This week we have a very inspiring blog post written by long term, Hands Up Project volunteer in Beit Hanoun Prep Girls UNRWA School Gaza, Rinan Jamal. Rinan joined us for last Saturday’s SaturPLAY live together with some of her brilliant students. (You can watch it here https://www.facebook.com/917350095017969/videos/282505462841075/ )
The conversation about drama flowed so well that we didn’t actually have time to discuss Rinan’s current project which is about creating plays related to different units of the coursebook, ‘English for Palestine’ Luckily, Rinan agreed to write a blog post about it. Over to you Rinan….
What a lovely coincidence! My first blog on the HUP page marks EID AL ADHA, so happy Eid to all Muslims all over the world.
Drama plays a vital role in our lives as well as in teaching. It’s a basic component of language acquisition and of the development of the communicative competence of students. Drama has a significant part in exposing learners to authentic language, and in challenging them to act naturally and cooperatively.
Being a teacher of English for almost 17 years ,I used to do ordinary classroom teaching practices with simple activities, but everything changed when I joined the HUP in 2017. We had online sessions with volunteers from other countries .In addition to this we also participated in the playwriting competition three times – and this is the thing that polished my experience in drama and in writing scripts.
During my long experience as a teacher, I’ve noticed that students find a big difficulty in speaking skills and they hesitate to talk freely in front of others .Therefore, I made up my mind to overcome this obstacle with drama especially when I touched the magical impact of drama and acting on the English club girls. So I thought of transferring the idea to the 8th grade English coursebook, since -according to my students- it is the most difficult book.
I started using the core vocabulary , the main structures and the most common language functions ,then I converted them all in a form of short plays and dramatic scenes with some themes related to themes of these units .I wrote six plays out of 12 units ,and students acted them happily .I depended on simple devices and tools like zoom and green screen. But unfortunately , I’ve stopped since the school closure because of covid 19 crisis .Surely I will go on with my project when we come back to schools.
Here are some of the students’ opinions about this project;
Malak said, “I’ve never acted in English though I like acting. This experience is an outstanding one. It makes me love English more.”
Sara said, ”I have become self-confident when I speak in front of an audience.”
” I am no longer shy to speak English. These plays help me to remember my lessons better. ”Deema said.
This project will provide students with an excellent opportunity to develop their speaking skill and creativity, to express themselves freely, and to facilitate the coursebook activities.
In other words, these plays added life to the 8th grade coursebook. Here is an example of one of the plays. This play was written to go with Grade 8, Unit 10 ‘Back home in Palestine’ This unit has a big focus on language to describe people.