If you can’t say it, take a puppet


  • Angélique Arts King’s College London




Using puppets in language learning is unusual in secondary or higher education but has agreat potential to allow students to develop their language skills and creativity. Shy students can learn to engage in open discussions – a requirement for the oral exam – by speaking through the puppet. I wanted to investigate whether young adult learners are willing to engage in such rather unusual but promising method and record their experiences. This article gives an overview of the approach and summarises the student feedback received. I love to watch puppet shows. And I am a language teacher. Having used hand puppets and shadow puppets in a supplementary school, teaching German to 8 to 9-year-old children, I could immediately see their interest rising when I introduced the puppets. The children were mesmerised, focused and happy to engage in activities. But usually I am teaching German to young adults. I have been a German teacher at King’s College’s Modern Language Centre for 15 years now, and my students are undergrads and postgrads in language courses from A1 to C2 level of the CEFR. I was wondering whether puppets would spark the same interest and engagement in such young adults as it did ...