Incorporating theatre techniques in the language classroom


  • Abigail Paul



The following workshop was presented at a Foreign Language and Drama Conference at the University of Reutlingen on July 10, 2015. It outlines the use of improvisational theatre techniques in the foreign language classroom by making parallels between the communicative approach to language learning and improvisational theatre techniques learned in various books read and seminars attended by the author throughout the years in numerous cities, but predominantly with Second City Chicago1, iO Chicago2, Keith Johnstone, and Comedy Sportz3. As Friederike Klippel states, “activities are invented, but we rarely know who invented them. Like games or folk songs they are handed on from teacher to teacher” (Klippel 1985: 1). Similarly improvisational activities morph over time, with each teacher adding his or her own personal flair. The seminar is built predominantly on the games and philosophies as outlined by theatre practitioners Augusto Boal, Viola Spolin and Keith Johnstone, but from the viewpoint of the author. While these activities can be used for a variety of purposes with native and non-native English speakers in a number of areas, the focus in the following is on the second language learner. The generally-accepted understanding of a communicative approach to language learning is that it focuses ...


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