Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Educational Activities: Improving speaking abilities ESL College Students School of Languages, Univ. Guayaquil 2010

Developing speaking skills in ESL Beginner College Level Students- Large Groups (65 students - 1 teacher) - Research September 2010. School of Languages, Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America.
Skills: Improve speaking abilities. Reinforce grammar structure (past tense, Wh and affirmative and negative questions

Students who entered First College level at the School of Languages have a good English proficiency level, they are good in basic grammar, they follow patterns and structures. They have a good vocabulary background and pronunciation. They can understand some basic orders in English and they can understand the teacher´s instructions, but when it comes to follow an English conversation with an English speaking person or an ESL, there is no proficiency and understanding. Considering all these aspects, I am giving an extra emphasis on improving their speaking abilities.

Advantages of my students: Enthusiasm, desire to learn
Disadvantages: fear to talk in public, failure,

I have worked First Course with the Book American File 1a/b from Oxford. One interesting activity to develop the speaking abilities on my students was a story from a graded suspense reader from the book "Murder in a Mansion".
Firstly, I let the students listened to the tape with the books closed, some important vocabulary was explained and pronounced, then they worked in groups of seven to find out who the murder was and they answered the questions from the book. For practice, they read they listened to the story at home and for the next class they read it in groups and their classmates checked on pronunciation errors.
As this story generated suspense on the students, my next step was to act out the story. The groups were chosen randomly and they had a week to decide on their characters, lines and costumes. I was thrilled to listen to extraordinary actors and actresses, great costumes and structures and phrases were easy to repeat, learn and understand.
Observations:This activity took me a week to finish, but it helped students to feel comfortable with their English level and improved peer interaction. I also noticed that some quiet students did outstanding presentations and they felt very comfortable with their voice, accent and group work.a

Beneath all the fun, the students were practicing fluency, grammar structures and felt comfortable and proud with their knowledge. I only grade my students on their own effort, fluency, but not on pronunciation

This is a great activity to make students get involve in the language, improve their fluency, peer interaction, creativity, independence and social skills. I was extremely excited about my students´presentations.


Actividad: Desarrollo de las destrezas auditivas y orales en alumnos de Primer Curso de la Universidad de Guayaquil, Escuela de Lenguas y Linguisticas, Guayaquil, Ecuador, America del Sur.

Los alumnos que ingresan a la Escuela de Lenguas y Linguisticas de la Universidad de Guayaquil, lo hacen con el proposito de preparase para ser los futuros docentes en Lenguas Extranjeras. Desde el primer año de estudios, los alumnos toman 15 horas semanales de Inglés. En su mayoria los alumnos que ingresar al PrimerCurso poseen un buen conocimiento de la gramatica inglesa, tienen un vocabulario medio. Pueden comprender y responder a ciertas comando en Ingles que la profesora les indique perfectamente. Las areas que necesitan ser desarrolladas y reorzadas en los estudiantes son sus habilidades orales y auditivas en el idioma. Facilmente pueden comprender las instrucciones del docente y mantener una pequeña conversacion a nivel basico con respuestas cortas y directas y es aqui donde los docentes de lenguas extranjeras necesitamos reforzar las areas auditivas y orales.
Yo he trtbajado el Primer Curso con el libro American File a/b editado para desarrollar y mejorar las cuatro habilidades en estudiantes de ingles como segunda lengua.
La lectura de "Muder in a Mansion" fue dramatizada por los alumnos en grupos de 6 alumnos, siguiendo los procesos de

Las dramatizaciones


First Course English 100 - College Level Universidad de Guayaquil - School of Languages

The American Culture 2009.

POSTERS - 1st Course Activity.
Skills: Improve the speaking abilities and enrich the  vocabulary.

AMERICAN HOLIDAYS. !!Feel part of the American Culture.

