Drama and project work in English lessons
Drama and project work are one of many active methods which can be successfully applied during the educational process of teaching the English language to young learners. Those two mentioned methods not only are a source of great fun during the lesson but they are also proven methods thanks to which our learners acquire new vocabulary effectively. My M.A. empirical research, carried out on fifty young learners at a primary school level, proved the thesis that drama and project work has a positive influence on the acquisition of new English words. When it comes to drama, teachers can arrange the lesson and play with their students the game of buying and selling vegetables in a shop. I carried out such a lesson with my young learners and I taught them new vocabulary connected with vegetables. During the lesson, my students got to know such names of vegetables as cucumber, beetroot, lettuce, carrot, potato, cauliflower and parsley. Also learners were familiarized with the phrase I would like to buy (…) which expressed the wish to buy, in this case a particular vegetable from the shop. Teachers should bear in mind that children in primary school are not able to memorise a large number of vocabulary during the lesson so do not overload your students with too many new words. At first, present the new vocabulary to your students. Attach the pictures of chosen vegetables to the blackboard and say out loud the words in English. Then ask your learners to repeat the names of the vegetables out loud too. Prepare the English names of vegetables and ask students to match the pictures of vegetables with their names. Repeat the exercise several times so that each child has a chance to match the picture of a vegetable and its English name. After a short introduction, let’s move to the practical part of the lesson.
Buy those products which you presented at the very beginning of the lesson and prepare a mini shop with fresh vegetables. You will need a basket for this exercise, too. In your shop, students will be able to buy only those products which you taught them during the lesson. In this activity, students will play the role of the seller and the customer. If you work with large classes, divide your students into smaller groups. Choose one person who sells the vegetables. The rest will play the role of the customers. Each student who buys vegetables starts the utterance with the sentence I would like to buy (…) and gives the name of the vegetable they want to purchase. The seller packs the mentioned vegetable to the basket and gives the product to the customer. Practice this exercise with all groups. Check the correctness of pronunciation but do not limit the freedom of your learners during the performance. Let them just have good fun.
Thanks to such a lesson, children have a chance not only to revise the vocabulary once again but also they apply the acquired knowledge in an everyday life situation. Do not limit the natural curiosity of your students. Let them smell and touch the vegetables. Thanks to this experience, children will remember the new vocabulary effectively. Thanks to the use of drama, you can also introduce the new vocabulary connected with e.g. fruits.
The second inspiration for an effective English lesson may be such with project work. Every teacher knows that young learners love drawing and painting. You can use those natural inclinations and arrange a lesson with project work. If you want to familiarize your students with e.g. the names of wild animals, encourage them to do project work on their own zoo. During my experimental lesson, I taught my learners the names of wild animals such as bear, toucan, ostrich, tiger, flamingo, crocodile and bison. Do not forget to visualise those wild animals because some of the students do not know what they look like. Prepare flashcards with those animals and attach them to the blackboard. Read the English names of the animals out loud and ask your learners to repeat the names too. Repeat the drill several times. After a short introduction, move to the practical part of the lesson.