Learning a language

How Can Drama Improve Language Learning? – Language Magazine

Summary

Drama is a naturally expressive and creative medium that is centered around the communication of thoughts and ideas. It seems obvious that the practical and communicative nature of drama is a natural companion to language learning, yet it is seldom a key component of any language curriculum. Drama has a much greater role to play in language teaching than it currently occupies in classrooms around the world. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, …….

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Drama is a naturally expressive and creative medium that is centered around the communication of thoughts and ideas. It seems obvious that the practical and communicative nature of drama is a natural companion to language learning, yet it is seldom a key component of any language curriculum. Drama has a much greater role to play in language teaching than it currently occupies in classrooms around the world. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

A vital component of learning a language is repeated exposure to words and sentence structures in the target language. The actual number of times a learner must be exposed to a new word or structure before retaining it will differ from learner to learner, as this is impacted by their natural abilities as well as the size of their existing vocabulary within the target language. However, what we can say for sure is that repeated exposure to new language is essential in order for that language to be retained by the learner.

Countless language educators worldwide recognize this need and ensure that their students have the opportunity to learn a wide range of words and sentence structures. Unfortunately, having a large vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structures will not facilitate effective communication in another language. This is one of the key downfalls of traditional English language learning, which tends to focus on increasing vocabulary and sentence structures but does not give students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in practice. By failing to do this, we create an illusion of learning. Students might be able to recall all of the new words and sentences they have learned after class, but without having the opportunity to apply what they have learned over a period of time, students are likely to forget much of what they have been taught.

Taking this into consideration, it can be said that there are two major challenges we face when teaching language.

1. How can we make learning more memorable for students?

2. How can we improve students’ functional communication skills?

Drama education can be the solution to these challenges. Through drama education, we can actually improve the existing aspects of language teaching where we are already doing well.

By introducing students to new language through the context of stories, which is the traditional way we have always passed on knowledge, we can create a connection between the learning content and the students. Through drama, we have the opportunity to give students a real-life context for their learning, and by doing this, we can make learning experiences more impactful. By varying the content of these stories in terms of locations, characters, themes, and so on, we can manufacture a wide and varied diet of language input for students to engage with, all within a natural and immersive context. This makes the learning experience more meaningful for students …….

Source: https://www.languagemagazine.com/2021/10/24/how-can-drama-improve-language-learning/