It is amazing how people let their creativity flow when they feel free to express themselves in a foreign language, how they enjoy speaking without fearing the mistakes, how they have fun while they absorb new words and phrases. My teachers and I have the chance to observe this phenomenon every time we run the English speaking course ‘Learn English through Drama’. Students think it is pure magic. We know that magic relies on a sturdy training design and a strong methodological framework. Here is the magic explained.
What a student said…
For writing this post I got inspired by a student attending the first of the English summer courses in ‘Learn English through Drama’. In other words, I stole part of the title above from that student’s creativity. After all, creativity is about stealing the best in order to create something new 🙂 That student’s name is Francesca and I would like to quote what she wrote on the dashboard during the English speaking course we are doing in these days in London:
It is fantastic to see how our imagination grows when we are together.
Creativity & Collaborative Learning
I think Francesca spot on. This is exactly what ‘Learn English through Drama’ training format is about: using our imagination and learn together and from the others. More specifically, Francesca’s quotes identifies two important aspects of the English speaking course for learning English through Drama:
- How we take our students from memorising new words and expressions to putting them into use
- How we use the group to facilitate the student’s learning process
From memorisation to creativity
The first aspect is about how ‘Learn English through Drama’ lessons are designed. Students attending our English speaking course can already speak English but they wish to improve their English and fluency, fill the gaps they might have in the grammar and boost their confidence in speaking English. Therefore, we propose new words and expressions to make their English sound as natural as possible. We do that through both drama exercises and grammar games where they are asked to understand the meaning of the new words, then to memorise them, afterwards they are asked to use them creatively. Each step aims at different goals, therefore we need different methodologies to achieve the results expected.
The second aspect is about the group can facilitate the learning process. In Suggestopedia the learning environment is extremely relevant. By environment we mean: how the classroom is settled to accommodate the students, how the teacher welcomes the students and involves them during the lessons, how the teacher facilitates the communication between the participants, how we make the lessons fun and engaging for the students.
The two aspects work together in order to overcome the students’ learning barriers. How is this possible? It is possible because when people (no matter their age) feel comfortable and safe in learning something new, they are ready to express themselves creatively and spontaneously. This is how creativity works and this is the reason why we strongly believe in the training format for learning English through drama.