Archive for ‘PD’

January 12, 2010

Recovering Drama

Maybe living in the Southern Hemisphere is not that bad after all. The EVO Sessions held every year in January/February co-occur with my holidays, which makes it possible for me not only to read and interact and discuss and reflect and learn, but also to fully enjoy them.

This year I’ve signed up for two of them: Process Drama and Virtual Language Travel. On this post I’ll focus on the former.

Why I joined the session.

Many years ago I took drama classes. It was something I hadn’t planned or I hadn’t even dreamt of. Moreover, I would have stated I couldn’t act. A friend of mine was about to start to coordinate a drama group and I agreed to join it just to help him get to a meaningful number of members. The very first class I got hooked. Besides learning lots of things I had never suspected about myself, I learned something really important: anybody can perform drama. I’m not talking about being a great actor/actress, I’m just talking about performing drama.

At that time I started to use drama techniques in my classes. Sometimes through carefully planned lessons and many times spontaneously introducing an activity when I glimpsed the chance/need as the class was developing.

After quitting my drama classes I gradually stopped using drama in my EFL courses. I just missed the habit. I know how much students can benefit from drama. Being someone else frees you from the bonds you’ve built to construct your personality. As the person you are unties, your language unties as well.

When classes restart next March, I hope I will have recovered that healthy habit of taking my students into that trip through action and imagination.

Photo credit:  Johnson Cameraface

February 5, 2009

Images4Education. Week 3.

No matter what your teaching objectives might be, a class activity is always addressed to a certain group. Consequently, it’s usually difficult for me to design an activity when I’m on holidays.

Our task for week 3 was to create three slide shows using three different tools: Animoto, Slideshare and the slideshow in Big Huge Labs. As there were no students around to bring some inspiration, I decided to build a slideshow for me. Poetry was already in my mind when I read Sandburg meets Flickr, by David Jakes.  Poems and images go naturally together.

I like the brevity of Pound’s In a Station of the Metro. The brevity, the lively description and most of all the beauty he discovers in a scene which is, for me, quite ugly.

What I did was very simple: I replaced adjectives and nouns by images.

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Animoto is so easy to use, it gives you immediate satisfaction and the outcome is always attractive.

I also prepared a presentation and uploaded it to Slideshere. There I could include the photo credits. You can add a youtube video to slideshare presentations. That’s how I managed to include the Animoto show in the presentation. (The image quality is lost when you send your show to Youtube.)

Pound first published this poem in 1913, and I wondered if I could get some photos from The Commons. I thought it was great to see those pictures in the BigHugeLabs slideshow as the photo information appears as the slides play.

Here it is, you’ll have to follow the link: it’s not possible to embed a BigHugeLab show.

View slideshow

This last one was an interesting photo search. And it was then when I could place my hypothetical students. Digging into the past, not through history books, but through pictures showing everyday life.