Bell, Nancy, and Salvatore Attardo “Failed Humor: Issues in Non-Native Speakers’ Appreciation and Understanding of Humor.” Intercultural Pragmatics 7.3 (2010): 423-447. Web.
This article addresses issues that ESL students face from the perspective of humor; particularly how it is received. Bell and Attardo state that their learners often describe culture, vocabulary, and speed of playful talk as stumbling blocks in their understanding. Using interviews with their students, the authors of the study determined 7 stumbling points in the understanding of humor and suggest solutions for helping students understand humor. They cite pedagogical possibilities including explicit instruction on humor, as well as exercises for raising awareness (which could potentially include dramatic exercises) stating that they have been successful for teaching pragmatic behaviors.
Frey, Timothy J., Abby L. Houlton, and Elizabeth D. Gruis. "I Can See Me: Webcams in the . . Classroom." Learning & Leading with Technology 38.3 (2010): 36-37. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.
Timothy J. Frey is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at Kansas State University, while Houlton and Gruis hold master’s degrees in special education and are current teachers. This article deals specifically with elementary school students but addresses a topic/suggests an activity that would be equally as successful with adults. The authors introduce the “I Can See Me” principle, which according to one student helped him become a better reader because he was able to see himself read and find his mistakes. This activity, and the reflections of the students provides an excellent addition to a discussion of dramatic activities in ESL education.
Guida, Maria. “Creating Theater in the ESL Classroom.” The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching 3: (1995-1996): n. pag. Web. 16 Apr 2011.
Maria Guida is a former Broadway and television actress, who is an adjunct assistant ESL professor with the American Language Institute at New York University. She designed an elective course for ESL students that entails the production of a play and incorporates various improvisational activities. This article provides a useful description of what to look for in a play, a list of plays that would be especially appropriate for ESL students, and a brief synopsis of what each class meeting should include.
Hammond, Jenny. “Challenging Pedagogies: Engaging ESL Students in Intellectual Quality.” Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. ____________ 101-105. Web.
This introduction to the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, was written by Jenny Hammond (a guest editor). The points that Hammond makes are vital to the field of ESL education because they challenge instructors to meet a higher standard. Hammond also states that programs characterized by higher order thinking, deep understanding, and substantive conversation (all of which are involved in dramatic improvisational activities) result in improved academic performance.
Hayati, A. Majid, and Firooz Mohmedi “The Effect of Films With and Without Subtitles on Listening Comprehension of EFL Intermediate Students.” International Journal of Instructional Media 37.3 (2010): 301-313. Web. 11 Apr 2011.
A. Majid Hayati is a professor in the English department at the Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran. His paper “The Effect of Films With and Without Subtitles on Listening Comprehension of EFL Intermediate Students” takes a detailed look at the use of film within EFL classrooms. Hayati addresses a common dilemma encountered by EFL instructors: when showing a film should subtitles be used? If so, should the subtitles be in English to match the film, or should they be in the students’ first language? Ultimately, the research suggests that using English subtitles with English films is the best option. This article is useful in the sense that it provides a carefully researched, well supported activity for the classroom.
Jiang, Mei, Raymond J. Green, Tracy B. Henley, and William G. Masten. “Acculturation in Relation to the Acquisition of a Second Language.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 30.6 (2009): 481-492. Web.
This study was completed by the Department of Psychology and Special Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. By challenging the assumption that students who begin to acquire a second language after adolescence are constrained by biological age factors and may not be as successful in reaching native-like abilities in their second language, the authors determined that language skills and speaking proficiency can be influenced by acculturation. Though this paper does not directly address the use of drama activities in the ESL classroom, it offers support in the sense that the authors suggest introducing “real life-related activities and cultural events” into the classroom in an attempt to break down the barriers between the classroom and the outside world, while not requiring students to step away from their original culture.
Royka, Judith Gray. “Overcoming the Fear of Using Drama in English Language Teaching.” The Internet TESL Journal 8.6 (2002): n. pag. Web.
Judith Gray Royka is with the Andong National University Language Center in Korea. In this article, she explains how using drama activities can add life and energy to EFL/ESL classrooms. In her article, she discusses several common misconceptions, myths, and fears about using drama in the classroom and offers suggestions that counteract them. Royka suggests that dramatic activities may be more successful if viewed from a different perspective (i.e. as ‘communication games’). Royka’s article is unbiased, providing arguments and counterarguments and is important because it is one of the few articles that directly addresses using drama activities with ESL learners.
Schwarzer, David. “Best Practices for Teaching the ‘Whole’ Adult ESL Learner.” New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 121 (2009): 25-33. Web.
David Schwarzer is an associate professor, who teaches reading in multilingual settings, at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. His article describes some of the best practices for teaching adults in ESL classrooms and is grounded in research on adult second-language acquisition and whole-language principles. His work is vital, because it provides a vignette of a stereotypical ESL classroom, addresses the concept of “communicative language teaching” (CLT), and explains excellent techniques for teaching ESL while supporting them with research and providing background on why they work.
SpokenSkills. In Spot Development, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <www.spokenskills.com>
Spoken Skills is an online program for ESL students and teachers. The website includes a page of free activities for students to complete in order to improve their language skills. The website does not offer a large amount of resources for using drama in the classroom, but shows videos of drama activities being used successfully with adults. There are also several activities that could easily be adapted for use in dramatic improvisational activities.
Spolin, Viola. Theatre Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, Illinois: . Northwestern University Press, 1986. Print.
Viola Spolin helped to build the foundation for modern improvisational theatre. She has published several books on improvisational activities and has presented workshops on theatre games for the National Council for English Teachers, and received commendations for President Ronald Reagan for her work. This book of activities provides a variety of activities for teachers to incorporate in their classrooms. Several of the games presented within the book would be appropriate activities for teaching language.