Why should we use theatre, role plays, music or drawingto teach English to children?Sadly, the teaching of English rarely gets students to reach the intendedcurricular objectives and this is patently obvious by the current ignorance on how to usethe target language with confidence, fluency and contemporarily.The traditional way in which English is taught, barely gives the students theopportunity to develop their communicative skills. In the past, teaching used to befocused on grammar, on vocabulary and sometimes, on writing. Although nothingseems to have changed, in recent years, many teachers have recognized the mainpurpose of the language course have to be to attain fluency in spoken English and todevelop communicative skills.For this reason, we consider drama a great method to teach English to children.This technique breaks with the monotony of the conventional English class andfurthermore, children use the language in an immediate context, forcing them to usetheir language resources.Other advantages drama offers are:1. Drama provides contexts for listening as well as meaningful productions.2. Drama offers situations for reading and writing and involves the pupils in apositive and active methodology.3. Drama improvisation gives chances for developing communicative skills inauthentic and dynamic situations. Besides, improvisation leads to a wellemotional state.4. Drama increases motivation and positivism facing English learning.5. Drama improves our self-confidence for producing both oral and writtenmessages.6. Drama, both interactive and funny methodology, promotes cooperative learning.7. Drama improves the learners pronunciation because they want to be understood.8. Drama shows new grammatical structures and provides children with morevocabulary.
9. Drama leads the imagination to the divergent thinking and provides the studentschances to create new stories and dialogues.Quotes:"In terms of improved communication skills, creativity, increased socialawareness, independent thinking, verbalization of opinions, development of valuesand appreciation of the art of drama" (Furness, 1976)."Role playing helps the individual to become more flexible" and "develop a senseof mastery in many situations". "Through role play, L2 learners can experiencemany kinds of situations in which they will use the language; and as they develop asense of mastery in them, they should be able to apply the language more easily tonew situations” (Stern, 1983)."Role play is one of a whole gamut of communicative techniques which developsfluency in language students, which promotes interaction in the classroom, andwhich increases motivation” (Ladousse, 2004).Is there any book which explains specific techniques?1. The choice of the topicThe topic of the activity can be chosen by the students or by the teacher.The advantage of letting pupils choose it is the conviction it will have interestfor them. However, most teachers prefer using another technique which consists inoffering some topics to the pupils and allowing them to vote for one.2. The creation of the dialoguesIn order to create the dialogues, firstly, the teacher needs to look at propersituations and plays according to the level of the learners.After that, he decides whether he will provide the students with the dialogues orif he will give them freedom to create or modify other new ones. It depends on thecognitive demands required by the learners. In this case, learning will be more
significant due to learning by doing and collaborating brings out a higher motivation,confidence and positivism.3. Role playingBefore acting, students can practise the play with their classmates in pairs or ingroups in order to put aside their embarrasment. Besides, working cooperatively offersthe possibility to choose the role closer to the preferences. This is called "exchangingthe roles".Finally, the play is represented when the students consider they are preparedenough.4. Assessmenta. Pupils’ assessmentPupils should be continuously assessed. Getting a high level in drama is trulydifficult so we have to be aware of this and evaluate each student’s progress, not onlythe final result.In this sense, learners’ interaction and learners’ participation are an essential partin drama activities as well as their starting points. It is the responsibility of the teacherto provide them with appropriate tools to take part in the progress of teaching-learning.An effective method may be to correct the errors after the play; otherwise we mightdiscourage children in future activities.Ultimately, the teacher would like everybody to improve the fluency in spokenEnglish and develops skills to communicate with foreign people.b. Teachers’ assessmentThe teacher has to evaluate the development of the activity and he also shouldevaluate his own work, because it is likely not all the activities work as he had expected.For this, he could wonder some questions such as: Do the activities help to develop communicative skills? Is the activity interesting for the pupils?
Are the students motivated? Is the grammar accessible? Have I considered which language is needed to carry out the activity? Have I considered how to deal with diversity? Have I thought about what I might change in the activity?How can we use this general activity to teach English tochildren?Can you mention some specific bibliography or websiteswhere you can find more information about thisquestion?Referenceshttp://iteslj.org/Articles/Boudreault-Drama.htmlhttp://iteslj.org/Techniques/Chauhan-Drama.html