SOAS Drama course – participants’ page

A message to the SOAS drama course participants

Hi everyone!

first of all, a big thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm last week. It was truly wonderful to see such a disparate team of people work so well together – disparate in the sense that our working circumstances and backgrounds are so different. I was really amazed by the work that you did, the imagination that you showed and the great performances of the sketches.

Secondly, I hope that after some reflection, you still think that some of the ideas, techniques and activities were valuable. Whether you did or didn’t, we would like to hear your thoughts, and this is the place to leave them.

The idea of this page is that we can all – trainers and trainees – enter into a dialogue about the work that we did and share more ideas as we try to develop them in different ways.

Also, it would be nice to keep up with where everyone is – especially those of you who are heading off somewhere new in the near future.

To begin with, some instant reactions to the week would be good to read – positive or otherwise. 🙂

Maria's magic T-shirt story...

26 thoughts on “SOAS Drama course – participants’ page

  1. Great idea Ken. And thanks for sharing all your brilliant ideas, your vast experience, and your energy. I was a real pleasure to see you in action!

    Apologies for my dreadful Greek/Russian/French accent!

    Hope we can do it all again some time.


    1. And Nick wins the prize for being fastest to write a comment. Your sketch accent was perfect – and your Danish is ossum! (I think that’s how it’s spelt) 😛

  2. Ken, I was so happy to join you all and enjoy the week of fun, entertainment, food for thought and reskilling activities. It was nice to feel I was back in the Summer School which I enjoyed thoroughly and learned so much from all those years ago! I will try out those things when and where I get a chance. Already thinking of usage for my present group. Would need adapting a lot! worth a try, I think. Right now, back at some other pressing matter; trying to prepare a presentation and write an essay on the topic of Home for my course in Anthropology. All the best to you and others. I’ve never blogged before, don’t know whether this is ok. A thought came to my mind as I was going through your Blogs. I have to do something similar to share my world of experiences in writing. Not done any of this type of work putting pen to paper for quite a while. Hope to see you in some other such event. Bye for now.

    1. Apu – you were a truly wonderful participant, and your Army captain will stay in the memory for a long, long time. Keep in touch!

  3. Hi guys!

    Just like to say a big thank you to you both! It was a great week – Looking forward to the next one…

    The blog page is a great idea. It would be great to hear what people do with the activities we did on the course.

    I’ll also send a summary of my sessions as soon as I can!

    1. Yes, Richard – great idea! I never got to ask you about the forum theatre exercises…

      Much love to you all.

      1. Hi Sara, I’ll let you know when I’m doing something similar and will send a breakdown as soon as I have a mo!

    2. Richard,

      I was totally impressed by your combination of useful classroom ideas and clear under-pinning philosophy, the bit I always seem to forget about. I hope the next few weeks aren’t too exhausting for you.

      1. Thanks Ken. It was great to share it with you and Nick, it’s not often you have other more experienced trainers with you in the room to draw on.

        I tried your activity ‘I’m Afraid you can’t’ today and my ESOL class loved it. We ended up giving each other advice on how to achieve things you want! Everyone left on a high. It provided a great framework for discussion and usful discourse management practice for the exam which is coming up. After doing the activity the learners really wanted to listen and respond to each other. Looking forward to trying more…

  4. Hi Ken! Hi Nick! Hi everyone else!

    I can’t tell you how wonderful that experience was for me. It was unforgettable.
    And I can’t stop saying: ‘Siiiii, este enfrente del mercado que esta por ahi’!

    I can’t promise too much internet-based communication from Iran, but I’ll try my best. It would be great to be able to use some of those techniques in my teaching over there.

    Warm wishes to all,


    1. Sara,

      your enthusiasm and energy on the course kept us all going. Very best wishes for the Iranian adventure, and do try to keep in touch.

