama • However familiar or unfamiliar the world of a tragedy, comedy, farce or melodrama may be, everything that we experience has its source, in the long run, in words.
  3. 3. Tasks: • Think about a play you know well, then: • How important were the words in the play? Could you imagine the play rewritten in another style? • What do you think the relationship is between the text of a play and the performance? • Think about a group of language learners that you are teaching or have taught in the past. Do the quotations given on drama suggest any possible features of plays which could be exploited with your learners?
  4. 4. a) I would if I could but I can´t / b) I see… What´s happened to the fellowship of man, brotherly love? C) No? d) Perhaps I could share the one you have? • Teacher: D´ you have a spare tea bag? • Rutter: No • Teacher: ……………………………………………………………………… • Rutter: No • Teacher:……………………………………………………………………… • Rutter: That´s right. No! • Teacher: But why? • Rutter: Buy you own • Teacher: ………………………………………………………………………… • Rutter: So, what do you want me to do about it? • Teacher: A cup of tea, please? • Rutter: No • Teacher:………………………………………………………………………..
  5. 5. Answer: • What kinds of connections between the lines in the dialogue helped you to put the missing lines in the appropriate places?. • In line 3, Teacher makes a request of Rutter . Why does Teacher say “perhaps” and “could”? Could this request be made in other ways? How would this change the effect? • Teacher says: What´s happened to the fellowship of man, brotherly love? What does he really mean when he says this? • What do you think the relationship between the two characters is?
  6. 6. Discuss: • If you were teaching an extract from a play you could remove certain lines from the dialogue and ask your students to fill the gaps as we have done. • What would your aims be in doing so? Think about your linguistic aims.
  7. 7. A play in performance Costumes Sets Lightining Music Props Gestures
  8. 8. After you have read the two extracts, think about the following questions: What do you think is the setting for each text? What is the relationship between the two characters? With what level of students could you use both texts? How would you exploit these texts in the classroom?
  9. 9. Read the following tasks and activities which are designed to exploit the two texts • Divide the students into pairs. Give them one of the role cards you are given in the handouts. Ask some of the students to perform their roleplay for the other students. While they do so, ask the other students: • A) Where are the two characters? • B) What is the relationship between them? • You can revise the functional area of what you say in English when you first meet someone or try to initiate a conversation with someone you don´t know. You might wish to focus on how this differs depending on the formality of the occasion or the setting. You can also discuss the topic of conversation when you first meet someone and how this differs from country to country
  10. 10. Ask students to study the texts in more detail now, by answering the following questions in pairs or groups • Text A: • How does the conversation in this text begin? What does this suggest about Jerry? • Peter says to Jerry: “I´m sorry, were you talking to me?” What answer would you expect Jerry to give? What does his reply suggest about his thoughts or his character? • When do we usually use the phrase “good old..” What is the effect in this context?
  11. 11. Text B: • In what way does Cecily introduce herself to Gwendolen? Why does she use the word “pray” • What do you think the two women really • feel about each other? • How is the relationship going to develop further?
  12. 12. Compare the two texts by filling in the chart below. Then ask how the texts might differ from ordinary everyday conversation Text A Text B Setting Period Relationship between the characters Type of language used
  13. 13. Task: Optional activity for a class at a higher level • Ask students to look at the text again to find ways in which the different characters try to establish their control or conversational superiority. • Example: Cecily asserts her superiority by saying : “If you wish” when Gwendolen asks to be called by her first name (She implies she herself would rather address Gwendolen more formally).
  14. 14. Lesson plan for Text C. Below is the first half of a lesson plan for using the extract from Hello and Goodbye with a group of intermediate learners. Think about the aim of each activity • Pre-reading activity: • Divide the students into pairs and groups. Ask them to discuss these two questions: • What kinds of things can cause conflict between brothers and sisters? What can bring them closer to each other? • Do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you get on with them? What do you like or dislike about them?
  15. 15. W hile-reading activity: Hand out copies of the text and ask students to read silently. Then, follow this procedure • Assign roles, so that in each pair there is one student taking the part of Hester and another the part of Johnnie, tell them to do it with feeling • Ask the pairs to stand up and read the text aloud, this time sort of acting it out • Get the pairs to change partners, so that students retain the same role. Ask students to read the text again. • Tell students to put the text away and ask them to act out the scene again, supplying words if necessary. • Students improvise an ending to the scene.
