Sunday, January 18, 2015



  1. Thank you to Madam Yee Bee Choo for sharing the ppt slides.

  2. Dear teachers,
    What are some of the theatrical and drama techniques that you have used in the primary ESL classroom with your pupils? Justify your selection of the respective techniques. Provide further examples for a clearer thought.

    1. The drama or theatre game is a versatile teaching tool that reaches multiple learning styles, content areas, age groups, and levels of language and experiences. Drama and theatre are an ideal strategy for differentiated instruction. Pupils with language difficulties, learning disabilities, or physical or mental disabilities can shine in drama, whereas they often struggle in traditional schooling as I was told. These techniques transform the traditional teacher-pupils relationship from one of authority-recipient to one of shared experience of discovery and creative exploration. The emotional involvement in drama activities promotes a deepening of understanding and improved retention of the information. Teachers could also instill values in life to motivate and enhance pupils’ daily habits and thinking skills.
      Theatrical and drama technique that I usually used is story telling. Some important storytelling techniques include the use of voice (words and sound effects), facial expression and bodily gesture, mime, pace, repetition, rhythm, elaboration, exaggeration and – most of all – engagement with the audience. I always tell stories to my pupils. I displayed a few techniques mention above. My pupils watched, listened and learned. Storytelling techniques can be learned and obtained by practice but there are pupils who were born with the talents. Talents that need to be polishes and squeezes. I just come across one more ways to share the technique with my pupils. Instead of I’m telling the story or the pupils I could share a recorded video of other story tellers.

  3. Most teachers are afraid of using drama activity and they don’t feel confident using the techniques in the class. It is difficult to persuade them to reverse the traditional style. If the teachers can better understand the effectiveness of drama activities, it may become easier for them to accept this methodology.

    Drama is an efficient way to make students communicative and sociable (Royka, 2002). As for me, drama techniques aim to stimulate learners’ imaginations and practice their abilities of communication and listening in an enjoyable process. Thus, learners should be the leader of activities. I would be just like a guide who directs my pupil’s action and helped them not to deviate from the authors’ intents. As soon as teachers have a command of drama techniques, they will find it easy to prepare the actual lesson. Class materials which are often tedious will become alive with drama activities.

    Besides, I make it as a policy that I would not control my pupil’s thoughts and their behaviors. Teacher should be clear about his or her role and what the relationship is between the teachers and the students. Good relationships can make the whole class vigorous. Minimum instructions are necessary for teachers in the class, as the teachers are just directors. Therefore, I give my pupils freedom to make their choices concerning character, situation, and body language. I also followed examples of techniques proposed Guida (1995) which gave me some insights on how teachers use drama activities in English as a Second Language classes. They make a model of pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and oral expression in order to help students to understand vocabulary, idioms and cultural aspects. Besides, I also did not neglect the significance of the assessment. Drama activities are not only for fun but also for learning. Giving evaluations about language accuracy and fluency becomes necessary after the activities. If students easily tend to be distracted, then an effective assessment makes students not only concentrate on others’ performances but also improves their abilities of self-learning. Therefore, it becomes easy for me to manage the class. Through the drama activity, some teachers intend to ignore the student’s grammatical mistakes, because students often feel frustrated when they make errors. But as for me, the purpose of the drama activity is to help pupils to use the language accurately and appropriately. Davies and Pearse (2002) strengthened opinion that evaluation is an essential process of the drama activity. Evaluation builds up student’s confidence to use language effectively rather than to critique the students’ confidence.

    Moreover, I used Video drama is widely used in the English class, which helps, my pupils comprehend new language and its cultural experience. Students can directly experience target language speech through video drama (Hwang, 2005). Group work or task-based learning is encouraged in drama activity. It increases the individual practice and develops students’ autonomy Students will become more engaged in communication and interaction through group work.

    Ganesan Veerappan
    PPG Tesl
    Sem 6

  4. Using theatrical and drama techniques for teaching and learning activity in primary ESL classroom honestly, is something that I did only once or twice a year. The reason is, it just takes too much time to do and it also needs pupils that are committed to do it. However, when I did it, I usually will choose masks technique. The reason I chose the technique are, it is easy, the props are easy to make and it did not cost too much. Masks can easily be googled. Pupils love using mask as they can hide their face and it can give more confidence to them.
    Other techniques are stage management and how the pupils deliver the lines. I want the pupils to use the stage as I want to which is more effective than just standing around and also I would love if the pupils can deliver the lines clearly with the correct pronunciation and intonation. Delivering the line correctly will give their character more style and it helps to make the drama believable and alive.
    I once did The Jungle Book in my classroom where I asked my pupils to clear the middle of the classroom for staging. I provide some the masks for my pupils while some of them volunteer to create themselves. For the drama I divided the pupils into 3 groups of ten each. Asked them to choose the character they want. For the drama, I did the dialogue by adapting the Jungle Book graphic text book and give 1 chapter to each group. This way each pupil will have the chance to act and the play will be different. The result of this activity amaze me and the also my pupils.
    After that we chose the best actor, supporting actor, and director. For me the activity is good and very knowledgeable for my pupils. The problem is, it takes two weeks complete it.

