All the Class Is a Stage

All the Class Is a Stage

Abhilash Ashok (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, Coimbatore, India) and Asha Priya (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, Coimbatore, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCDLM.2020010102

Abstract

The present article investigates the influence of teaching English language using theatrical tools. The theater technique explained in the article is tableau to teach the English language through literature. This article also explains the use of theater in English Language classrooms to create conducive atmosphere for learning and make the classes more engaging and interesting. The application of this tool requires no special preparation except the genuine interest of the teacher to think out of the box.
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Introduction

Statement of the Problem

Many countries now require English language study within their education system. As a world language, the study of English has the potential to open professional and academic doors to students that might otherwise remain closed. However, despite the political and economic reasons for promoting the English language, most young students are unaware of the benefits. To them, English is just another subject in school that will either make or break their Grade Point Average (GPA). It compounds this lack of interest with low motivation because of non-engaging classrooms and a prevalence of grammar study through reading, writing, and oral practice.

It mirrors the lack of outside support in the classroom without-of -context materials, complete with inauthentic dialogue, pervasive rote memorization drills, and a little to no emphasis on reading competency beyond the vocabulary and grammar being taught. This is largely a result of a mixture of the prescribed curriculum, standardized testing and a school’s accountability: “In a language course, extrinsic pressures are most often manifested in foreign language requirements set by the institution and in established standardized test scores that must be achieved” (Brown, 2007, p. 181). While material selection and curriculum development bring into focus much larger questions about the education system, students need significantly more engaging and active teaching methods. Through this, interest, motivation, self-esteem and second language (L2) proficiency will increase significantly. Though there has been some research on the benefits of drama as a language teaching method, there is a lack of research on implementing drama in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom, and whether a theatre-based curriculum promotes higher language acquisition than the more traditional teaching approaches. Given the amount of foreign countries that require English language learning, we must give students the freedom to explore and be active within the language outside the realm of the traditional classroom.

English is not only used as an official language among many nations, but it has been reported to have influence on many different cultures in a large number of countries (Jones, 2008). He further reports that English is the central language of 16 communications world-wide. Echoing the same sentiments Dinapoli (2009), clearly presents that the status of the English language has been elevated as the most influential language globally. The expansion of the English language has rapidly increased the needs to gain better communication skills, as the abilities to use English is crucial, globally for effective social and professional activities (Dinapoli, 2009).

A study carried out by Cheng (2010), reveals that the English language is generally used as an international language for communication among people from different language backgrounds. Furthermore, Cheng proposes that university students worldwide especially in countries where English is an official language use English as the primary language for knowledge consumption; therefore, universities, irrespective of their geographic location need to include English language as one of their preregistration academic requirements. Similarly, Murray (2010) states that English is often used as the medium of instruction in higher education but students’ attitudes, limited exposure and opportunity to use English in their daily conversations continue to pose as deterrent from acquiring sufficient English competency.

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