“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand” (an old native American proverb)
Why drama in the classroom is important
Do you know that we remember emotionally charged events better and that emotional arousal helps our memory? Well… this means that you can support your student’s memory and you can do that easily – with drama! Drama combines learning with emotions, making your lessons more exciting and enjoyable. As teachers, we know that learning is an active process and we want our students to enhance their knowledge. Drama in the classroom is one way of doing that since students live through different contents and we create room for acting out different scenarios from the real world. What an amazing method to facilitate and support our learner’s learning process!
The incredible effects drama has on our students
In my experience, drama in the classroom makes it possible for students to express themselves, gain self-confidence and make creative choices which help them become better at thinking of new ideas. They practice their communication and social skills, and they are no longer passive listeners– but they are active participants! When I started with drama activities in my classroom my students loved it! They absolutely adore slipping into a role, imagining being in a different world and interacting with each other in a fun and different way. Of course, it is not only fun for them but the best part for us teachers is that they actually learn something – they use their knowledge in action and can show off what they know and can.
Incorporating drama in the classroom
I have come across many different drama actvities so far but the ones I find the best are role-plays. There is a huge number of various role-plays such as ACTION!, Gallery Walk or Escape Rooms. I have tried them all and my students loved them! Take a look at a short description of my favourite three drama activities:
ACTION! is an activity that has students act out concepts in groups or pairs. They can write their own sketch or practice a prepared one on a certain topic, which they then act out in front of the class. This role-play is especially useful for language teachers, since repetition secures knowledge. Your students can create real-life situations where they take different roles as buyers in a shop, asking for directions, or interviewing each other to practice asking questions.
Gallery Walk gives students the possibility to function as experts and they can convey their knowledge to the other students – usually they prepare several posters on their topic which they then present to the class. Learners take on the role of a guide in a museum and lead their peers through the lesson showing posters as paintings.
Escape Rooms can also be used to engage students and enhance their participation. For example, the class can be split into one group which is preparing a mystery and the other one which will solve it. Students can act as detectives, reporters, guides, suspects in a murder mystery novel and much more – the goal is to get them into the spirit of a new and imaginative situation. This activity can be used to practice asking questions and revise tenses or to practice new vocabulary.
I hope you find these activities interesting and that they will motivate you to incorporate drama in your lessons. The best thing is that not only students love them but teachers enjoy them as well since drama can be used by all teachers regardless of their subjects.