Learn to Teach English and Any Other Subject with Drama

Concept by
Marco Fenici

Table of Contents


Drama has multiple uses in education. It addresses and activates bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, linguistic-verbal, musical, as well as interpersonal and intrapersonal learning, resulting in significantly increased student engagement and enjoyment. It also facilitates the development of empathy and critical thinking skills as situations are reflected upon and discussed.

Moreover, practices in drama enrich the teaching and learning of English (TESOL) and other language pedagogies by facilitating the advancement of fluency, helping students to embody language meaning (through movement, mirroring, and emotional catharsis), which results in the acceleration of communication skills.

In this course, participants will experience how drama in education practices can enhance the learning of languages or any subject. Teachers will learn dramatic activities that can be modified and integrated into lesson plans for any language, subject, level, age, or cultural population.

Together, we will utilize the Actor’s Toolbox (Body, Voice, Imagination, Concentration, and Cooperation) to practice and design activities based on the four components of language learning: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Participants will be guided in how to build a safe “theatre ensemble” in the classroom to develop trust and respect for peers, as well as the advanced collaborative skills needed for academia, the professional world, and life.

Drama in education pioneers and their methodologies, such as Dorothy Heathcote’s process drama, Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, and Viola Spolin’s “Theater Games”, will be studied and practiced with a specific focus on elementary, secondary, and adult applications.

Each day we will identify specific learning objectives, and then engage in dramatic activities, games, and improvisational exercises. Participants will be guided through collaborative group projects where everyone will learn how to write and devise scenes, monologues, short plays, and lesson plans by applying the drama methodologies practiced.

The practical application and integration of drama into the language or multi-subject classroom will motivate forums for reflection, analysis, discussion, and transformation as we address each day’s focus questions and fulfill individually identified goals.

Learning outcomes

Participants to the course will learn to:

  • Integrate drama into the language or multi-subject classroom, curriculum, and beyond;
  • Design more imaginative and engaging lesson plans aimed to achieve specific learning objectives;
  • Create a safe “ensemble” environment that will fine-tune group dynamics and energize collaborative group projects;
  • Improve cross-cultural tensions, language barriers and student-teacher communication;
  • Enhance the learning of languages with fun tools for advancing fluency by actively increasing self-confidence and expression.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Course introduction & setting goals

Course introduction

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities using drama for trust and ensemble building.

Setting goals

  • Identification of needs and goals for each participant and relevant populations;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools.

Day 2 – Drama techniques

  • Drama and Communication Skills Methodologies and Theories for Curriclum Integration;
  • Devising Drama from Stories, Improvisation, Forum and Image Theatre Practices (Spolin, Heatcote, and Boal).

Day 3 – Drama for language learning

  • Drama for Language Learning and Mutual Understanding of Cultural, Linguistic, and Individual Differences;
  • Active Listening Skills Training and the YouAnd Game (Introduction to the Meisner Technique).

Day 4 – Building lesson plans

  • Building lesson plans and curricula for specific populations;
  • Collaborative Group Work Methodologies;
  • Dramatic Literature, Acting: The Given Circumstances, Using Art to Write Plays.

Day 5 – Presentations

  • Rehearal, Presentations, and Feedback for Playwrighting/Acting Project.

Day 6 – Course Closure & Excursion

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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