Partner Country: Latvia                                                        25 April 2019
Level A2
University of Latvia, Visvalža 4a, Rīga
Teacher(s)  Mg. philol. Irina Trofimova

Course aim:
to encourage the senior students’ development of communicative skills in English in a positive and friendly atmosphere with the help of drama elements in order to make them aware of the language use in real-life situations.

Course objectives (skills to be developed)

  • to promote students’ communicative skills in English in a positive and friendly atmosphere in order to make them aware of the language use in real-life situations;

  • to encourage students to use artistic creativity with an emphasis on communication in the learning process;

  • to train students’ pronunciation patterns in terms of tone and intonation;

  • to work on students’ team building.


Group profile

  • 5 people: 2 males and 3 females;

  • Age: 65-82;

  • Mother tongue: Latvian, Russian;

  • Level of the foreign language knowledge: A2;

  • Other relevant data: participants had been attending English language courses at the University of Latvia Senior Club or elsewhere

Skills to be developed and reinforced:

  • language skills: listening, speaking, writing skills;

  • soft skills: communication skills (reading body language); critical thinking (logical thinking, artistic aptitude, willingness to learn, thinking outside the box); positive attitude (confidence, cooperation, enthusiasm); interpersonal skills.

Course specifics

  • Length of classes 10-15 minutes

  • Assessment (if any)                        Positive

  • Anticipated outcome (e.g. a staged play) Theatrical role-play at the Restaurant

  • Teaching and learning methods Drama technique

  • Independent learning (assignments and time expected to spend on them outside the class) Reading and learning poems in English, practising tongue twisters, participating in discussions and making dialogues – at least 30 minutes per day.

  • Teaching/learning aids (any books, handouts, previously written scripts, audio and video resources, etc.)

  1. Almond, M. (2005) Teaching English with Drama. London: Modern English Publishing.

  2. Smirnova I. (2011) Promoting the Development of the Tertiary Level Students’ Communicative Skills in English Through Drama. MA thesis. Riga: University of Latvia.

Course outline

10 short classes for two hours

  • Lesson 1: Introduction + Giving a Compliment (Speaking skills + Memory training)

  • Lesson 2: Warming up (Body awareness + Facial expressions)

  • Lesson 3: Family-group (Team-building + Concentration)

  • Lesson 4: Window effect (Imagination)

  • Lesson 5: Voice variation (Mood + the variety of tone)

  • Lesson 6: Intonation training (Intonation patterns)

  • Lesson 7: Variety of tone (Speech tone and stress)

  • Lesson 8: Memory training (Vocabulary)

  • Lesson 9: Pantomime (Abstract thinking)

  • Lesson 10: Role-play (Communicative skills + Theatrical skills)

Peculiarities of the learners

  • Preferences/interests                 Tongue twisters, intonation training, pantomime, role-plays

  • Barriers to learning                 The lack of certain vocabulary

  • Any other relevant information          All drama activities should be well considered due to the age of the students.

Problem (in the process) → Drama activity: Family-group (counting)

It was important to feel each other and work on personal concentration and intuition. The students did not have good results from the very beginning. It seemed that some of the students did not understand it correctly or did not understand the importance of the task. Finally, the students were willing to be successful, and tried to be more and more attentive and achieved positive results.

  • Problem (in the process) → Drama activity: Window Effect (Imagination and concentration)

The main task of this activity was to establish mutual understanding in the communicative act without words. The students had to pay attention to the logic and consistency of actions and the use of body language which was essential in the communication. Although, not all the students could understand the message correctly, everyone was motivated and enthusiastic in the learning process. All the students used their creativity and showed good artistic skills.

Outcomes 

  • Classroom participation               Active, enthusiastic

  • Level of interaction                            High level

  • Real progress (skills developed) Confidence in the communicative process while using the English language, and motivation to learn English further.

 
Reflection (consolidation on positive/negative outcomes, unsolved problems with suggestions on how to solve them in the future)

It should be marked that during all the classes the students interacted in English and tried to develop their communicative skills. Besides, the students worked hard on their articulation and intonation as well as team building and artistic creativity. As a result, it was observed that the students liked the learning process and were very friendly to each other because they were totally involved in practical communication which was linked with positive attitudes and emotions.
However, it was noticed that sometimes the students had some difficulties in the communicative process in the target language due to the lack of certain vocabulary.
Therefore, it is recommended to work further on the students’ development of communicative skills in English by making dialogues and role-plays, reading short stories and poems and learning some new vocabulary for their specific purposes.

List of videoclip titles with hyperlinks

The presentation of the activities is available here

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