How do you criticize your boss without being fired?

You employ very specific rhetorical strategies, including couching criticism in praise, emphasizing your relatively low-rank, providing opportunities for your boss to end the conversation, and giving concrete, objective reasons for your criticisms. At the same time, you will be controlling your body language and intonation.

The plays in our Integrated Skills through Drama and Short Plays for English Learners provide invaluable experience letting students practice these difficult situations like criticizing a boss or discussing problems with your relationship. As they do so, they learn a wide range of communication skills including using voice and gesture, making appropriate choices in register and word choice, and navigating rhetorical moves in a conversation. And of course, they’re doing in all in the safe and fun environment of the stage.

Rather than focusing on discrete grammar items (“Grammar McNuggets”, as Scott Thornbury puts it) or vocabulary, our plays let students put on a mask, enter an authentic situation, and experiment with natural language to solve problems and achieve objectives. They build confidence to communicate in the real-world. And they participate in an engaging and motivating group project.

Theater Handbook

Coming in 2019!

This teacher’s guide is designed for teachers who want to try drama in their English 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!

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Integrated Skills through Drama Coursebooks

Her Own Worst Enemy by Alice Savage Alphabet Publishing
A serious comedy about choosing a career
Only the Best Intentions by Alice Savage Front Cover
A modern romance between a guy, a girl, and a game (2018 English Language Awards Runner-Up, ESU)
Rising Water by Alice Savage published by Alphabet Publishing
A Stormy Drama about Being Out of Control
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Integrated Skills Through Drama Podcast

Performances of the plays by professional actors and drama students.  These recordings provide one model of how to perform the roles which students can use to shape their own acting choices, whether they chose to imitate or deviate from the actors in the audio. Teachers can play the audio so students can hear the whole play or ask students to record their own performances and compare to this. 

There are two ways to listen:

Stream for free

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on SoundCloud
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher

or wherever you get podcasts.


Purchase complete recordings to download

Rising Water Audio Recording
Rising Water Full Recording
Only the Best Intentions Full Recording
Her Own Worst Enemy Full Recording

Resources for Teacher

  • 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.
  • How to Do Readers Theater 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!
  • Reflecting on Doing Rising Water in Class. Alice wrote a long blog post detailing how she handled a class built around Rising WaterThere’s lots of great information about logistics and the syllabus and more!
  • ISTD Blog Posts All our blog posts tagged “Integrated Skills Through Drama” so you can keep up with the latest resources, free activities, and updates. Or subscribe to our feed or mailing list.
  • Teaching Students the Pragmatics of Honesty An activity that asks students to analyze ways to communicate being direct and honest with other people using a script.
  • Ten Ways to Teach English with a Play 10 teaching ideas from Alice about exploiting plays in the classroom. Click on the link for a series of graphics that make nice classroom posters.
  • 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 fromHer 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. Students learn how to use language to compliment another person, and some models of failure, as well.
  • Wedding Party Simulation Students practice starting, continuing, and ending conversations in the context of a wedding reception. Can be done as a standalone activity or a follow-up to Only the Best Intentions as students imagine themselves at Gigi and Oscar’s wedding.

Wearing Someone Down

Sign up to our mailing list for a free lesson plan that uses the scene from Her Own Worst Enemy that Alice is blogging about. Audio and the script of the scene are included. You also get updates, discounts, and more free resources!

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Here's your free lesson plan on the pragmatics of wearing someone down.

Check it out and let us know how it goes.


The Alphabet Publishing Team

Other Drama and Theater Resources by Alphabet Publishing

Browse all our drama and theater materials here.