This summer I was lucky enough to get back in the saddle of teaching English as a second/foreign language to teenagers and adults at East Sussex College. In my twenties I taught ESL and EFL in Turkey and Greece, running language schools over the summer and also working at the British Council running sessions for teachers in how to use drama techniques in the English teaching classroom. Now, some 20 years later, it was interesting to see how many of the drama games that I use on a regular basis can be tweaked to deliver curriculum content, explore vocabulary or practice language structures.
Recently I have also been working with teachers that have many students that have English as a second language. They are eager to use drama techniques in the mainstream classroom to develop the ensemble and develop confidence in speaking, so I have been developing ways to do this.
To follow is a list that is probably preaching to the converted but it does remind us of the power of drama as a medium:
‘Drama in Education’ can achieve the following:
a) Drama is concerned with human behaviour and relationships therefore the social health of the group can improve.
b) Students’ use of language is extended since drama puts students in situations where there is a genuine need to talk.
c) Through drama students can be helped to grasp concepts, solve problems and face issues.
d) Through drama work teachers can get to know their students better, as it asks the students to bring who they are and what they know.