Drama in the ESL classroom


Steph Earnshaw has written a series of blog postings for us which will be appearing once a week on our blog.

Steph is a teacher and teacher trainer in the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan, also known as the land of the thunder dragon. She teaches students from 5 years to 45 years old in a school, a college, an adult education centre and a monastery. Steph worked for MEC as a trainer from 2007 – 2009.


Drama in the ESL classroom is a site designed to help English language teachers incorporate drama into their lessons. The handouts and other materials are free to use.

The good thing about this site is that it acts as a portal for finding other useful drama in ELT websites. For example, in the Plays section there are some links to ready-to-go scripts and role plays like this one on bogglesworldesl.com which is about visiting the doctor. There are also links to longer scripts like this one from aaronshep.com.It’s called Master Man: a tall tale of Nigeria and, due to its length and vocabulary, would be more appropriate for learners of intermediate level and above. You’d probably need to consider doing longer scripts like this over more than one lesson. There are nine characters in the play so if your class is larger than this you’d need to have different groups. Alternatively you could use more than one play and have each group perform their play to the others, who take notes and write a synopsis at the end. Props are not essential but it could be good fun making them! Another link in the Plays section of Drama in the ESL classroom takes you to the drama page of eslflow.com, where you can find PDFs and web pages of role plays for general and business English.

There are also some good resources on the drama and role play page of eslsite.com.There’s a fun activity on using mime, as well as many ready-to-use role play activities.

Role plays are normally improvised using vocabulary you have learnt during the lesson. As an extension activity it might be useful to get students to write a script and turn their role play into a piece of drama. For example this role play, called Extenuating circumstances, might inspire some interesting scripts.

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