"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
- Benjamin Franklin
In an ESL (English as Second Language) classroom, drama is an effective method as it allows the teacher to present the target language in an active, communicative and contextualized way. It further enables students to explore the linguistic and conceptual aspects of written text without focusing too much on the mechanics of the language.
Incorporating drama in teaching modalities doesn’t focus solely on acting but also examines the wider aspects of communication. It helps develop the kinesic aspects of communication (facial expressions, movements and gestures), prosodic features (intonation, pitch, voice modulation, pitch, pace and tone of voice), self-expressiveness, spontaneity, creativity and imagination.
We have observed that drama offers community-building opportunities in a classroom where there are students of varying levels of language proficiency. It also helps sensitise these children to other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour because drama requires that they put themselves in somebody else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective ie. it develops empathy.
For students that face multiple hardships at home, drama is fun, unconventional and a much-needed physical release. It creates a fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Drama roles inspire these students to take pride in their performances and encourage them to rely on each other to produce something of value and quality. As a result, their self-esteem and motivation are increased through their achievements and teamwork skills.