Two weeks ago, the lecture in methodology was taking place as a drama workshop with a special guest from the United Kingdom. Tom Bailey is a drama teacher in many theatres in the UK. He came to Germany in order to present drama as a means of language teaching.
Drama in the language classroom — a seminar. First, Bailey introduced himself with the help of relaxing exercises in order to lose the tension and in some way fear. My colleagues and I we had to walk around the room and say hello to each other. When an eye-contact was established we had to shake hands and tell our names. It was a simple approach, but it helped to build up our confidence.
Then cam the warm up exercises. Everyone must speak in the target language. The teacher must participate to show how willing he/she is to take part. Healthy competition is always useful. People must work in groups with people who they now so that 10 minutes later they could change in groups of people they don’t know. This is a way how their barriers could be broken down nice and slowly.
The third game was about learning new vocabulary. The words that will be used in a game must be introduced ahead of practical usage. They must walk around the room again and concentrate on the information that will be given to them. Whilst students are walking around the leader shouts out the words “Touch something smooth,“ for instance. Consequently, they have to touch something smooth. The topic could also deal with shapes and colours, as well as other, topical matters.
Forth one concentrates on closer observations of another person. In pairs, students must observe everything they can remember from each other for two minutes. Then they must stand back to back and describe their partner. This is a good approach to teach clothing, colours, and accessories.
The fifth, ‘working with mime’ is a play in which one must create a mime whilst other students are standing in a circle . The next one approaches the person in the centre and asks “What are you doing?” Further, the one doing the action thinks of another action he/she wants the other student to perform. This is an excellent way for teaching progressive tenses.
Then we worked with an object. Students are supposed to be seated on the floor in a circle facing each other. Then somebody puts a small object into someone’s hands. The person hasn’t seen the object and is now questioned about the shape, the texture, the weight, the usage of it. This task serves as a nice model for teaching questions and adjectives.
The final, but not the least important is a game with visuals. Someone gives a picture of a person and now everyone has to discuss it: How old is the person? What is their job? What is their family life? What is their personality? Likes; dislikes; hobbies; possible future; etc. This was my favourite exercise, unfortunately, the imagination of my colleagues was not that satisfactory. Nevertheless, I think this is a good method of psychological analysis of the speakers as well.
To sum up, I was quite sceptical in the beginning, but in the end I found some of these ideas quite useful for socializing and getting to know each other. However, these tasks take a lot of time and sometimes equal attention was not given to all of the students. Some of them might like it, but some might feel rather disappointed. I must also note that we were told to praise students for good answers and well done job. Never forget to be humane.