Monday, April 23, 2007

Using improv drama in the EFL classroom

By Marc Anthony - Taiwan

I was a drama teacher before I ever entered the language field, and I found that many of the activities I used in drama classes were also quite useful in language classes.

In more advanced classes, I particularly enjoyed introducing improvisation with all its possibilities to my learners. Improvisation is a kind of performance where the "actors" perform without a script, perhaps only with an opening line, a situation, or character roles. It works best in advanced language classes as it requires a great deal of fluidity to be successful.

It should be noted that I use improvisation in the classroom as a learning tool. Some of my learners are familiar with the British and American TV show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", which has skilled comedians performing improvisational sketches. I tell my learners that they do not have to be funny or clever, as the purpose of improv is to accomplish a communicative goal. What is required is careful listening and thoughtful responses.

There are many improv activities. I cannot list them here. Some of the sketches done on on the aforementioned TV show work well. Here is a link to a good list of some others:

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