Monday, May 22, 2006


XI Jornades de Didàctica de la Dramatització - English through Drama

I transferred this from a previous blog which is why the date of posting is later than the event the post announced, sort of like back to the future. (I will soon be in control of this technology).

On Saturday 20th May, from 9.30 a.m. onwards, the CEFIRE are hosting “XI Jornades de Didàctica de la Dramatització” in La Eliana. Further information can be found at:

I will be running a workshop there entitled “English through Drama”. The workshop will be all in English, but it’s not only for English teachers - if you can understand this, you’ll definitely understand what’s happening in the workshop, so come and join us.

Why are drama activities useful for students studying a language? There are many good answers to this question, but perhaps the most important are:
1) Drama activities get students to use their skills and language knowledge in an integrated way, unlike for example grammar activities which often use only one or two structures at a time (something we never do in real life).
2) Drama activities put language use in a real context, one that students can identify with, or find interesting, or funny. This has a strong impact on their motivation to learn.
3) Giving students a role provides them with a mask, and this helps different students in different ways. Shy students feel less threatened as it is not all about them but about their assumed persona. Confident students have an opportunity to shine - the opportunities for humour are many. Weak students can draw on non-language skills in order to communicate successfully, for example with gesture, facial expressions, mime etc…
4) Although in a school situation what generally matters is the syllabus and its assessment, drama activities send students the message that in life outside school what counts most is successful and effective communication, and all the strategies that go with that objective. The British Airways stewardess doesn’t really care if you wrongly used the simple past instead of the present perfect.
5) Drama activities are fun and fun is motivating, as long as it is controlled and students understand that there is a meaningful purpose behind it.

We will do a range of drama activities - including mime, roleplay and improvisation - and see firsthand what the above statements mean in practice. At the end you will have a number of activities, approaches and ideas that can be successfully transferred to most students and most ages. Come!

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