  5. Hi everybody,
    yes, it really was the best week ever…
    On Monday 14th I had a lesson with a 2A Italian group and I couldn’t wait to try out some of the new ideas..
    Luckily I had a very willing class and we had such great fun with Ken’s “where are you/what are you doing” activity…or with Richard’s “disappearing dialogues”…or with Nick’s “mime race”.
    A big thank you to Ken, Nick and Richard for their creativity and for making the week soooooooo much fun!
    I hope to see you all again soon,
    a presto

    1. This is the feedback we love, Maria! 😛

      Well done for being brave enough to try them out so quickly.

      1. That’s fantastic Maria!

        You really must video your ‘Shirt’ story and put it on youtube so I can watch it again.

        In bocca al lupo!

  6. Hear Hear Maria,
    A beautiful live listening activity. I loved the way you got us all using the language from the story immediately. The Italian woman behind the bar thought we were all students of Italian. You’d have to change the ending I suppose, but I think this activity would work really well for any language.
    All the best,

  7. Right, I sincerely enjoyed the week and hope to have an opportunity to work with you all again in the future! Haven’t had too much time to reflect as I have a ton of deadlines this week and I leave for Egypt in the morning, but come July, just you wait…

    Thanks again to Ken, Nick and Richard, and to all of you and your wonderful and unique personalities for making it a laugh-filled and enlightening experience!

    1. Thanks Judson. It was great having someone with your interest and enthusiasm for drama techniques on the course.

      Enjoy Egypt! And let us know how you get on with the activities – also feel free to share any others you come across.

  8. It works!
    I was sat with my class in the week using the textbook I’d been asked to use and staring hopelessly at unit 3 ‘Applying for jobs’. The tasks were of the turgid kind often found in such language books i.e. writing a CV, writing a covering letter for a job application, a listening activity gap-fill from a job interview, and a role play interview. And you can imagine how the role play was set up: Student A turn to page 60 and follow the instructions, Student B turn to page 61 and follow the instructions. And the job they were applying for was a manager’s position in an expanding London gym! I looked at the textbook, looked at the students (in their early twenties) and thought ‘Not today!’ I could envisage the type of laboured efforts they would have to make and the unrewarding end product. I got them standing up asked what job they wanted to apply for, where is was, what the salary was, blah de blah then asked them to create a new identity for themsleves i.e. name, gender, nationality, educational background and experience and use that as the basis of the role play, witing the CV and covering letter. It worked. They produced a lot of work and seemed to be really engaged with communicating something even if it was make believe.

  9. Hi Ken,
    Just used your ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ activity with a large group of Italian and Spanish teenagers. It was a great focussing exercise and produced a fair few giggles. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Currently still traveling about, but presented my research at the Cutting Edges conference in Canterbury this last weekend and, for my first presentation, I think it went really well. The biggest thing that struck me was the number of folks who came up afterward who had their own stories of using drama of one kind or another with their students, and how much everyone enjoyed it…and more importantly, how much it seemed to help their students. One woman worked at a smaller school and did a lot of drama in her English classes, only to watch those specific students go on to take leadership roles and excel through the rest of their school career. They attributed it to an increased confidence they gained from her class, and still keep in contact with her almost ten years later!

    1. That’s great news, Judson – the more examples we hear of drama activities improving overall confidence in the learners, the better!

  11. Hi everyone,

    I tried an old favourite today, Nick’s Alibi activity. It turned a really reticent class into active and engaged learners! And they were really using the TL (past cont. past simple)! Great fun for me too!

    1. Hi everybody…
      I bet you are all very busy trying to make your students speak your TL
      2 very successful activities I have tried with my young reluctant students (stage 1 and 3 Italian)
      1. disappearing dialogue, (by the end of the activity everybody was speaking italian with such confidence and flair!)
      2. guess the end of my story
      First they had to guess the ending of the story I presented to them, and then they had to present their own funny/strange/misterious/ story without the ending and the rest of the group had to guess.
      The variety of the language that came out from that activity was unbelievable, we all had such great fun…it reminded me of the course at SOAS.
      cordiali saluti a tutti
      Maria Ursi Amesbury

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