(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)
This activity is not only great for skill building, but also offers an opportunity for students to be creative. It’s also very entertaining and a complete change from other activities that students usually do in class.
After students have done the TPR (Total Physical Response) activity which I had describe in Part 1 , Taking TPR to Another Level of Involvement: Two Fun Lower-Level Activities (Part 1: Triads) they’ll be prepared for this one, “Movie Directors.”
In brief, these are the steps and the handout.
1) In the handout, there is a model in which the teacher and one student direct two students (who haven’t seen the script) in front of the class (the “stage”). The handout includes the script, which involves TRP, and is like a short (three-minute) movie or play. The other students watch as audience members.
2) In pairs or triads, students write their own short movie involving TPR commands.
3) When it is a pair’s turn to be the directors, they choose actors (who have not seen their script) to come to the “stage.” Then they read their scripts and the actors perform the actions.
(See the handout TPR Movie Director for all the details and the model)
Some benefits of this activity
Not only do the “actors” benefit from listening and acting out the commands, but the audience also hears them and sees them acted out, which can reinforce their listening skills. There is a lot of friendly laughing when an actor misunderstands a command and does something different because they audience has understood correctly and notices it.
There is potential for creativity for students as they write their scripts with their partners. (For example, one pair of directors had their actors follow their directions for doing a beauty pageant. Others had some actors playing the parts of pet animals.)
The activity involves not just listening, but also writing, reading and speaking skills.
For more engaging pair and small group, student-centered activities for lower-level students, see Basic Conversation Strategies .