This is our landing page to learn more about our plays for students and other drama activities for ESL students! Looking for ways to do drama in the classroom? Keep reading!
The benefits of having students, particularly ESL students, read and perform scripts are numerous. They include practice with body language and gesture. Doing plays and drama activities in class leads to improved pronunciation and not just at the syllable level. Students start thinking about how to stress words, phrases, and whole sentences. They think about prosody features like intonation, rhythm, and volume instead of just “making the right sound”.
Plays and drama activities also increase ESL students’ awareness of pragmatics and how context changes how we communicate. They provide a safe space to practice as students are playing a role and give opportunities for improvisation and creativity. Finally plays develop, and the development of team work skills as students work together on a group project.
In short, by doing drama students gain tools to speak more effectively and clearly. They learn to express emotion and understand the emotions of others. They become better overall communicators in a variety of situations! That’s why we’ve developed three series of play scripts for students. Click on the series headers or titles to learn more about each one.
Integrated Skills Through Drama: More than Just Plays for Students
Our series of coursebooks designed to teach all four skills while using an original one-act play written for ESL students as input!
The Drama Book: Lesson Plans, Activities, and Scripts for Students
This teacher’s guide is designed for teachers who want to try drama in the classrooms but don’t know where to start. This book contains monologues, sketches, and scripts, as well as activities and teacher support—everything you need to go from drama games and pronunciation activities to a full production!
Original short plays for students written for language learners. Each play highlights a key pragmatics point such as complaining or responding to a false accusation. The plays are highly engaging, but also feature realistic social contexts so students can practice language in authentic situations.
Resources for Putting on a Play
Guides to Doing Plays
- How to Do Readers’ Theatre Reader’s Theater is a great way to practice pronunciation and pragmatics with a minimum of preparation. It’s also a fun way to rehearse a play or get students thinking about communication skills. Here’s a free introduction to reader’s theater and some things to take into consideration as you do it in class!
- Reflections on How to Do a Play in Class. Alice wrote a long blog post detailing how she handled a class built around Rising Water. Lots of great information about logistics and the syllabus and more!
- How to Organize a Mini-Debate Debates are a great way to extend a play or any text, help students analyze the theme and main topics, and practice using persuasive language. Download this free guide to doing quick debates in class.
Drama Activities for the ESL Classroom
- Start a Scene: First Line Generator for Improv or Guided Roleplays: A free online tool to generate lines for a scene
- Improv Storytelling Activity: A classic activity to get students being creative without realizing it!
- Heart to Heart: Drama for Public Speaking: An activity to help students be better public speakers
- Drama games that teach grammar: Kinesthetic grammar activities
- Prosody Practice: The Talk Show: An interview activity that practices prosody
- Improvising a Role Play off a Script: Using a script as a jumping off for an improv
- Play on Feeling: Intonation to Express Attitude: An activity to teach students to show emotions with their voice and body
- Drama Activities for Middle School: Some activities for doing drama in middle school
- 10 Ways to Use Plays in the School Classroom: Great activities that exploit plays for more than just literature
- How to Teach Brutal Honesty with Drama: Teach how to be direct but not mean
- 10 Ways to Use Plays to Teach English: Printable posters with drama activities
- Building Better Role Plays: How to use drama to make role plays better!
- Wearing Someone Down A lesson plan to teach the pragmatics of wearing someone down to persuade them to your point of view, using a scene from Her Own Worst Enemy.
- How to Praise Someone (and how not to). A fun short script from Alice that focuses on strategies for connecting with people through praise.
- Wedding Party Simulation Students practice starting, continuing, and ending conversations in the context of a wedding reception.
- Adding Music to Roleplays
Presentations I’ve Done
- Teaching Pragmatics with Theatre Handout A handout full of drama activities and ideas for structuring a lesson plan around a script. This presentation has been done at TESOL, IATEFL, and Vancouver!
- Speaking Skills and Scripts Slides Slides from a presentation on how drama helps students become aware of pragmatics and nonverbal communication skills. Full of activity ideas!
Pragmatics, Prosody, and other things that start with pr-
- Pragmatics is Everywhere Why teaching pragmatics to ESL students is so important
- Those Students—Deictic Expressions: Helping students grasp referential language with drama
- Teaching Pragmatics with Memes: Using memes to draw awareness to the rules of communication
- Teaching “like” in Class: Like, seriously!
You can also visit our feed of posts tagged “drama” to keep up with the very latest posts on drama activities in the ESL