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The Role of Drama in Primary English teaching

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Introduction

The Role of Drama in Primary English teaching The teaching of oral language is particularly important. Communication skills have numerous applications including supporting the development of reading and writing and fostering emotional and social maturity. The QCA document discusses four aspects of speaking and listening; speaking, listening, group discussion and interaction and drama. Experience in drama helps children understand language beyond how it is written: how voice and gesture are used to communicate the sense of what is being said and how to adapt their speech or writing to suit different audiences. Drama is a rich context for children to experiment with language and feel involved in the narrative. Appendix 1 gives a detailed lesson plan for use with Year 2 term 1. For children learning English, drama is a powerful tool. It enables them to be actively involved in constructing a performance and promotes discussion in groups. Teaching in this area should extend and promote children's talk in the classroom so there is a clear and smooth progression in speaking and listening across the key stages. ...read more.

Middle

Teachers should recognise the individual differences in EAL children and assess how competent they are in all languages they speak. The teacher then will have a picture of that child along a language continuum and will be able to use the skills the child has in their home language to help them towards English fluency. The bilingual child has many advantages over the others; they will have an insight in the systems behind language and will come to a meta-linguistic understanding that their peers may not have. Community links are very important in EAL teaching. Parents and members of the community can be involved in a number of ways, including writing first language versions of stories used in the classroom, bringing in written material in the first language, telling stories to the class in first language whilst the teacher reads the English version or making traditional food for the class. The lesson plan presumes that the EAL children have an early grasp of English and uses strategies to improve their confidence in spoken English. ...read more.

Conclusion

In year five this is further extended so children can use working in role to explore complex issues in different social, cultural or historical perspectives. By year six the use of role play has developed into a way of investigating key moments in a story, such as using the decision alley strategy, to explore a characters thoughts, hopes, fears and desires. Drama progresses steadily in the QCA guidance, introducing language features gradually and using previous knowledge to build new concepts. Drama is a particularly important means to increase children's speaking and listening skills. It is fun and allows children to invest in the story and consider how the character feels. There are very specific language features to teach and assess in drama, such as use of voice and gesture and how the child is able to explore their character in role. Drama can be a powerful tool for EAL children as it allows them to collaborate with their peers and take risk in the new language. When teaching drama, teachers should be aware that progression is steady and builds on previous experience. If too high an expectation is made of them the children may lose confidence, but equally if not challenged they may lose their enthusiasm for drama. ...read more.

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