To make students feel close to the American culture, I found on internet a very interesting and especial information about holidays. For the last two years my students have worked these activities with the students to improve their speaking abilities.
The information is in As soon as they have their assigned topic, they get in their group, they distribute activities within members, create the poster, sometimes they paste the holiday information in the middle of the poster and take turns to give their oral speech. I believe this is a great activity for big classes because there are so many traditional and cultural holidays that I have enough information for all my 60 to 70 students.
I usually schedule the oral presentation on a Friday as it takes me 90 minutes to listen to the assigned group, classmates questions and my feedback on this holiday and how different or similar it is with holidays in our country.

This is an excellent activity to reinforce group work, improve peer interaction, creativity and oral skills. I do not grade my students on grammar or pronunciation. I give a grade for group interaction, responsiblity and meaning of some important vocabulary. I do not stress on grammar issues or pronunciation because this is not a drill, this is understanding, sharing ideas and being able to answer some direct questions from peers and teacher.

Students are very creative with their posters. The information is placed on the Main Floor a week ahead the announced holiday for students to know about it.

Article form Tesjl. Credit.

Becoming a Cultural Insider: How Holidays Can Help ESL Students' Acculturation and Language Learning

Natasha Lvovich
nlvovich [at]
Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York (USA)


I wrote this essay while teaching the lower ESL class of the Kingsborough Community College ESL Intensive Program, where students become part of the block curriculum, unified by the theme, Discovering the Self between Cultures. In this reading and writing class, students read and discussed authentic literature in relation to the topic (The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and Two years in the Melting Pot by Liu Zongren). They also wrote essays about their own immigrant inter-cultural and language learning experiences in connection with their readings and compiling autobiographical books out of their essays as their term project.One of the essay topics in this class, related to Liu Zongren's book, invited the students to think about their attitudes to American holidays as part of their acculturation process. Preparing the topic for my students and working on the pre-writing discussions, I realized that along with them, I had something important to say. Teaching writing as a process and guiding my students through multiple drafts, I followed my own feeling and thinking on paper, which led me to writing this essay. Writing this essay along with my students allowed me to articulate and discover an aspect of my own acculturation into the U.S. as well as to become a real example for my students. It is with a great deal of joy that we shared our immigrant and writing experiences.

Two Years Outside/Inside the Melting Pot

In his book, Two years in the Melting Pot, Liu Zongren, a Chinese journalist on a visit to the US, discusses, among other things, his struggle to acculturate to life in the U.S. Despite his strong motivation to learn the language and the culture, he finds himself in a situation of emotional torment and deep depression. He longs for home and for his family and often takes a defensive position about his own culture and country, sometimes demonstrating some sort of Chinese "cultural supremacy."During his stay in the U.S., Liu was able to gain the knowledge of the American culture and to acquire fluency in English. Through his intellectual and social explorations, his sharp observations of the American society, and his ambition to return to China as a more educated man, Liu's goals to penetrate into American life have been achieved. Yet, part of him felt unfulfilled and emotionally drained. Yes, he won the intellectual battle, but lost the emotional battle. His book shows, from the first chapter to the last, that he has remained an outsider in his host country.
But did Liu Zongren really need to emotionally adjust to American culture and society? Did he need to develop an American identity? As a guest and an outsider, he did his best to take the new culture and language in, but this type of acculturation was more instrumental than integrative, more intellectual than affective.
One of the most visible manifestations of culture is its celebration of holidays. In his book, Liu describes his several attempts to relate to American traditions and holidays. He is appalled by the triumph of wealth and by the American abundance of goods, which he considers a waste. He is appalled by the exaggerated generosity shared by all Americans at Christmas. At Christmas parties, he feels more alienated than ever, and more than ever he longs for the sweet and familiar rituals of the Chinese Spring Festival. His learning about real holidays and people has stopped at an emotional threshold.
But what would have happened if Liu Zongren had come to the United States for good, as thousands of other Chinese? How would his stance have changed if he had attempted to turn himself--emotionally, not intellectually-- into a cultural insider? How would he have experienced American holidays and how would American holidays have helped him in this process?
When immigrants arrive in the US, they long for home and eventually look for a sense of belonging to their new country. This process of accepting and being accepted is often a struggle, resembling an emotional roller coaster. However, it needs to be completed for the sake of their emotional health. In order to do that, they need to build not only an intellectual, but an emotional connection to their new land. And, like Liu, they start with the intellectual one. Reading, learning and socializing marks the beginning of this process.

