Roleplaying activities in classes can benefit students in many ways. This fact is well known among experts. In such activities, students can practice new words while using English more naturally than in grammar exercises. However, it’s usually hard to organise big roleplaying activities, like entire drama projects (mostly because of not having enough time or money), which is unfortunate, because these projects can be very good for children. They get a chance to meet new friends and improve their self-esteem.
Of course, the lack of time can really be a problem, but drama projects don’t have to be very complicated. All it takes is children that are willing to participate. Even if they’re shy, they can still work off-stage as script writers; as long as they’re working in English, they’ll benefit from the activity.
Picking the drama to stage can be tricky. You can find a huge number of scripts, especially those adapted for English learners, but it’s also possible to have the students write their own play. This is incredibly important and beneficial for their English education, since they’ll be able to express their ideas using vocabulary that they find themselves.
Everyone can get involved. Even those that are still beginners can have roles that require more movement and less speaking. The only requirement is for everyone to feel like they’re participating and having fun.
It’s also important to make the children discuss the project throughout the process. Ask them questions about their characters and the situations they find themselves in during the play. This gives the children an opportunity to become familiar with the vocabulary of their characters.
However, don’t forget that drama projects don’t just involve English. The children have to act instead of just memorizing lines, they have to be comfortable with moving on the stage, and, most importantly, they have to be confident on the stage.
Drama project preparation also gives teachers a chance to “sneak in” some pronunciation practice. Since the atmosphere is more relaxed during rehearsals, students won’t be too embarrassed to practice some parts of pronunciation that they find difficult.
Naturally, many students have trouble memorizing lines, especially in English. A good idea is to not make the students remember their whole text in one rehearsal; instead, rehearse only scene by scene.
Using drama projects in English class can give you the chance to improve students’ pronunciation, vocabulary and even intonation without boring them. Though staging a play isn’t easy, it’s worth it.
Source : Hill, Trev. “Dramatic Results.” English Teaching Professional, March 2016, 30-32.