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Exploring And Exploiting Drama In The Primary ESL Classroom

Use of poetry as drama

Enables the ESL classroom to explore the linguistic conceptual aspects of the written text without concentrating on the mechanics of language.
Creating drama with poetry is an exciting language learning experience.

Able to develop a sense of awareness of self in the mainstream culture through the dramatic interpretations of the poem. Enables pupils to experiment with non-verbal communicative aspects of language such as: Body language Gestures Facial expressions

Able to experiment with verbal aspects such as:

Intonation Rhythm Stress Slang Idiomatic expressions

Characteristic of poem that suitable for drama

Some poems are mini dramas, often written in dialogue form. They are short and usually have one simple but strong emotional theme.
E.g: Woodpecker in Disguise.

The roles of teacher

Modelling pronunciation, intonations, stress, rhythm and oral expression.

Facilitating comprehension of vocabulary, idioms, cultural aspects and plot. Stimulating interest and conversation and interacting with the pupils.

Establishing an acting workshop atmosphere. Creating a pupil-participatory language learning experiences.

Examples of poems that have been used succesfully in the ESL classroom.
Woodpecker in Disguise, by Grace Taber Hallock. - Recommended for advanced beginner and low intermediate level young children. - E.g: Pupils take turns being the narrator (Woodpecker taps at the apple tree) (says he,)(Little bugs says).

Students portraying the woodpecker practice using body gestures (Woodpecker taps at the door) and asking questions (who is it, sir?)

Example of poem text:

Woodpecker in Disguise By Grace Taher Hallock

Woodpecker taps at the apple tree. "Little bug, open your door," says he. Little bug says, "Who is it, sir?" Woodpecker says, "The carpenter."

2)Teaching strategies.
Teacher provides pupils with the background of the poem. Introduces difficult or unusual vocabulary. Read aloud to the pupils. Pupils discusses it together. The pupils read the poem chorally, and then take turns reading it aloud individually.

Pupils prepare to dramatize the poem by selecting characters, roles, sceneries, lighting and costumes.
Rehearse the dramatization of the poem and discusses the improvisation.

Suggestions for the teachers

Special consideration must be given to appropriateness of the following: - Pupils language level skills - Pupils age - Pupils interest Choose simple categories of poem such as nature and friendship. The ESL teacher can record the dramatization and improvisation.

Thank You