Holidays: A Step to Acculturation

Holidays are very important for us: they "glue" us to people around us by being a common experience, a socially meaningful historical event or a cultural/religious celebration. It is our common territory, the ground we all stand on. When we see people around us celebrating the same event, by shopping for their holiday dinner or for gifts, we feel secure and connected.But what happens if we leave our history and cultural traditions behind before we acquire a set of new ones and we find ourselves in a cultural and social vacuum. When we immigrate to a new country, our body is physically transported, but how about our soul? It seems to be wandering in-between the worlds, looking for something to hook to. This hook, in my experience, can be a holiday--a cultural event that would make the click happen. A holiday can create the intellectual context for learning, and it is through this learning that the emotional integration might occur.
Striving for cultural and emotional meaning, for the sense of feeling connected in order to survive emotionally, to fill in the void brought about by landing in a different country, I tried to become part of this country by joining its holidays.
The first year in the United States, when Thanksgiving was approaching, I decided to buy a turkey and to celebrate like everybody else. It seemed to me that I would "feel" the connection to people and to this land "stomachally," by stuffing myself with turkey (a delicacy back in Russia). However, the turkey and the cranberry sauce shared with a couple of our Russian friends did not bring about a miracle. I left the table physically stuffed, yet strangely empty.
I was teaching "survival English" to new immigrants in a business school ESL program. My instinct as a teacher was to use the material close to the cultural reality both my students and I were trying to embrace. So I found some very simple reading about the history of Thanksgiving (perhaps in my daughter's textbook) and brought it to class with the intention of teaching it to my students. We learned about American culture that first year of my teaching in the U.S. as a distant, purely academic, "textbookish" content. We did some vocabulary exercises and exchanged a few turkey recipes. The words were barren of cultural and emotional meaning.
There is no better learning than teaching--and starting from that first year, I would enrich my teaching materials about Thanksgiving and expand the assignments to the students. Every year my students and I learned about the Pilgrims and the Indians, about Plymouth and New England, examining the map, role-playing, and discussing European and American history. Gradually, the feast of corn, turkey, and cranberry acquired its historical, geographic, and socio-economic meaning. The etymology of the word "turkey" would become a cross-linguistic and cross-cultural adventure, a glance into my classroom languages and history, and an arena for anthropological and linguistic research. Sometimes my students would throw a multicultural Thanksgiving party, where, along with the traditional American turkey and vegetables, a variety of Eastern-European, Caribbean, and Asian dishes would be displayed and enjoyed.
Every year, along with my students or on my own, I discovered more and more about American history and of the history of native Americans. With my traveling around the country, my reading of American literature, meeting with real people, trying out real food, I was learning more and more about American history. Every year the Thanksgiving story helped me to better articulate the beautiful myth reflecting the historical reality.
With time and learning, I felt I belonged to that myth as well as other immigrants, following the Pilgrims. The more I learned about American Indians, the more I felt detached from the image I had formed of them back in Russia, reading Cooper. Gradually the image of brave but wild warriors got substituted by the image of the real masters of this land, who disappeared with their rich mysterious culture, only to give people like me their hospitality: turkey, corn and cranberries. As an outsider, I felt the story was an attempt to cover what really happened after the turkey had been eaten, but as an insider, I was grateful for the happy ending of the story, because this legend helped perpetuate the American hospitality and openness to newcomers, which I myself had benefited from. I also felt that the story and the celebration, despite its Hollywood-like plot, makes Americans feel proud about their historical beginning, which was paradoxically someone else's ending. I strangely felt American: simultaneously feeling both like the Pilgrims and the Indians.
I thought about the people whom I wanted to thank for the food in my mouth that I had not earned. I thought about the Jewish organizations and charity. I thought about the devoted immigrant activists who helped us during this transition. I thought about my parents' friends who had offered us hospitality during the first weeks in the country. I thought about the people who had trusted my potential and had given me work. I thought about the people who had helped with information and advice. Thank you Nick, Flora, Ezia, Paolo, Mario, Olga, Michael, Jeptha, Marc, Frank, Bob, Tara, and Paula. Thank you God.
Thanksgiving has become MY holiday in essence and meaning, just like what it means to most American families: the connection to the past, to the present, to the roots, and to each other. This is the connection we strive for. It makes us feel at home, in a familiar environment rather than an alien one, and which creates the feeling of security and of peace--an absolutely necessary emotional foundation of well-being. It is this sense of sitting at a dinner table with our loved ones, lighting the candles, cooking an apple pie, drinking tea and smelling the familiar kitchen smells that we had been brought to life with, raised with, which come along with the primary sense of being alive: our mothers' milk and our parents' bed.
I feel all this now, discovering how my intellectual knowledge about this country has integrated my being via emotional channels. Perhaps we always start with the intellectual: reading, reflecting, and communicating our reflections to other people. The cultural information, along with the motivation to survive emotionally, to get out of the immigrant crisis and of acculturation-related depression, of loneliness and of isolation, works through the mind to the heart and together with real food and food for the soul, becomes the source of release and relief. We feel in place and we share experiences. We have arrived. We are home.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 12, December 2000

