TOPIC 19. WAYS TO USE MOVEMENT ANDSPEECH TO LIVEN UP FOREIGN LANGUAGELEARNING. THE DRAMATIZATION OFEVERYDAY SITUATIONS, AND THE USE OFSTORIES, CHARACTERS, JOKES, ETC.CREATIVE GROUP- WORK ACTIVITIES.THE TEACHER’S ROLE.
INTRODUCTIONThis unit is about ways to enliven our foreignlanguage classrooms using elements of dramaticperformance. Drama has been used throughouthistory to entertain and educate people, but reallybegan to take hold in classrooms as apedagogical tool in the 20th century with theadvent of new student –centred approaches.The dramatic arts offer a wide range oftechniques for the primary school teacher in whichstudents can participate. These techniques areessential to develop our students’ communicativecompetence practicing the four language skills,and to maintain classroom interest and energy.
Drama -based activities• Body language reinforces oral messages.• Facial expressions (sad, happy, etc.).• Tone of voice e.g. to express surprise.• Miming gestures e.g. different actions.• Total physical response activities.• Dialogues and role plays (with script orimprovised).• And other paralinguistic cues providevaluable contents for language learners.Peter Slade (1954) recommended that teachers use drama to promotethe natural process of communication in the classroom:
Advantages of drama -based activities• Dramatic performance increases student attention andmotivation since make the content of English lessonsmore desirable.• These techniques are essential to develop students’communicative competence practicing the four languageskills, and to maintain classroom interest and energy.• Drama is an important tool for the development ofdifferent areas such as Art, Physical Education,Language and Literature or Foreign Language amongothers.• It’s a powerful instrument for developing social skills andeducation in ethical values due to its strong interpersonaland relational character.• They develop communicative strategies such as non-verbal communication and other paralinguistic cues.
• They help in the creation of a positive learningenvironment.• Students tend to find acting a fun and welcome changefrom other activities.• It provides a nice segue from scripted role –playactivities to improvisation.• It develops students’ imagination and spontaneity.• Performance stresses the importance of prosodicelements (Pronunciation: stress, rhythm and intonation).• Such activities can close the distance between teachersand students.• Students learn new structures in an unconscious waywhile reading, writing, rehearsing and acting thedialogues.Advantages of drama -based activities
Problems to be aware• The classes can become quite noisy and chaotic.• Shy and introverted students may find performing in frontof their classmates overwhelming.• Such activities tend to take a lot of time to organize.• A big space without tables, chairs, etc. is needed.• The decoration has to be created and the costumesfound/ made.• The students and the teacher have to find the music forthe different scenes.• Keeping everyone involved can help avoid disciplineproblems. Everybody has to have a role in theperformance (actors, direction, music, etc.)But even all these things can become importantlearning experiences if we work in a coordinative waywith other areas.
DRAMATIZATION OFEVERYDAY SITUATIONSActivities based on dramatization of everydaysituations are around scenarios (e.g. the supermarket)and dialogues that we hear, see or read frequently in ourcommon life (e.g. the weather, family and friends, leisuretime activities, etc.).We can also plan drama activities dealing with typicalclassroom interactions since nothing is more “everyday”for our students than going to the school.We can also imaging that we are tourists asking forthe time or directions.We should bear in mind our students’ interests suchas pets, music, sports, etc.
Dramatic art techniques• Role plays can be guided ones and free ones. In the firstone the teacher provide the structures to use, thevocabulary, etc. and in the second variety, when thestudents feel confident can create the dialogue on theirown. In role plays the characters adopt a role, within awide range of topics, which they will perform. For examplea group of friends who go to the cinema and they have tobuy the tickets, pop corn, ask for the seat, etc.• Stories and characters. Depending on student’sindividual tastes, we can adapt a story book into a script orthey may find creative fiction more motivating than dailylives. Children also show interest in very imaginativestories, characters and scenarios such as pirates, themoon and so on. We can use the following characterswithin a play: actors, flats characters, main and minorcharacters, round or dynamic characters, scripter,protagonists, antagonists, decoration, set director,costume/ make up artists, music responsible, etc.
• Jokes provide lessons with a bit of humour. They can beused to practice prosodic elements (stress, intonationand rhythm) and also tend to carry significant culturalinformation, but we should take into account that if thejoke is difficult for our students, it becomes humourless.We should select jokes level appropriate for ourstudents, and tasteful. Visual aids and/ or mimic theaction can help to joke comprehension.• Puppet plays. Usually children love puppets. They cancreate own puppets in art class. This is a good techniquefor shy students since they can speak without their facesbeing seen.• Play reading. The purpose of this technique is readingaloud to practice pronunciation and interpretation e.g.monologues, poems, charades, etc. We can select agroup of students to interpret the text in front of theclass.Dramatic art techniques
CREATIVE GROUP WORK ACTIVITIESPairs and group work are ideal for drama activities in theEnglish class. Drama based activities include a wide range oftasks we can work in group e.g. to write or select the dialogues,practicing and rehearsing, to select the music, scenarios, etc.Group work encourages fluency and helps to create apositive classroom atmosphere. Pair works and group workcreate the opportunity for each student to practice their rolesand dialogues many times in a single lesson. It gives them achance to use the target language in a meaningful exchange ofideas and information, enhances student cooperation andprovides natural feedback and motivation to learn.Group work creates a good opportunity for discussion. Whenthe students are working collaboratively on a group project itrequires them to communicate and cooperate, as well as toelect and be involved in other creative roles: script writers,costume design, direction, music, timekeeper, casting director,etc. It is an ideal way for students to take responsibility for theirgroup’s performance.
TEACHER’S ROLE• The teacher as organizer: Drama –based lessons will quicklycollapse into chaos if the activity is not well organized. Routines areparticularly important for classroom management. Confusion andtime wasting often result from inadequate planning. Whenorganizing a drama activity it is important to give very clear andunambiguous instructions. It is a good idea to demonstrate or showthem an example of what is expected from them. We should takeinto account the space, the script, the learners’ role, the music, thecostumes, etc. Every student has to have a role in the performanceto avoid behaviour problems.• The teacher as a prompter facilitates the learningexperiences in a non –intrusive way. This involves givingsuggestions to the students towards the desired outcome. Tochallenge those students who are most capable, as well as showconstant support to more introverted students.• The teacher as participant. There is no reason why ateacher should not participate in activities but obviously he or sheshould avoid dominating the task.• The teacher as a resource. Students have access to theteacher as an assessor when required.
CONCLUSIONNowadays, drama -based activities usuallyform an integral part of our lessons.Drama is a great teaching tool because themany linguistic elements incorporated into adialogue (words, sentences, grammar rules,vocabulary, prosodic elements, etc.) throughrepetition will be memorized more easily.Students will feel a sensation of progress frommore scripted plays to other based onimprovisation by way of these fun activities withthe motivation of making the play as good aspossible and without the awareness of languageitems are being practiced.