When I uploaded my first online Drama course I breathed a sweet sigh of relief – after all, it had taken me over a year to produce. Not only did I make videos of dozens of workshops, but I learnt to edit them, wrote course modules and PDF downloads and even mastered the arcane system called Moodle.
I was looking forward to sharing my drama ideas with students around the world. However there was one particular aspect of the course that I didn’t anticipate. It was to do with the assignment which I set for participants at the culmination of the course.
Now I've changed my thinking about teaching - every time I look into my course book I have lots of ideas of what I can do connected with drama.
The course is inspirational – it encourages teachers to be more imaginative and creative during the lessons in a way to make them more fun and enjoyable.
I have really enjoyed learning about the games and creating ways to use them in my classes for adults. It takes a bit of courage to get students to move out of their comfortable chairs to the imaginary stage – and courage for the teacher to make this happen in a safe and fun way for the students!
David is very experienced in the field of drama, and very passionate about it. Even though this was an online course, I think we could all see that through the videos and the messages in the forum.
All the units were wonderfully arranged, with respect to the students, clear instructions, thoughtful tips, expanding material. The instructions and material were so explicit that it was like I was trained in person. Moreover, the fact that I can turn to the instructions and the videos again and again, give the course great efficiency.
One of the hidden assets of the Drama Power Up course is the participants themselves and their personal contributions. The people who sign up are mostly teachers of English as an additional language, but not all. We have also had freelance practitioners, aid workers, teacher trainers, theatre directors, academic managers, teachers of French, Greek, music, science and special educational needs. These people really do come from all around the globe.
This is what I ask them to do for the assignment:
The objective of the assignment is for you to plan ways in which you can apply at least five of the drama activities from the course to material that you teach (or would like to teach). Ideally the material you select will be a unit of a course book, but it could also be a text, story or chosen topic. The textual materials can include dialogues, scripts, poetry, novels, short stories, movies, fiction or non-fiction – anything!
You may add additional ideas, activities or techniques above and beyond those included in the course. Your plan may of course include other learning approaches, such as reading, writing and discussion. We anticipate that the content you produce for the assignment will be of great value in your forthcoming teaching.
Can you imagine the range of topics taught by these people? I certainly couldn’t. At the end of each course I sit down with a cup of coffee and start reading through the assignments. And each time it blows my mind! The lesson plans certainly involve English teaching, but the themes and topics they cover are completely unpredictable.
What this means is that the course material is ever-growing. Many of the course assignments are shared freely with others on the course, including the unique lesson plans. This means that students on our course have access to each other’s work as well as the work of previous groups. For example, we already have lessons on:
(Adults) Macbeth/Antony and Cleopatra + silent ‘e” and double consonant rule
(Adults) Environment/nature and a love story about a spider + past tense and past subjunctive
(Adults) David Hockney’s art + clothes vocabulary
(Adults) Jobs + third person singular of present simple tense
(Teachers) Mentoring/Autism/Picture dictation
(13 year olds) Frankenstein + sharing opinions: who is the real monster?
(11-12 year olds) TV and Cinema + adverbs of frequency, express likes and dislikes in the present and past tense
(11-12 year old boys) The Unexplained (based on Longman Edge course book) + vocabulary, reporting verbs, present and past participle clauses and short story-writing
(7-8 year olds) The Twits by Roald Dahl + opinions and vocabulary
If you are interested in taking part in this three-week online course, then you will be pleased to know that we run it several times a year in collaboration with NILE Online – here is the link: Power Up: Drama Games for Language Teaching
And here is a link to a full outline of the course including topics covered.
Did I mention we won the Prize for the Best Resources for Teachers in the English Speaking Union’s English Language Awards 2018?!