Become a Language Teacher - (English, French, Italian, German)
Activities First Course Students English Level 100 -/2009

The College of Education, School of Languages, Universidad of Guayaquil, is a public university and the best choice where you can study to become a language teacher , French, German, Italian and English)

During First Course, you take the Beginners English 100 Level to develop competencies and improve the listening and speaking abilities. It is important to consider that classes range from 50 to 65 students at the beginning and teachers need to use a variety of strategies to work with large groups and make English interesting and fun for students. But, students are extraordinary respectful, and always anxious to learn and excel.

Students are  exposed to the different languages, either by drills, practice and by oral activities, weekly dramatizations, presentations or  outdoor activities, etc.)

Dramatizations. Way to go!!!!



When you walk into the School of Languages, you may find information in the different languages. There is a big poster "News" with short and interesting information in English. Sometimes are cut-outs from real American newspapers, magazines or current internet articles.

As part of the English class in Fifth Course work on this poster-magazine as part of the English class and its purpose is to share the language with all students of the School. It is very interesting seing students getting closed to the bulletin board, reading the material with friends, trying to find out the meaning and making comments onf topics.

This weekly information "NEWS" attracks the students´attention, firstly because of the variety of information (comics, fashion, politics, education, sports) and secondly, because they identify themselves with the printed language, they read it aloud, make comments with friends or teachers around.

Friday, January 21, 2011

INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN LITERATURE. Fifth Course School of Languages Facultad de Filosofia, Letras y Ciencias. Universidad de Guayaquil


This class offers a survey of the development of American Literature from the "discovery" of America to the present. Students usually engage in frequent written creative writing and oral weekly presentations on a selected writer with a short bio, main works, literary style. After the presentation, I usually add more feedback and we construct knowledge from the research. We usually read and analyze a chapter from a writer´s work and make comments about it.

Some representative works of American writers seen in this class are Ann Bradstreet, Benjamin Franklin, E.Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Carl Sandburg, Sandra Cisneros, AmyTan, Arthur Miller).

This is my fifth year teaching this class and I believe it helps our future ESL/Bilingual teachers to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking, as well as the abilities to work independently and collaboratively. Students are also learning to work with Tics and they realize that adding technological resources to a presentation makes easier to acquire knowledge.

Classes at the School of Languages usually start May and end December, but after almost seven months of being immerse in a 90% English spoken class, my students realize that their English abilities improve drastically. They work hard learning from lectures, working in their assigned activities, doing research, having their expositions, improving or learning about Tics!! I´m also learning with them!!!
According to language acquisition theories, we understand that that being in a a non-speaking English country, students will still have grammar errors, problems with fluency or pronunciation issues, but I know they put their best effort and creativity to improve and learn.


