“What’s that?” he said angrily.
It’s getting towards the end of the year now and we’ve done our end of year exams and are now finishing off the term doing more project-based, fun activities. With the younger classes, this often means acting out stories from the coursebooks and inviting parents in to watch. It’s a great opportunity for students to show off their English skills in front of family and friends and the majority of them are looking forward to it.
I admit though, I have one problem with doing drama with EFL students, and that’s that it’s often not dramatic enough. Students concentrate on the words and pronunciation and often miss out the emotion of the text. It’s something I’ve been working on with my class of seven/eight-year-olds during the year and each time they’ve read a story in pairs or groups, they’ve received points for their pronunciation, listening (as they tend to get distracted and start chatting when other groups are performing) and their emotion. It hasn’t worked with all of them, I think some of them are not thespians, but I think that those who have tried to be more dramatic have actually performed better.
So, as we’re getting to the stage of rehearsing plays, here’s a fun activity to warm them up to the idea of adding emotion to their reading…
Write up the following adjectives on the board and ask students to work in teams to order the letters. Give them a time limit and give each team points according to how many they get correct:
With lower levels, I would leave it at the adjectives and move on to the acting stage, but with higher levels you could then ask them to make the adjectives into adverbs for more points.
Give the students a short two-person text, or work together as a class to write one on the board. Then explain that you are going to give each pair an adjective and that they must perform the text in that manner. The other groups have to guess the adjective. It’s a fun activity which gets students laughing and enjoying reading more.
Also, if you have classes which are reluctant to read the text with emotion, give them an example of how it sounds when they read in a dull and emotionless manner and they’ll probably have a laugh at it and then change their minds!