1st Edition

Enlivening Instruction with Drama and Improv A Guide for Second Language and World Language Teachers

    242 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    242 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    242 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    This engaging and complete resource has everything you need to bring drama and theatre techniques into the ESL, EFL, or World Language Classroom. Are your students reluctant to speak out in class? Do they lack confidence in their language skills? The dynamic drama games in this book are the perfect catalyst to transform your students into engaged learners, and help them build confidence and language skills. The interactive theatre games and techniques are specifically designed for use in Second, Foreign, and World Language classrooms to empower students through meaningful, agentive language learning. With over 80 activities and games, and hundreds of extensions that can be catered to every level, this book provides teachers with clear, step-by-step instructions to teaching dramatic activities with L2 learners of all levels and backgrounds. The games and strategies in this book will enliven classrooms with communication that is creative, memorable, inspiring, and fun.

    Grounded in cutting-edge research, this book explains why teaching language through drama is effective and inspiring for teachers and students alike, directing readers to a wide array of resources and approaches to teaching language through theatre. You’ll also find guidance on leading drama games with language learners in a variety of online platforms, lesson planning models, and an example lesson plan for easy implementation in physical or virtual classroom spaces.

    Foreword by Ryuko Kubota

    Acknowledgements: A Personal Note Paying Homage to Our Teachers

    About the Authors

    Introduction: Acting Up with Language

    Chapter 01 Drama Basics

    Chapter 02 Critical Drama-Based L2 History, Theory, and Practice

    Chapter 03 Getting to Know You: Creating Classroom Community through Drama.

    Chapter 04 Warm-up with Little to No Language

    Chapter 05 Say It Again, Sam! Rehearsing Target Language Words and Phrases

    Chapter 06 Guessing Games

    Chapter 07 Improvising with Shorter Stretches of Language

    Chapter 08 Improvising with Longer Stretches of Language

    Chapter 09 Theatre for Agency, Activism, and Acting Up with Language

    Afterword by Shirley Brice Heath

    Appendix A Theatre Game Adaptations in Virtual and Non-Contact Spaces

    Appendix B Lesson Planning for Acting Up with Language



    Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of Language and Literacy Education and Art Education at the University of Georgia, USA.

    Kathleen R. McGovern has a PhD in TESOL & World Languages from the University of Georgia and serves as a faculty member in Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.

    "Readers may at first think that this book provides a useful collection of theater games…and, it does. However, it succeeds at doing much more. Readers will recognize that the authors are experienced language teachers who have thoughtfully considered how to describe the goals and procedures of the games, including ideas for adapting and extending them, even to online environments. Indeed, it is clear that the authors are committed to the theater and to acting and to the powerful combination of learning with play and fun. But there is a serious side to this volume as well. In their concern for social justice, the authors advocate using drama in order to provide space for language learners to explore their agency in countering marginalized discourses. Given the times in which we live, I can only applaud such advocacy."

    Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, USA

    "This book offers a practical and comprehensive resource for teachers looking to expand their classroom toolkit. While the text focuses on embodied activities to help English language learners at all levels develop their skills, I found myself dreaming of ways to use these exercises in history and writing classrooms as well. The authors make an excellent and imminently usable case for the value of movement and an ensemble spirit in the classroom. Each of the over 80 exercises in the book is accompanied by suggestions and variations to help instructors adapt to their individual classroom and student needs. Whether you are new to facilitating theater exercises in the classroom, or a drama teacher yourself, no doubt you’ll be pulling this book off the shelf for years to come."

    Coya Paz Brownrigg, Chair of Theatre Studies, DePaul University, and Artistic Director of Free Street Theater, USA

    "Cahnmann-Taylor and McGovern’s book offers a socially conscious ‘acting up with language’ approach to the integration of drama/theatre games and performance methods into L2 language instruction and acquisition.  Through carefully curated, detailed drama activity descriptions, linked to productive L2 learning skills and tasks, this accessible handbook deftly demonstrates the sociocultural and sociopolitical realities which shape language learning in a range of educational contexts both in-person and virtual. A must-have resource for educators and teaching artists working in the fields of language, literacy, and the arts!

    Katie Dawson, The University of Texas at Austin, USA


    This book provides a compilation of theater activities that any language teacher can use with their classes to engage students of any level and promote learning. The book is easy to use and the instructions for each game are clear—listing levels, goals, timing, and material required. Drawing from drama-based language pedagogy as well as their own experience, the authors suggest many ways to adapt the games, including for a virtual context, which is more welcome now than ever. The theater games in this book engage both body and mind and call on teachers’ and learners’ creativity, empowering them both and fostering meaningful communication.  —Sylvie Vanbaelen, Butler University, USA.


    "The critical drama-based L2 pedagogy that this book promotes offers a practical and engaging tool for fostering critical consciousness. […] This book opens up new horizons for playful and critical imagination in teaching not only English, but also all languages."

    —Ryuoko Kubota, University of British Columbia, Canada

    "The hope of the authors of the current book fits well with all that can follow when teachers take up the dramatic arts. Such a path will almost always lead to learning and change for teachers and students alike who decide to walk a path that lets them use both feet as well as shape their capacity for learning and remembering."

    —Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University, USA