Introducción a la Literatura Americana se dicta en Quinto Curso en la Escuela de Lenguas y Linguistica de la Universidad de Guayaquil, Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias, y tiene el propósito de brindar a los estudiantes una visión de la riqueza del panorama literario norte-americano, explorando y estudiando los principales autores, movimientos históricos/
literarios y los fragmentos de obras más relevantes de la literatura producida en Norteamérica desde sus inicios a la presente fecha. También potencia en los estudiantes la capacidad lectora, comunicativa y crítica, permitiéndoles expresar juicios y comentarios sobre los diferentes escritores y obras literarias. Una actividad muy importante que nuestros estudiantes - futuros docentes de idiomas están utilizando, es el uso de tecnología (power point, manejo de videos, fotos, etc) y combinar su presentación con recursos tecnologicos y hacer del conocimiento un aprendizaje fácil, práctico y permanente.

Una vez realizadas las presentaciones individuales, sus materiales son expuestos en la Escuela de Lengua como medio de aprendizaje para los demas estudiantes.

Jessica with Chinese American author and Professor UC Berkley. Feminist. "Woman Warrion", she talked about gender and ethnicity.

Gina and poet from American Romantic movement E. A. Poe, known for his tales of msytery and macabre.
Gina on the right and me!!

Lucia and her assigned 19th century poet and writer, Emily Dickinson "The nun of Amherst"


Jazmin represented "Ann Bradstreet, with her poem "To my Dear and loving husband".
For the final exam students are assigned an oral presentation on one of the writers studied during the (two parciales/midterms). The presentation includes a short bio, analysis of the most important literary works, relevant comments and a dramatization. They work in groups of four or five students, share ideas, do research and work with TICs. My purpose on this final project is to make students researched  on their assigned writer, strength their personal and communicative skills. I am very proud of all my students because I  know they put their best responsibility, creativity and effort and the most important, my students enjoy and build knowledge through their own learning.
I know, sometimes, they may think it is hard!!but after they are engaged in the activity, it is fun!!!! and they get to know their classmaters, too. The social interaction is very, very important for me.

Jazmin and Byron presented first American poet from Puritan American. Ann Bradstreet.

For my Dear and Loving Husband.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.

Rocio and Jessica talked about Emily Dickinson´s legacy and enacted her famous poem "I could not stop for death". Students felt so involved in the whole project and they helped each other with representations.

Nathaly and Karen were in charge of Mark Twain and his well-known "The Adventurous of Huckleberry Fynn".

Amazing work from Narcisa and Mariela with the famous Edgar Allan Poe´s poem "The Raven". These two students worked hard on their project,biography, comments on his literary style, did an extraordinary oratory and explained the meaning of some stanzas. Awesome raven (on Narcisa´s hand) and costumes. Mariela was the unforgettable "Leonore" AND NEVER.......MORE.....

and the Raven said....."nevermore"

Drama can also be used to bring literature to life for the students. It is more dynamic than simple text and helps the visual learners as well as recycles new vocabulary. While drama does have a characteristic of recreation, the fun aspect should not be under-estimated. When the students are enjoying an activity, they are learning and letting their guard down. From TEslj.

Zoila, Fatima and Lucia with the
Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
punishment and sin. Awesome job!!!

The Color Purple, epistolary novel. American writer Alice Walker. Won Pulitzer Price., sisters Nettie and Celie talking about letters they sent each other. Students Jennifer and Marcia


The Internet TESL Journal

The Benefits of Using Drama in the ESL/EFL Classroom

Chris Boudreault
solartrees [-at-]
(Lac La Biche, Canada)
As an English teacher, I have often been amazed at how effective drama is to capture the attention of the students in the ESL/EFL classroom. Drama activities would sometimes have surprising and unexpected results. ESL/EFL professionals need to use this medium more because the artificial world of the classroom can be transformed into a quasi-real language situation and provides an endless amount of opportunities for student’s personal growth. We cannot only teach grammar and phonetics with drama but also it has the power to transform the actors as well as the audience. We shouldn’t underestimate this powerful teaching tool to reach our students.


