Plays are a natural resource for the English language classroom. They offer opportunities to visit and revisit language in action, but they do much more as well.
Producing a play, even in readers’ theatre format (with script in hand, no costumes, blocking, or special lighting needed) also helps students loosen up and feel more confident “playing” with English and its many possible meanings.
Plays can reveal insights into the way speakers use fixed expressions, intonation, and gesture to convey feelings or wants, and to navigate relationships. And, importantly, producing a play can bring a motivating and much needed sense of fun to the classroom.
Here are 10 ideas for extending the content or language of a script into a lesson. They can be used in any order and can suit a variety of goals. Some help students overcome insecurities about speaking and performing. Others foster critical thinking and writing skills, and some help ground pronunciation or grammar work in a relevant context. Pick and choose, adapt, and modify. This list is just a starting point.