    Mohd Nizam Mohamed
    PPG TESL S6 2015

  5. There are a lot of theatrical and drama techniques that teachers have used in the primary ESL classroom with their pupils. Drama strategies also known as drama techniques or drama conventions which are the everyday tools of the drama teacher. They help to develop enquiry skills, to encourage negotiation, understanding and creativity. They can enhance performance skills such as character development and storytelling and be used across the curriculum to actively involve students in their own learning.
    Storytelling is one of the simplest and perhaps most compelling forms of dramatic and imaginative activity. A good place to start is by telling stories to your pupils and encouraging them to share stories with one another. All of us can become engaging storytellers with a little practice. There may also be members of staff who are particularly skilled at telling stories, or you could invite a professional storyteller into the school. Listen to each other, watch videos of storytelling and encourage the children to identify techniques they could use in their own stories.
    Still images and freeze frames are both a form of tableau. With freeze-frame, the action in a play or scene is frozen, as in a photograph or video frame. Still images, on the other hand, require individuals or groups to invent body-shapes or postures, rather than freeze existing action. Groups can be asked to tell a story through a series of prepared still-images. This can be an effective method for students who are less inclined to improvise dialogue. The still images can also be brought to life through improvisation. Freeze-frames and still images can be usefully combined with Thought Tracking, Forum Theatre or Flashbacks and Flash Forwards.
    Teacher in role (TiR) is an invaluable technique for shaping the dramatic process. Simply put, the teacher assumes a role in relation to the pupils. This may be as a leader, a peer, or a subservient role - whatever is useful in the development of the lesson. The teacher may ask questions of the students, perhaps putting them into role as members of a specific group and encouraging them to hot-seat her in return.

    Uma Mageswari Balakrishnan
    Sem 6

  6. Role-play
    Assuming a role is an essential element in drama. Some theorists see it as intrinsic to all human behaviour whether in games children play 'or roles that adults play each day. Heathcote, (1984) concurs that role-taking is so flexible that when applied in education, it will suit all personalities and teaching circumstances.
    Generally speaking, role-play involves being an imaginary person usually in a hypothetical situation and sometimes in a real one (Venugopal, 1986). It also involves a finite interaction between characters within a range of possibilities.
    Livingstone (1983) sees role-play as a class activity which gives the students the opportunities to practise the language aspects of role-behavior, the actual roles they may need outside the classroom.
    According to Richards (1985), role-play involves a situation in which a setting, participants and a goal problem are described. Participants are to accomplish the task given, drawing on whatever language resources they can.
    From the above definitions, role-play is thus an activity which requires a person to take on a role that is real or imaginary. It involves spontaneous interaction of participants as they attempt to complete a task.
    There is a whole range of role-play activities. It ranges from the simple to the complex, from the structured to the unstructured. Some examples of the types of role-play are socio-drama, sketches, story dramatization, mock interviews, business meetings and even debates.

  7. There are many positive benefits that drama can play in realm of a child's development. Implementing drama within the classroom as a great option for educators. Not only can drama be used and adapted across the curriculum, but it can also serve as a catalyst building individual skills that students can later use in everyday life situations. Drama in the classroom is great because it makes drama active, engages students and makes learning purposeful. Drama can be used across the curriculum and adapted to suit any subject. From acting out skits, to exploring different characters alternative endings and scenarios. Drama promotes critical thinking, so that students can formulate and express their own opinions.

  8. Dramatic techniques are all the devices a playwright uses to represent their ideas. Costume can help to remind pupils that they are "in character". They can design simple costumes: a simple hat, cloak or scarf, king’s crown, etc. like what I did with the year 5 students, making superhero costumes out of old news paper. They are so enthusiastic and end enjoy themselves while doing it. And when they in the suit/ costume of the superheroes they’ve made, “bamm” they’re in character now, even though they’re did not get the script yet.