William Shakespeare claimed that
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

If so, then maybe we need to use drama more in the schools. Using drama in the ESL classroom is not a new concept. Drama provides an excellent platform for exploring theoretical and practical aspects of the English language (Whiteson,1996). The improvisation aspect of drama gives students opportunities for developing their communicative skills in authentic and dynamic situations. By using drama in the English classroom, we can use English with our students in intriguing and useful ways. The language can be used in context and makes it come to life. Drama has the potential of making the learning experience fun for the students and even memorable because it is interactive and visual.

There are many studies about using drama to learn English. Wan Yee Sam talks about the communicative approach, drama techniques, value of drama in education, advantages and disadvantages (Sam,1990). Alan Maley and Alan Duff are classic sources for the benefits of using drama techniques; how it helps to learn new vocabulary, builds confidence, motivates the students and helps shift the focus from the teacher to the students (Maley,1982). Drama is a special communication situation which makes considerable demands on the flexibility and skills of the teacher (Kao,1998). We have Morrow (1981) who gives some guiding principles behind the use of the communicative activities. Susan Holden (1981) adds some definitions as to what drama is and how it provides opportunities for a person to express themselves. The personal nature of improvisation provides many outlets for self-expression. We even hear that children need to play as an important developmental process.

Benefits of Using Drama

This is all very relevant information concerning using drama in the ESL/EFL classroom. We can sum up the benefits of drama in language teaching as follows:
  • the acquisition of meaningful, fluent interaction in the target language;
  • the assimilation of a whole range of pronunciation and prosodic features in a fully contextualized and interactional manner;
  • the fully contextualized acquisition of new vocabulary and structure;
  • an improved sense of confidence in the student in his or her ability to learn the target language.” (Wessels, p.10).
Drama puts the teacher in the role of supporter in the learning process and the students can take more responsibility for their own learning. Ideally, the teacher will take a less dominant role in the language class and let the students explore the language activities. In the student centered classroom, every student is a potential teacher for the group.

Drama for second language learners can provide an opportunity to develop the imagination of the students. The students can go beyond the here and now and even 'walk in the shoes' of another. It provides an opportunity for independent thinking (McCaslin 1996). Students are encouraged to express their own ideas and contribute to the whole. Creative drama will offer exercises in critical thinking and the chance for the students to be creative. A good example of this is role-plays in small groups The ESL/EFL group will have many situations where they can develop their own ideas as well as skills of cooperation when interacting with classmates. The group work builds social awareness and understanding as we walk in the 'shoes of another'. Drama gives an excellent method for studying human nature and working in harmony. The play acting provides the opportunity for a healthy release of emotion in a safe setting which can work to relieve the tension of learning in a second language.

Drama Brings Literature to Life

Most teachers see the value of drama in offering training in speech. What is not obvious is how even abstract learning is easier when acted or demonstrated. Drama can also be used to bring literature to life for the students. It is more dynamic than simple text and helps the visual learners as well as recycles new vocabulary. While drama does have a characteristic of recreation, the fun aspect should not be under-estimated. When the students are enjoying an activity, they are learning and letting their guard down. The shyness and fear of using English very often blocks learning. When the students are submerged in an active fun activity, they are more open to new concepts and learning will occur. When the students are having fun, they let their second language guard down and become less inhibited. The student will tend to relax and stop blocking out the new language. They will forget how hard it is and start absorbing the ideas presented. Changing the students’ perception of the language learning from a negative to a positive is a huge plus for the learning process.

A good example of the attributes of drama being used outside the classroom is the game of theatre sports. Starting out in Loose Moose Theatre Company in Calgary, Canada (Johnstone,1999). This drama activity has grown to become an international endeavour, taken up by practitioners the world over, which involves the audience as much as the actors in creating a very spontaneous event. Theatre sports demonstrates how powerful a motivating force role-playing can become for the actors as well as the audience. There are presently teams in many different countries using different languages who put on an unrehearsed game for countless spectators and the appeal is only growing.

