Immersion in ESL culture: Oral output through acting
Date of this Version
Many ESL learners exhibit diffidence in situations where they are required to speak in English. They retreat into their shells because of the threat of embarrassment and a loss of face which are consequences of making errors in grammar and pronunciation. One effective method of inducing them to speak is drama. By putting them in imaginary situations and creating make-believe identities, teachers can give them incentives to participate in oral interaction, thereby increasing the quantity of speech produced and providing increased practice in speaking in the target language. Classroom activities imbued with drama are often enjoyable and evidence indicates that having fun results in reduced inhibitions, thereby creating a relaxed, happy environment that helps generate increasingly unhindered speech production. The more extended their speech, the greater the opportunity for them to improve their speaking skills. The fear of potential embarrassment is reduced by the 'masks' which hide their real identities and their confidence increases as a result.
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