I just read an interesting article about using theater or drama in the foreign language classroom. Here is an excerpt:
Drama and languages have much in common. As curricular areas, both need their learners to be active, expressive and communicative participants. Using our strategies to teach the four skills of language helps learners to learn the mechanics, but using drama helps them to experience the language.
I thought these lines express the advantages very well. Our products such as "Mighty Mini-Plays" (French, German and Spanish) and "Skinny Skits" (French and Spanish" are grabbed up by teachers frustrated by the lack of theater pieces they can use for their students. One can use simulated conversations as well, but there is something different about performing a play in front of classmates, or for parents.
Any comments from teachers out there?
About forty years ago the book, Teacher, by Sylvia Ashton-Warner from New Zealand spoke extensively about having her young students (many of them Maori) writing their own books and designing their own plays. I tried it in an English-only classroom for an innter-city school. Interesting experiment!!