The Importance Of Drama In Teaching English
Numerous drama researchers, using valid language measures, have found significant effects of drama on oral and written language including improved consonant articulation, communication effectiveness, comprehension, vocabulary retention and development, and written and oral language growth. (Catterall, 1998; Galda, 1982; Lunz, 1974; McIntyre, 1957; Norton, 1973; Pate, 1977; Rice, 1971; Rike, 1987, 1984, 1974; Schaffner, 1984; Stewig, 1972; Stewig & McKee, 1980; Stewig & Young, 1978; Wagner, 1998, 1986; Wilkinson, 1970)
To put it simply,
★ Drama helps improve speaking and listening skills
★Drama helps in pronunciation
★Drama helps better reading skills
★Drama helps better writing skills
★Students learn whole chunks of language in a clear context
★Drama helps students maintain a real authentic environment
★Drama creates a need to learn the language
★Realistic goals are set for students
★Drama is an ideal method to introduce differentiation
★Students express themselves creatively
★Students feel less self-conscious
★Students gain confidence in themselves
★Students learn to work as a team
★Students discover other skills
Tips for staging a play
A good way to improve speaking and listening skills is to stage a play with your students. You don’t need any prior experience in theatre but here are a few tips if you are starting out:-
1. Keep it short. A ten-minute production is a bold step, believe me.
3. Demand regular attendance. You won’t get it, but its importance still needs to be emphasised. The cast needs to realise that practice timings need to be adhered to.
4. Start small, and keep the learners in mind. Remember, they will be speaking in a second language, so don’t throw ‘Macbeth’ at them. Reader’s theatre is a good starting point.
5. As far as possible, try to use students who have some knowledge of English. Use Elementary level (or above) students.
6. Always have a dress rehearsal. Insist on seeing costumes during the dress rehearsal. Else, you might be in for a few nasty surprises.
7. Don’t play up the final show. It scares the living daylights out of the students.
8. Use language in the script that you want the students to master. Challenge them, but not too much.
Stuck for playscripts?
I am happy to pass on my playscripts, free of charge. You may adapt them to your liking; I only ask that you inform me when you intend to stage my play and clearly mention the original playwright when you publicise it.
Here’s a link to some playscripts:-
Break a leg!