Published 14th January 2019
The English as a Foreign Language classroom is a melting pot of teachings methods and techniques. The beauty of the EFL classroom is that you have the freedom to try out whatever creative ideas you may have. Anything goes, as long as the result is effective, engaging lessons. That’s why you will often see aspects of other learning subjects in EFL lessons, if they can add value to an English lesson. Drama is one subject which can be very useful for teaching English language learners.
Why use drama in the EFL classroom?
Drama techniques encourage the use of the entire body. In this way, these techniques encourage learners to “think” with their bodies, not only with their minds. It allows learners to be creative in a totally different way and it appeals to more physical learners. It can build confidence in shy learners – learners that are shy to speak in English are given a way to communicate more easily. Finally, it promotes the fact that language is not only about words but also about body language.
Drama techniques to use in the EFL classroom
There are a few ways you can incorporate drama into your English as a Foreign Language classroom.
- Miming words
This is an activity to consolidate meaning and revise vocabulary. All the students and the teacher stand in a circle. The teacher has prepared vocabulary cards with the target language which are in a box in the middle of the circle. The teacher takes a card from the box and returns to her spot in the circle. She reads the word aloud. Then she acts out the meaning of the word. The student on her left must do the same action. The next student on the left must repeat. This continues until all the students have done the teacher’s action for the word. This should be done quite quickly to maintain interest. When the action has gone around the circle, another students chooses a vocabulary card from the box and the activity starts again.
- Miming sentences
Prepare cards beforehand with common sentences or questions. This can be related to a specific scenario, such as making small talk (How do you know Jacky?), travelling (Can you tell me where the bus station is?), or introductions (This is my colleague, John). One student takes a card and must act it out and the other students must guess what it is.
- Miming scenarios
Show your students a video clip of a scenario – two friends chatting in a coffee shop, a husband and wife arguing, a couple of friends laughing together. In pairs they must each choose a participant. They must study that person in the clip – their hand gestures, body language, facial expressions. Once they have watched the clip a few times, the teacher plays just the audio of the clip and the students must mime out their characters while the audio is playing.
Drama is a great way to introduce elements of body language and physical movement into your EFL classrooms. It adds fun to any lesson and can add depth to your students’ learning.