The Use of Theatresports in Developing Students' Communication Skills
|1.||Characteristics of creative drama and its form theatresports||10|
|1.1||Creative drama and theatresports in English language lessons||11|
|1.2||Origin of theatresports||13|
|1.3||Organization of theatresports||14|
|2.||Development of communication skills through theratresports||23|
|2.1||The role of body||27|
|2.2||The role of emotions||29|
|2.3||The importance of practising every day communication situations||30|
|3.||A case study “Theatresports in Institut Jean Jaures” in Charleroi (Belgium)||32|
Nowadays, in the labour market there is a need for people who are well-qualified, professional in their work and know several languages. In addition, employers search for employees who have good communication skills. As students learn better in free and relaxing atmosphere, which can be created by theatresports, the author of the Paper wanted to explore the ways of using theatresports in developing students’ communication skills in the English language lessons.
During the school practice and Comenius 2 language assistantship, a case study was carried out in professional secondary school in Charleroi, Belgium. First, students were informed about form and rules of theatresports. Second, separate scenes were played. Third, a performance of theatresports was accomplished during English lesson. In order to gain information whether theatresports is a successful activity for English lessons, students were asked to fill in a questionnaire. In addition, the author interviewed students’ English teacher and observed students during the performance.
Several conclusions were made about the use of theatresports in the English language lessons. First, students said that it was untraditional for them and they enjoyed performing it. Moreover, they expressed a wish to repeat it during other English language lessons. Second, the majority of participants felt excited about the activity and they did not have negative stress. Students’ involvement increased by every time scenes were performed as participants felt more sure about themselves and were better oriented in the form and rules of theatresports. The author of the Paper observed a correlation between students’ favourite scenes and the number of times they were played – most frequently used scenes were students’ favourites. Another conclusion was that knowledge of rules does not guarantee the usage of them as very often students in their excitement forgot or did not know how to use them.
Analysing the gained information, it was concluded that theatresports is an effective activity to develop students’ communication skills. However, elaborated preparation tasks such as selecting appropriate episodes, informing students and preparing a classroom should be accomplished to provide a successful improvement of students’ communication skills.
English is a language, which is used globally and can offer many possibilities. Language proficiency is a key instrument for a common understanding among the citizens of Europe (European Report on the Quality of School Education, 2001). The European Commission in White Paper on Education and Training Teaching and Leaning towards the Learning Society (1995) states that it is necessary to acquire proficiency in at least two or three foreign languages as a priority. However, according to Eurobarameter, in 1997 the most topical problem was that young Europeans had considerable difficulties with foreign languages while studying or working abroad (Report on the Quality of School Education, 2001).
Now, when Latvia is a full member state of European Union and mobility is considered as one of the biggest advantages, there might occur the same problems. To avoid similar situation a special attention to language teaching should be paid. As the majority of students choose to learn English, it would be important that from the very beginning they acquire the language so well that afterwards they are competitive enough in labour market of European Union.
Judging from the job advertisements, nowadays there is a need of people who are well-qualified, professional in their work and fluent in English. In addition, employers search for employees who are flexible, good at working in team and also with excellent communication skills.
Certainly, competent communicators must have strong language skills – a rich vocabulary, the ability to form sentences, a sense for conventional usage of the language. But speech communication also includes non-verbal coding through gestures, eye contact, touching, and through physical space, clothing and time (Thaiss and Suhor 1984). It is proved that only 7% of verbal information is received by a person, other 93% are from nonverbal activities (Pļavniece and Škuškovnika 2002). Consequently, the more possibilities to train communication skills in English lessons are given at school, the more likely this experience will be transferred into every day’s life.
In author’s opinion a successful method how to improve communication skills in English could be theatresports. As in Latvia it appeared only a few years ago and only in rather closed circles of the society, it is still a novelty and creates an interest. The inventor of theatresports Keith Johnstone says that ‘Theatresports is an improvisational theatre with a competitive edge, where teams of improvisers create scenes based entirely on audience suggestions, and are scored by panel of judges’ ( Improvisation Encyclopaedia, 2004).
The author of the Paper learned about theatresports three years ago in International Baltic Sea Region Camp where theatresports was used as a group-building activity to raise the team spirit and break the language barrier among participants and organisers whose native language was not English. This activity created relaxing atmosphere, encouraged people to take initiative, talk to each other and not to be afraid of mistakes. Consequently, the author had an idea that theatresports could be an effective activity at the English language lessons because it includes the use of language and also a real action using the whole body and individual’s previous experience.
Maley and Duff (1994) report about the use of creative drama in the English language lessons. Hargie (1991), Sargent (1998) and Capper (2000) depict the role of communication skills nowadays. Dodge (1995), Healy (2004), Brown and Pleydell (1999) vividly describe important aspects of communicative activities in the language learning. Articles by different authors from online English teaching magazines deal with the issues about effective teaching of the language through creative drama and the importance of involving the body and interaction in the learning process.…
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- The Use of Theatresports in Developing Students' Communication Skills
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