  16. 16. Opinions about the lesson plan • Asking students to talk about their own experiences before reading the text is threatening and invasive • Shy or inhibited students get a lot of non-threatening practice in pairs. • The activity can get very noisy. • Students will find improvising relatively easy after reading aloud a number of times. • The teacher doesn´t need to provide any background to the text before the students read it. • Changing partners during the activity confuses students. • The activity is difficult to do with large groups.
  17. 17. Other activities for use with Text C: Below are some activities which could be used with the students after they have read Text C and acted it out. The overall aim is to encourage students to think about the different kinds of meanings that can be communicated by the costumes, sets and acting in a performance of a play. At the same time students would be practising their reading and speaking skills • Activity I: The characters • With a partner, discuss these questions. Use your imagination: • Who are Hester and Johnnie? • What is their relationship? • How do they feel about each other?
  18. 18. What do you think Hester and Johnnie look like? How old are they? How do you think they move around the stage? What kind of gestures do you think they might use? What sort of voices do you think they have? For which one do you have the most sympathy? Why? • Activity 2: The Set • Look at the description of two possible sets for the play. Discuss which one you think provides the background for the dialogue between Hester and Johnnie
  19. 19. A- The stage is empty of furniture except for a kitchen table and four chairs. A single electric bulb hangs above the table, on which there is a jug of fruit squash. The rest of the stage is a jumble-three or four boxes and suitcases have been opened and their contents are all spilling out onto the stage. Piles of old clothes and newspapers litter the stage. Hester is sitting looking at an old photograph album • B- On the stage is an elegant dining table with four chairs. To the right stands a tall lamp with a silk shade, to the left a large plant. • Hester is paging through three leather-bound photo albums spread out on the table
  20. 20. Using plays extracts with lower levels • The following activities can be used to exploit text D with a class of lower intermediate students. Look at the activities and answer the questions: • A- Which one(s) of the activities would you use and why? • B- How would you order the activities to make a coherent lesson plan?Which one(s) could you use before students read the text and which one(s) after students have read the text? • C- What other possible activities could you incorporate into your lesson?
  21. 21. Activity I • Working in pairs, the students read the possible descriptions of Gus and Ben and decide which one they like best. Then, they write the rest of the dialogue between Gus and Ben. • A- Gus and Ben are two brothers, who share the same house. They are getting old now, and cannot see or hear very well. Ben is older than Gus and likes to tell him what to do • B- Gus and Ben work in the same office together. Ben is the boss and likes telling Gus what to do. • C-Gus and Ben are two hired killers who work together. They are nervously waiting for their instructions about who they must kill next. • D- Gus and Ben are two students who share the same room. Gus is very quiet and shy but Ben is very confident.
  22. 22. Activity 2 • The teacher brings three or four packages into the classroom which contain small objects, perhaps objects which are fairly unusual. For variety include an envelope, something wrapped like a gift, something in a carrier bag, etc. The students have to try to guess what is in each package by asking questions about the objects. The teacher is only allowed to provide one-word answers to the questions. Before starting this activity, you may wish to revise any question that the students might find useful, for example: “Where does it come from? And What is it made of?”
  23. 23. Activity 3 • When the students have finished writing the dialogue in activity I , each pair reads it aloud to the class who have to guess which one of the descriptions of Gus and Ben the pair chose before completing the dialogue
  24. 24. Activity4 • We usually say “What?” if we didn´t hear what someone said, or if we are surprised by what someone says. We usually say : What do you mean?” if we don´t really understand what someone means, and we want them to explain more clearly what they mean. How are these two phrases used in the text from the play? Does this tell you anything about the characters or their relationship?
  25. 25. Activity 6 • Working in pairs, try to complete the following text about Gus and Ben. Use your imagination! • Gus and Ben are…………………………………………. • They live…………………………………………………….. • Gus is…………………………………………………………. • Ben is ………………………………………………………….. • One day………………………………………………………. • So……………………………………………………………………

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