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DRAMA TECHNIQUES FOR TEACHING ENGLISH IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

syamsul ma'arif Selasa, Maret 29, 2011 | ,


A.            Introduction

The techniques being discussed in this paper are suggested by Vani Chauhan. The development of these techniques is based on the conviction that using drama to teach English in real communication involving ideas, emotions, feelings appropriateness and adaptability. In short, these techniques are believed to provide teachers with a wider option of learner-centered activities to choose and enhance their efficiency in teaching English.

B.            The Advantages of The Technique
Since the main goal of the language teaching is to develop the students’ skills in communication, drama technique is believed to be a good alternative in teaching for several reasons as follows:
1.             It gives a context for listening and meaningful language production.
2.             It forces the learners to use their language resources and enhances their linguistic abilities.

3.             It provides situations for reading and writing.
4.             It involves learners more positively and actively in the text.
5.             It enables the learners to use what they are learning with pragmatic intent.

C.            The Constraints of Implementation
There are many things to be taken into account before teachers perform this technique for their students in the classroom. Some factors are identified to be the constraints in applying this technique, among others:
1.             The difficulty in selecting a text appropriate in term of the availability of time, space and funds.
2.             The skepticism of colleagues.
3.             The lack of self-confidence on the part of the teachers themselves since they have no experience in it.

D.           Three Drama Techniques Suggested for Teachers to Try

1.             Activity One: Questioning in Role or Hot Seating

This activity involves one of the students (the teacher could also take on the hot seat in case there aren’t any students volunteers) being questioned in a role about their motives, character and attitude to a situation or other people e.t.c. In case the level of the learners questions remain literal, or barely relevant, the teacher can intervene and give lead. This technique operates in a controlled manner so it is very useful for the teacher who is new to drama.

The aims of this activity are:
a.       Comprehension and interpretation of character.
b.      Taking down notes.
c.       Practice in report writing.

Procedure
The class is told that they are newspaper reporters at a press conference to interview the character. The character (a student volunteer) sits in the front, facing the rest of the class and answers the reporters’ questions. The interview runs about 10 minutes. The reporters are not only questioning but also taking notes to write a news story or something else. Another learner can be asked to play the role of a moderator. After the interview is over, the teams of “reporters” work together for writing the report.



Follow up  
The reports are read aloud in class and the learners discuss with the teacher which are the good ones and why. Good reports are put up on the class wall magazine.
Variations
Different learners can volunteer as the character to be interviewed. Later, the class decides which learner gave the best interview and this interview to write the report or the feature article.

2.             Activity Two: Telephone Conversations

Telephone conversations test the learners’ ability to react quickly and, although they can give the answer freely, they have to remember to give appropriate answers. This technique helps the students enhance the speaking-listening skill.

The aims of this activity are:
a.       Being able to sustain a meaningful telephone conversation.
b.      Interpretation character.

Procedure
The class is divided into groups of two learners. The learners sit with their backs to each other so that they can only hear their telephone conversation partner. The learners in each group are to imagine that they are two different characters. A certain situation from the story/ text is taken for which every pair has to build up telephone conversation. You could ask them to discuss another character or some specific event from the text. The teachers can also go beyond the text and give the students a conflicting situation and ask them to solve it as the characters they are role playing.

Follow up 
The conversations can be written down in the note books. The written texts are then corrected collaboratively.

3.             Activity Three: Soliloquy/ Thought Tracking

In this technique, the learner gets into the skin of the character and thinks from his/her point of view. He totally empathizes with the character. It is suggested that literary texts having an omniscient narrator would be more suitable in comparison to pieces of writings/essays giving accounts of personal experiences.

 The aims of this activity are:
a.       Reading comprehension, especially interpretation of text and character.
b.      Writing diary entries, i.e., being able to express personal feelings and thoughts.

Procedure
The class is divided into groups of five or six students. In groups, learners are to select an important point of time in the main character’s life in their text. It could be a time of success, failure, disappointment, loss, rejection, elation, isolation, or struggle, a time when a character has a monologue with himself.

Follow up 
After the representatives of all the groups have performed, the class discusses which were the better selections and performances. It can be consolidated by writing the soliloquies in the form of diary entries in their notebooks.

Variations
The teacher could give a specific point of time in the life of the character to all groups. All the groups could be either given the same occasion or different occasions.

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