ESL Activities - Language through Drama

One of the tricks to learning any language is to act it. The spoken word is only one part of all communication. If you have a dog and it comes to you to tell you that it's hungry, or in pain, what language does it use? It uses no words, yet you understand it very well. Unspoken communication is a major part of all communication, and we can use this fact to effect by getting students to enact simple sentences to convey an intended feeling. Below are twelve pairs of expressions, each with a feeling to convey. Students should say both expressions in each pair, each time conveying the relevant feeling. But it's no good doing this with students sitting round a table or in their normal positions. Let them get up, stand, walk around, sit on a table, lie down. Leave them free to use their bodies, their hands and arms, their feet and legs, their facial expressions - so that their body language matches the words they are uttering! You might even award some Oscars.

Well-Being, Suffering

  • It's really comfortable, this armchair.
  • If you only knew how much it hurts!

Seriousness, Irony

  • Your continued perseverance will lead you to sure success.
  • My dear, even Shakespeare could not compete with you.

Determination, Lack of Confidence

  • Whatever it costs, we'll get there.
  • I don't have enough experience to make this sale.

Relief, Frustration

  • The pain I had has disappeared like a dream.
  • How people pester you these days!

Anger, Calmness

  • I don't know how I'm controlling myself...but get out of here!
  • We're going to examine the matter calmly.

Generosity, Fear

  • You like it? It's yours.
  • I think it's in the house. I heard a noise downstairs.

Indifference, Indignation

  • It's all the same to me.
  • I'd rather be burned at the stake than impugn his honour.

Pride, Humility

  • I am the master, the supreme master.
  • I'm just a very small cog in a very big wheel.

Bluntness, Hypocrisy

  • Well, I'll tell you frankly, you disappoint me.
  • I didn't say that to offend you.

Triumph, Defeat

  • That's it! I've got my medal!
  • Another refusal. I'm never going to succeed.

Astonishment, Simplicity

  • What! How did you come?
  • Well, it was inevitable.

Encouragement, Consolation

  • Go on, old boy! You'll do it!
  • There, there. Everything will be all right.