Incorporating drama activities in the EFL classroom
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №10 - 2018
Kiskimbayeva Diana, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Oskolkova Anna, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Speaking is the
productive kind of speech activity, namely: a verbal expression of thoughts and
feelings. The term focuses on the process of speech. The result of speaking is
an oral statement, a text perceived by ear. In direct communication, speaking
is accompanied by a hearing and should be based on the possibilities of
auditory speech perception.
Today secondary schools,
according to methodologists, need the methods of teaching that could not only
qualitatively teach, but first of all, to develop the potential of the
individual. Modern education is aimed at preparing students not only to adapt,
but also to actively master the situation of social change.
Teaching speaking is one
of the most difficult tasks in the process of teaching a foreign language.
Speaking is a broad concept that includes the main types of speech activity:
reading, listening, speaking, dialogue and monologue.
One of the possible ways
to overcome these difficulties may be the development of students '
communication skills in teaching a foreign language on the basis of drama
games, creating appropriate conditions and developing various methods taking
into account the activity-role basis, consistency in teaching foreign
languages. Communication involves speech orientation of the educational
The relevance of the
research is predetermined by teaching speaking in the English lessons as the
integral part of educational process. Òhe development of speaking is due to the goals
that face the modern school, namely-the formation of a multicultural
personality of students who own the system of knowledge about a foreign
language not only at the level of understanding, but also free communication.
Teaching speaking with creative drama activities makes the improvement of
speaking skills in the English language.
Speaking in methodology
is mastering students' ability to express thoughts orally.
V.M. Filatov identifies
the following specific features of speaking as a type of speech activity:
- speaking is always
motivated. In the methodology of teaching foreign language communication it is
necessary to speak about the communicative motivation;
- speaking is always
deliberately, because the statement pursues any purpose;
- speaking is always an
active process, it manifests the attitude of the speakers to the surrounding
reality. It is the activity that provides the initiative speech behavior of the
interlocutor, which is important for achieving the goal of communication.
There are six broad
types of oral communication activities that might be incorporated into
curricula in many fields of study. Most are conducive to either formal or
informal assignments. Some are realistically possible only in smaller classes
or recitation sections, while others are appropriate for large lectures as
On their own, any of
them can help students learn course materials or ways of thinking (speaking to
learn). Incorporated more systematically into a broader curriculum or major,
they can together help move students to become more proficient speakers by the
time they graduate (learning to speak).
1. One-on-One Speaking
(Student-Student or Student-Teacher): Can range from moments punctuating a
lecture, where students are asked to discuss or explain some question or
problem with the person next to them, to formal student conferences with their
2. Small-Group or
Team-Based Oral Work: Smaller-scale settings for discussion, deliberation, and
problem solving. Appropriate for both large lectures and smaller classes and
allows levels of participation not possible in larger groups.
Discussions (Teacher- or Student-Led): Typically less agonistic,
argument-based, and competitive than debate and deliberation but still dialogic
in character. Often times has the quality of creating an atmosphere of
collective, out-loud thinking about some question, idea, problem, text, event,
or artifact. Like deliberation and debate, a good way to encourage active
4. In-Class Debates and
Deliberations: A structured consideration of some issue from two or more points
of view. Debates typically involve participants who argue one side throughout,
while deliberation allows for movement by individuals within the process. Both
feature reason-giving argument. Can be applied to issues of many kinds, from
disputed scientific facts to theories, policy questions, the meaning of a text,
or the quality of an artistic production. Can range from two participants to a
5. Speeches and
Presentations: Classically, the stand-up, podium speech delivered by an
individual from an outline or script. Also includes group presentations or
impromptu speaking. A strong element of monologue, but dialogue can be built in
with question and answer or discussion with the audience afterward.
6. Oral Examinations:
Can take place in the instructor’s office, in small groups, or before a whole
class. Range from one oral question on an otherwise written exam to an oral
defense of a written answer or paper to an entirely oral quiz or examination.
Difficult with very large groups, but an excellent way to determine the depth
and range of student knowledge and to stimulate high levels of preparation .
The term "dramatization"
(derived from buckwheat. "drama" - action, more accurately, the
experience in action). Drama activities are techniques, many of which are based
on techniques used by actors in their training. Through them, students are
given opportunities to use their own personality in creating the material on
which part of the language class is based. They draw on the natural ability of
everyone to imitate, mimic and express themselves through gesture and facial
expression. They draw, too, on students’ imagination and memory, and their
natural capacity to bring to life parts of their past experience that might
never otherwise emerge. They are dramatic because they arouse our interest,
which they do in part by drawing upon the unpredictable power generated when
one person is brought together with others .
Incorporating Drama in the ESL class:
1. Act out the Dialogue
One of the easiest ways
to incorporate drama in the classroom is to have students act out the dialogue
from their textbooks. Simply pair them up, have them choose roles, then work
together to act out the dialogue, figuring out for themselves the “blocking,”
or stage movements. This is effective for a beginning activity of incorporating
drama in the classroom.
