We can make it hard: What dialogue? Which story? How do I find a suitable text? What skills do I need to pre-teach? What characters? How do I motivate the learners to do drama?
Or we can make it easy. Put your phone voice recorder on. Start a story, pause and have your learners fill your gaps.
Get on your story-telling hat. Remember you will need to include what you would in any good story:
You can ask questions like:
What time? This year? Last year? Many years ago?...
Where? In a city? In a forest? On an island? On the moon? On a boat?...
What does it look like? What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell?
Who are the people? You students? You and ….? A hero? A bad guy? Your teacher? Your friends? Someone famous – who?
What do they look like? Tall, short, huge, very small, beautiful, handsome?
What are they like? Excited, nervous, happy, sad, angry, upset, very happy, contented, brave, adventurous?
Why are they there? Adventure, excitement, a party, revenge?
Set the class a task to ask questions about the story with one another so they all know it. Set them a further task to describe the voice, body and manner of each character. While they are doing this, you transcribe the story, edit it for language and put it on screen.
Set roles of narrator and characters. Divide the class into groups of suitable size, and let them practice the dialogue.
Stop the class, and do a drill in which the students say the lines slowly, quickly, loudly, happily, sadly, tragically, seriously, very quietly…
Follow this with saying the lines and walking, standing, sitting, moving any way they want to.
Give the groups a final practice, then a front of class performance with huge clapping after each group performs. Ask for positive comments about the performance.
It can be hard, or it can be easy, but if you let your students co-create the drama, the characters, the plot, the outcome it is dramatically more interesting :) :)
There are major benefits in doing drama. Let me list them here and wish you luck on your next adventure :)
1. Enjoyment and confidence
Students enjoy trying on another persona
2. Language & communication skills
Integrates verbal and non verbal aspects of communication, bringing balance into learning.
Verbally, through facial expressions and body language
Language in context is memorable
Multiple contexts allow multiple language functions
3. Encourages students to co-operate
In the interaction of belonging and being part of an outcome focused group
Group cohesion to solve problems
4. Helps students to understand the world around them
A range of different themes, real and imaginary situations, broadens aspects of the world that they learn to think about
5. Develops emotional intelligence
Students become better able to understand their emotions and develop empathy with others.
Group and social skills
Fosters self-awareness (and awareness of others), self-esteem and confidence; and through this, motivation is developed.
6. Nurtures friendships
Laugh, learn and grow together