  9. Susan Holden (1981) adds some definitions as to what drama is and how it provides opportunities for a person to express them. The personal nature of improvisation provides many outlets for self-expression. We even hear that children need to play as an important developmental process. In the ESL/EFL classroom, role-playing is a powerful tool. It teaches cooperation, empathy for others, decision making skills and encourages an exchange of knowledge between the students. These aspects alone make role-playing beneficial because the students are learning from each other. Yet, there are many other positive aspects to the role-playing. Apart from the obvious development of communication skills, it encourages leadership, team work, compromise, authentic listening skills and practice with real life savior-faire. However, it does not stop there. It teaches cooperation, empathy, develops decision making skills, promotes the exchange of knowledge, builds confidence and self-esteem, refines presentation skills, encourages self-acceptance and acceptance of others, features of empowerment, pride in work, responsibility, problem solving, management and organizational skills, begets creativity and imagination.
    A good drama teacher can use the practice with role-playing to contribute to the self-esteem of the students, build their confidence in using the target language (English) as well as develop many of the skills mentioned above which will carry over to real life. It is certain that self-acceptance can be encouraged in subtle ways and acceptance of others. Drama has the potential to empower the students, give them many opportunities to have pride in their work, it teaches them responsibility, problem solving, management and directing proficiency. The many activities of team work force students to develop organizational skills and to think on their feet. These are tools that can be used in all aspects of their lives.
    Maria binti Zainal.
    Semester 6

  10. I have been using masks in Language Arts activities. Some pupils feel very shy performing songs or play. But when they used mask, the problem solved. Besides, the use of mask develops skills - physical, vocal, communicative and collaborative. It also promotes an awareness of how presentational rather than naturalistic means can be used to communicate with, even manipulate an audience / congregation / populace. It can lead to an understanding of how our own and other cultures view the world and search for insight, whether in a spirit of celebration, sanctification or supplication.

  11. Theatrical and drama techniques can be used in the lesson with our pupils. But as a teacher I have to identify my pupils first. When I as a teacher knows well about my pupils’ background and performance it can help me to choose whichever techniques suit to my pupils’ proficiency. As for me the most suitable techniques to be used with my pupils are masks, gesture, and also props techniques. But I can only do the plays only after the UPSR finished for my year 6 pupils and as for my year 5 and year 2 pupils I can do it twice in a year. That is during the English Month and at the end of the year, after the final examination.

    Using masks technique can help me to attract the shy pupils to participate in the plays. But I have to prepare the suitable masks. This is to ensure that it won’t disturb the voice projection and the pupils to do the action or movement. I can simply bought the ready-made masks or prepared the masks with the pupils. It can shows the pupils creativity too.

    The second technique that I can used with my pupils is the gesture. Some of the pupils tend to be a statue when delivering their lines. So here I will be their director and show to them how to do a simple gesture. For example for year 2, to be a woodcutter the pupils need to use the axe to chase the big bad wolf. So the pupils need to use the axe as an action to chase the wolf but not just to hold the axe and say their lines.

    Lastly, the third techniques is props. Pupils will be encourage to see and use all the props. But it will cost the teacher if we are using the new props. So here usually I’ll produce the props with my pupils or just recycle the props by adding more colour or effect to the props and make it looks new and attractive.

    When I used all the three techniques above, I can see that my pupils started to love to do the plays. As the year 2 and year 5 pupils will ask me, when they can do the play again. As a teacher, I will give my pupils award or token to them. This can make the pupils feel appreciated and motivated.

  12. in this case i really things that gesture is the most important because from the gesture the ideas in the story can be delivered well where when the pupils do the gesture correctly , it can give a good impact to the audience. other is by using the masks as to show the character so that they know which character is it.using prop to help in the creation of the story where to give some nice view of the story and also to help in the story line of the story..

  13. Telling stories

    Before telling a story to children for the first time, it is usually advisable to practise how you are going to do this, including for example, mime or actions you plan to use to convey meaning, the way you are going to use your voice, e.g. for different characters or to create surprise or suspense, and the places you are going to pause or ask questions to encourage the children to show their understanding or predict what’s going to happen next. When you tell the story, you need to make sure that everyone can see and hear you and, if you are using a picture book, hold this up and show each illustration slowly round the group. With younger children it is usually best if they can sit on the floor in a semi-circle near you and you may also like to introduce the story with a rhyme to settle the children before you begin (see 6.1). As you tell the story, it is a good idea to maintain frequent eye-contact with the children, in order to help them stay focused and attentive. You also need to give them time to think, look, comment, ask or respond to questions and, if appropriate, encourage them to join in with you as you tell the story. At the end, it is important to invite a personal response, e.g. by asking children if they like the story, or have had similar experiences or feelings to the characters in the story, and be ready to recast or extend their contributions in English as necessary. Above all, it is important to show and share your own enjoyment of the story – it’s catching!

    Planning story-based lessons

    As with other listening and reading activities, it can be helpful to plan story-based lessons following the three stages of before, while and after. If you decide to use a story in an extended way over several lessons, then this is likely to be a cyclical process which starts by creating interest, motivation and attention in the story and predicting what it is about, followed by an initial telling of the story, related activities and follow-up. The cycle can then be extended through a combination of retelling(s) of the story in a variety of ways, interspersed with a series of appropriately selected activities that lead children from an initial, global understanding of the story to using more and more of the language it contains. In some cases, the storytelling cycle may lead to children producing their own versions of the story or dramatizing some aspect of it in a role play.