Review ~ Teaching English with Drama

A fun and accessible book that is essential for teachers and support staff in foundation settings and classrooms.
Reviewed for Teflnet by William Peters, Ph.D.

This creative resource provides activities and scene performances, which relate to real-life issues, to help students get in touch with emotions and build self-confidence as they fine-tune the craft of acting. Mr. Almond writes that this book is, “designed more with the secondary school or adult learner in mind, although most of the ideas could easily be used or adapted for primary school teaching” (p.9).

The principal purpose of this book, “is to provide EFL/ESL teachers (although it is relevant to any language teaching) with an accessible collection of drama activities which form a step-by-step guide to putting on a published play with a group of language learners and it aims to demonstrate how this process accurately targets the requirements of a communicative approach to language teaching” (p. 9).

Teaching English with Drama encourages both teacher and student imagination and expression, it helps future teachers integrate drama into the classroom, and introduces students to a variety of genres and strategies including mime, play structure, improvisation, and using drama in the classroom. It’s easy to read and full of practical examples of theoretical concepts, making it a practical resource that would be of considerable interest and value for an instructor who requires enjoyable, fast pace drama activities. However, for the experienced teacher of English, this book holds few surprises, as the experienced instructor would have, in many cases, encountered at various times many of the activates listed. Even with this being the case, it is a welcomed refresher and quick resource guide that would be a welcomed addition to any bookshelf.

The book is organized around two sections, “Why use Drama?”(p.5), and “Exercises” (p.5). Each provide rich and accessible ideas to stimulate drama in the classroom, helping teachers to:

  • use stories as a basis for drama work
  • use poetry as a stimulus for drama
  • teach non-fiction through the use of drama
  • develop role play areas and the drama opportunities they provide

Ideal for busy teachers who wish to encourage their pupils in drama, I’m currently using this book with adults and all the lessons are great. The lesson plans are easy to follow and my students love them! So far I have no reluctant actors- in fact some of the shyest students are coming out of their shells. They especially love “Emotional greetings” (p. 37) and ask to play it every time we have a few minutes before the end of a class.

Fun and accessible, this book is essential for teachers and support staff in foundation settings and classrooms. It shows you how to incorporate key texts into your teaching in a creative and enjoyable way. By expressing themselves physically and emotionally and by exploring a range of possibilities, students gain self-confidence and a greater awareness of the feelings and experiences of others. After engaging in the activities in this text, students are more confident and successful communicators, who look forward to the next opportunity to converse, present and perform.

Reviewed by William Peters, Ph.D. for Teflnet November 2009
Department of English Education, Hannam University, Daejeon, South Korea

One Comment

  • ahmed says:

    this is a wonderful teaching

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