Drama as a Powerful Teaching Tool

In the ESL/EFL classroom, role-playing is a powerful tool. It teaches cooperation, empathy for others, decision making skills and encourages an exchange of knowledge between the students. These aspects alone make role-playing beneficial because the students are learning from each other. Yet, there are many other positive aspects to the role-playing. Apart from the obvious development of communication skills, it encourages leadership, team work, compromise, authentic listening skills and practice with real life savior-faire. However, it does not stop there. It teaches cooperation, empathy, develops decision making skills, promotes the exchange of knowledge, builds confidence and self-esteem, refines presentation skills, encourages self-acceptance and acceptance of others, features of empowerment, pride in work, responsibility, problem solving, management and organizational skills, begets creativity and imagination.

A good drama teacher can use the practice with role-playing to contribute to the self-esteem of the students, build their confidence in using the target language (English) as well as develop many of the skills mentioned above which will carry over to real life. It is certain that self-acceptance can be encouraged in subtle ways and acceptance of others.

Drama has the potential to empower the students, give them many opportunities to have pride in their work, it teaches them responsibility, problem solving, management and directing proficiencies. The many activities of team work force students to develop organizational skills and to think on their feet. These are tools that can be used in all aspects of their lives. These skills will be useful in the future job market when the students need to work with others or even in the future job interview when the potential employer asks an unexpected question and you need to think quickly.

Drama Reveals Aspects of the Human Condition

When you think about it, drama is a method to reveal aspects of the human condition, life is nothing more than a grand series of improvisations (Price 1980). Through the games, the students begin to realize the importance of shared space, time, attention, information and ideas. The games spark spontaneity and minimize self-consciousness which often inhibits learning. The games are also good for developing concentration and trust in the classroom. While the students are having all this fun, they are developing skills of coordination, imitation while focusing on the task at hand. The improvisation enables the students to flex their emotional, mental as well as physical muscles in a safe and controlled setting. A good example of this was a role-play one group performed where they displayed their displeasure with the school principal. There was no harm done and all the students were feeling the same.

Final Reflections on Improvisations and Benefits of Drama

'Improvisation, then, is an organic experience where skills are constantly being refined. In particular, students develop an increasing facility to meet changing or unknown stimuli with immediate responses. Ideally, improvisation leads to a blending; the students create the personality traits as he/she simultaneously identifies with the character as it evolves. Obviously, the teacher-director should never lose sight of the metamorphic and highly personal nature of improvisation; therefore, there must never be the question of success or failure.' (Price, p. 6)

Drama in its purest form gives the student several avenues to self-awareness. It is one of the closest literary forms to life itself. It is a dynamic process that reveals and examines aspects of the complicated lives we lead (Price 1980). All of this leads me to believe that there are many subtle benefits to drama in the ESL classroom.

The benefits of drama to develop the imagination should not be undervalued. In our rote school routines of memorization and compulsory subject matter, we sometimes do not spend enough time on encouraging our students to use their imagination. It is the spark that makes the ordinary into something incredible. Imagination is the magic force that is beyond facts, figures and techniques which can inspire new ideas. It is with imagination that the ordinary is transformed into something significant. There is a need to cultivate this trait in our students. Imagination is closely linked to dreams and inspire us to get up every morning. Drama has the capability to keep this alive and/or rekindle what our routine daily lives are burying in ourselves. We need imagination to make a better world. In order to accomplish anything worthwhile, we first need to imagine and dream it. We should not neglect this facet of human sentience. It may seem like a trivial point, but dreams without imagination would be like life without colour. We would all be worse off without it.

The Power of Transformation with Drama

We all present ourselves in everyday life as we want to be perceived. Erving Goffman (1958) talks in detail about how we present ourselves in everyday life from a sociological perspective. We are all acting out theatrical performances to present ourselves in regard to how we wish to be seen. When we are in the presence of others, we are to some extent on stage. We will act and communicate in our own interests to influence the people around us to act voluntarily in accordance with the individuals plans (Goffman,1959). We are in essence, recreating ourselves all the time as our social world evolves. In everyday life, first impressions are so very important. So, how we are perceived often depends on a blink of a moment which may define us for a long period if not forever. Our communication skills are so important in how we are seen by others. Our words and body language project subtle messages to those around us and others respond in accordance to what they perceive as "us". In life, we are all playing many roles, therefore, we are wearing many masks.

