Tips on preparing your first ESL Drama lesson
Be clear what you want the children to learn during the lesson. For example colors, body vocabulary, prepositions, group cooperation, trust etc.
Choose appropriate games
Play drama games that reflect your lesson’s objectives. Children learn more by being actively involved and by absorbing ideas and concepts directly so hands-on activities are perfect.
Try and free the children from any traditional classroom restraints (even if it’s for a short time!) and get them up moving, jumping, dancing, exploring the space around them, using their bodies and voices in strange and different ways. Sing songs, and play drama games and you will find it encourages them to get over any initial shyness or embarrassment when speaking in English
Speak loudly , clearly and briefly!
I believe a warm and enthusiastic voice is imperative. You really need to be able to introduce the game and it’s rules quickly with no fuss so that all the children can understand and feel encouraged to join in. Avoid talking for long periods of time as the energy level drops lower and lower and is difficult then to recuperate.
When introducing a new game keep the energy moving, SMILE and use mime and gestures or visual aids like puppets and flashcards to initially captivate the children’s attention. If you see a child’s attention wondering try jumping up and using more active body language .
Try avoid using a monotone voice by changing your rhythm and pitch and always maintain direct eye contact with all of the children (and not just one or two). If you find that the rules of a certain game are complicated and the children haven’t understood it ‘s quicker to repeat the rules in their native language so they can get on with the game itself.
Trial runs of games are a great way to ensure that everyone has understood the rules. Great results come from children who feel considered and not just part of a big group so try and interact with children individually even if it’s a comment or two at the beginning or end of each lesson. Finally remember children need lots of stimulation all the time.
Be present and guide the children during each game to keep it on track. If you see the game going flat or not going according to plan , jump in and make some suggestions or change tactic or if the game really cannot be saved change it altogether – Quickly before energy levels drop! Remember to remain positive with your voice and never let the children see that you are disappointed with the outcome it could block their spontaneity with future games. Praise the children a lot as it builds their self esteem and encourages them to try again.
Note: in Drama there are no wrong answers!
Review and repeat games and songs
New language is never learnt (and remembered) in just one lesson so reviewing new concepts is imperative . Songs are great for reviewing and you will find that children will love to repeat their favorite games again and again.