Activity 4 Topic 1

Title

Let’s improvise!

Duration

Approximately 1h per exercise

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to: 

  • Apply their creativity and problem-solving skills, with stronger self-esteem and motivation

  • Understand better themselves and the surrounding world

  • Exploit new opportunities to participate, demonstrate and observe 

  • Use stronger oral linguistic skills

Methodology

Theatre

Required resources

A room to rehearse

Annexes

Annex I. Word Card

Annex II. Exercises on vocabulary & Grammatical Constructions 

Annex III. Exercises on language use and fluency 

Annex IV. Exercises on non-verbal play

Description

Theatre is a unique opportunity to engage students in active learning, stimulating their creativity and problem-solving skills, engaging them cognitively, physically and emotionally. Through theatre, language learning can be more fun and natural, as learners will be able to practice lexical and grammatical aspects in relation to a real-life context.

 

Improvisational theatre is a form of theatre where most or all of the performance is not planned or scripted. Improvisational techniques are not only used in drama training programs for actors, but the skills and processes of improvisation are also trained within other contexts outside the performing arts. This practice is called applied improvisation and is often used in education to develop learners’ communication skills, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork competences.

With theatre exercises the students can rely more on non-verbal communication, in a playful manner.

 

Students work in pairs, at the same time and according to their own capacities. The exercises do not work if performed by a group in front of the class.

General Instructions:

  • Assign a topic and ask each pair of students to work on the vocabulary coming from that theme (e.g. going to the shop, the forest). Topics can vary and also include more scientific subjects. 

  • You can support them with a word card. Annex I. provides an example of word cards with a list of concepts related to the topic “Places of your house”. Thus, two additional exercises are proposed in relation to the word card. We invite teachers to be creative and use the word cards in different ways.

  • Shorter exercises will be repeated several times in a row, changing students’ roles each time

The exercises proposed are meant for practising not for judging!

Below you will find a series of suggested exercises and related examples that should be used as an inspiration to deal with other topics.

Exercises are provided as annexes, in order to be selected autonomously, depending on the context, and enable teachers to print and use them in their classrooms.

Relevant topics for discussion

  • Was it easier for you to communicate by improvising?

  • Did you learn new words/sentences?

  • Would you like to do this activity more often?

  • Would you need additional resources/knowledge to support you in this activity?

Original source

  • Moons, K. (red.) (2015). Duurzaamheid en kunst. Lessen voor de basisschool. Antwerpen: Garant. 

  • Moons, K.  (2007). Theater maken. Een handleiding voor doe-het-zelvers. Antwerpen: Garant.  

 

The approach used at the basis of these exercises was inspired by Keith Johnstone, the founder of improvisation theatre:  Johnstone, K. (1981), Impro. Improvisation and the theatre.  Methuen. 

and: Spolin, V. (1989). Theater game file. Northwestern University Press.

Share stories, photos and videos from your class while using this Activity!

Annex I - Word Cards – an example

Annex II - Vocabulary and Grammatical Constructions

Annex III - Exercises on Language use and fluency

Annex IV - Exercises on non-verbal play