In a sense, and in so far as this mask represents the conception we have formed of ourselves- the role we are striving to live up to- this mask is our truer self, the self we would like to be (Goffman, p.30).

We know that an individual will attempt to induce the audience to see them in a certain way. The more convincing we are in our own roles only help to create the persona that we wish for. The better we are at communicating our ideas helps ourselves to become who we want to be.

Therefore, it makes sense that dramatic skills can help us become the person we want to be. In this way, drama has a wider reach than simply making us more fluent in a second language. It has the potential of making our lives better as we will be better understood and may help us become the people we want to be. Drama is all about how we present ourselves. If the student can communicate better, the more likely others will see him/her as he/she wishes to be seen. Therefore, the skills of drama can help the student become the person that he/she wants to be.


  • Goffman, Erving (1959), The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Penguin Books, London.
  • Holden, Susan (1981): Drama in Language Teaching. Essex: Longman
  • Johnstone, Keith (1999), Impro for Storytellers. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, NewYork
  • Kao, shin-Mei and Cecily O’Neill. (1998) Words Into Worlds, Learning a Second Language through Process Drama. Ablex Publishing corp. Stamford, USA.
  • Maley, Alan and Alan Duff. Drama techniques in Language Learning. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 1982.
  • McCaslin, Nellie (1996). Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond. London, Longman Publishers
  • Morrow, Keith (1981): Principles of communicative methodology. In: Johnson, Keith / Morrow, Keith (eds.): Communication in the Classroom. London and New York: Longman
  • Price, Pamela (1980). Creative Play Production in the Classroom. Yale, Yale Publishers.
  • Royka, Judith (2002). Overcoming the Fear of Using Drama in English Language Teaching. The Internet TESL Journal, vol.8, #6, June 2002.
  • Sam, Wan Yee (1990) Drama in Teaching English as a Second Language- a Communicative Approach. The English Teacher, vol. 9, July 1990. Malaya.
  • Spolin, Viola (1986). Theatre Games For the Classroom. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois
  • Wessels, Charlyn (1987). Drama. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Whiteson, Valerie (1996). New Ways of Using Drama and Literature in Language Teaching. Alexandria,VA., TESOL.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 1, January 2010

Weekly presentations.

Gina and poet from American Romantic movement, E. A., Poe. Known for his tales of mystery and the macabre.

The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne presented by Narcisa.

Es un orgullo tener a mi cargo la clase de Literatura America dictada en 5to. Curso y poder transmitir a mis alumnos, futuros docentes, las riquezas del idioma a través de lecturas y fragmentos literarios selectos o peliculas adaptadas y ásí transportarlos a las diferentes etapas historicas y literarias vividas por los Estados Unidos desde sus inicios. En esta clase trabajamos una variedad de actividades academicas, entrelazadas con el aprendizaje del idioma, enfatizando el mejoramiento de las habilidades orales y auditivas de nuestros futuros docentes.
Los alumnos realizan sus investigaciones, presentaciones, envio de trabajos y comunciaciones con el profesor utilizando tecnologia (power points, correos electronicos, agregando videos a sus presentaciones, etc).
De esta manera considero y la practica me ha ayudado a constatar que los alumnos mejoran sus habilidades al realizar presentaciones eficaces e interactuar en grupos de trabajo, aprenden a compartir, valorar sus opiniones y las de sus compañeros

Thanks to my dearest photographer: Jessica. and to all my students for letting me take pictures. If I´m missing some pictures pls.....send them to me. I would love publishing them!

LEARNING LANGUAGE THROUGH COMMUNICATIVE ACTIVITIES AND TASK BASED APPROACH. Lots of peering interaction, problem solving tasks, Motivation, solving tasks!!

FIRST-SECOND SEMESTER STUDENTS 2017- School of Languages and memories of all activities during the semester. Proud of all your work!!! Res...