Alice Savage, author of the forthcoming The Drama Book, has been doing plays with her students for a while now. But she wanted to know if the prosody practice her students have been doing with plays would transfer to other activities.
Her students have been using some of her plays in class. They’ve been focusing in particular on prosody practice (intonation, word stress, rhythm, gesture, and expressions) to express attitude and emotion when they speak. These skills using prosody are essential for effective spoken communication. But they’re only useful if students can use them in other settings.
So Alice decided to have them do a talk show activity (download the activity here). You may have heard of this kind of activity, or done it yourself. So you may prefer your own version.
But what I thought was very clever about Alice’s version was that it linked to her play work. In her version, the students are on a talk show to promote the play they are working on! And of course, a talk show or TV interview is a perfect context for using a broad range of verbal skills and prosody.
So did it work?
Alice says, “It was amazing! They joked, laughed and used emotional intonation beautifully. And as I noticed in the previous course, it felt as though their personalities had emerged.“
Communication skills can transfer from drama work to other contexts, which is very exciting. And as Alice hints, prosody opens up a whole new social world. Students can show warmth or annoyance or amusement as they speak. That may not be important for tourists or business travelers, but for people who want to live, work, and thrive in a foreign country, it’s very important!
This activity was originally posted on Alice’s blog at https://englishendeavors.org/2019/06/22/a-talk-show-simulation-to-promote-a-play-or-movie/