2. Perform Reader’s
Another good beginning
exercise is to do Reader’s Theater. Hand out copies of a short or one-act play,
have student choose roles, and then read the play from their seats without
acting it out. However, do encourage them to read dramatically, modeling as
3. Act out the Story
If students are reading
a short story such as “The Chaser,” about the man who buys a “love potion” for
his unrequited love, have students act out the story or part of the story,
working in groups and assigning roles and determining the blocking. This is
particularly effective with “short-shorts”: brief, one-scene story with limited
4. Write the Dialogue
for a Scene
Watch a brief clip of a
movie without the sound on. Have students write the dialogue for it and act it
include a wide range of activities that give students the opportunity to use
real-life language in the classroom. They include the following: mime,
role-play, simulation and improvisation.
A Scripted Play -could
be use for English language teaching, but the teacher should ensure that the
language of the play is within the ability of the students and relevant to
their needs. The theme of the play should be interesting and humorous. The
language of the play should be communicative. The scenes should be short and
the characters should not be too many .
Mime -it is a type of
physical activity in which somebody acts out an idea or a story through
gestures, bodily movement, and facial expressions without the use of words.
Through action, the person communicates his/her ideas to his/her audience. Mime
as a non-verbal representation of an idea or story, through gestures bodily
movement, and facial expression . The aspect of communication emphasized
through miming is non-verbal communication. Many linguists support the use of
mime in language teaching. Other uses of mime in language learning are outline
- it can generate
language use where explanation is required;
- it is a way of
reinforcing memory and recalling language items, by means of visual
- it can be used to
learn and practice vocabulary items.
A role-play - could be
described as an activity in which students are required to play imaginary role
in an imaginary situation. The participants in a role-play are assigned certain
roles which they act out in a given context. The context may be a situation in
the school, family setting, scenes in the market or restaurant, etc. All these
settings provide avenues for students to engage in social interaction and discussion.
A role-play involves an imaginary activity and requires somebody to take on a
role that is imaginary. It also involves spontaneous interaction of the
participants. Teachers can obtain ideas for roles-play from the students’
experiences, books, stories, television program, films, and daily interactions
- Improvisation - can be
described as a play without a script. It as an unscripted, unrehearsed,
spontaneous set of actions in response to minimal directions from a teacher,
usually including statements of whom one is, where one is and what one is doing
. An improvisation involves a spontaneous response and the enactment of an
To carry out the
practical part of our work, we chose a textbook for the fifth grade V. Evans,
J. Dooley, B. Obey, on which we developed dramatic exercises aimed at the
development of English speaking.
It is a task-based
English course of five levels based on the Common European Framework of
In the textbook 138
pages. It consists of 9 units, which include tasks of this type as:
- Use of grammar;
- Speaking and
With regard to written
assignments, the textbook offers students to play a scene on some topics,
provided as a basis for small texts, which are invited to play a scene on roles
or come up with their story, observing the design used in the original text.
In this textbook,
creative task for the development of speaking is presented in a small amount,
so we decided to make these exercises for this textbook.
The first task is based
on the well-known tale of Alexander Pushkin “fisherman and the goldfish”. An
excerpt from which is present in the textbook. The children are encouraged to
role-play is written on motives of the fairy tale. Action was shortened, changed
some moments and ending, the text is adapted for fifth graders. For
installation this scenes needs 4 students: the Man, Wife, Fish and Narrator. As
far as possible or the request of students, you can add a few minor roles,
which will create a "background" scenes. During the action of the
scene in the background will go slides depicting locations: sea, house, Palace,
The second task is based
on the ballad of Robin Hood . Students need to familiarize themselves with the
character Robin Hood, so that they had an idea of who the character was, what
he did, etc. Each student is required to learn one passage from the ballad, and
in the classroom everyone reads aloud his passage on the roles.
The third dramatic
activity is based on the theme "Animals". It was decided to put a
scene on R. Kipling's fairy tale "Elephant". It has also been adapted
for fifth grade students. The content is very different from the original,
written by Kipling. In preparation for the scene includes analysis of roles,
rehearsal of actions and replicas, making costumes and scenery.
It is possible add
characters (for example, Hippo and ostrich) depending on the number of
students. Their replicas are the same replicas of a monkey and a giraffe.
On the topic of weather,
the children are invited to participate in the masquerade clip, where groups of
3-4 student represent different seasons, dressed in the appropriate costume and
that are associated with spring, summer, autumn and winter. Preparation for the
performance also includes several dance movements. In the background during the
song there is a video of the images of the seasons. There are also poems about
The next task is called
“what would Superman do?” This is a great warm-up activity to get the students
thinking about superheroes and what makes them great. Come up with a few
situations. Divide the students into groups and explain that a situation will
be presented and they must ask themselves ‘what would Superman do?”.
"Superman" - the figurative name of the superhero. In this task
students are challenged to invent a superhero, what power he will have, what
will be its name what it will suit. As props used pencils, markers, paper for
children to draw their superhero. At the end, the students will present their
superhero and a plan to solve the problem and save the world. Children are
encouraged to beat these situations and try and come up with the most honorable
and effective way to fix the problem
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the ESL Classroom. Retrieved from https: // busyteacher.org/ 6048-10-methods-to-incorporate-drama-in-the-esl.html
on April 23, 2018.
4. Byrne D. Teaching oral English. New Edition London: Longman, 1986.
5. Dougill J. Drama activities for language
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №10 - 2018