|EMBODYING THE LANGUAGE. By the end of the improvisation English class, participants are enlivened and embodying the language. Here they are expressing our mantra from Laughter Yoga: Very good! Very good! Yeah! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)|
I've always described myself primarily as a visual learner, that is until I discovered InterPlay at the beginning of 2013 and learned that I take in vast quantities of information through my body. Surprisingly, I found that I am a kinesthetic learner. This discovery not only impacted the way I go about gathering new information in the world, it impacted my teaching ESL.
As an ESL instructor, I had already been working with improvisation (an acting tool) to help international students to get up from their desks and to "move" and "be" in the English language. But InterPlay gave me a new sense of how to talk about this way of using and learning English. The phrase EMBODY THE LANGUAGE emerged for me.
Having taught ESL for more than 20 years, I finally arrived at my zenith, the culmination of all my years of instruction--I had THE VISION, one I truly believed in for meaningful, successful language learning...
Language learning takes place in the midst of FUN! Enlivened learners and instructors engage powerfully. As an instructor, I needed to be taking risks, moving away from the podium and into the cluster of student activity. Then after asking the students to step up and away from desks, computers, note taking and to be "open" to others is when surprising and meaningful communications occur.
Engaging everyone in simple physical movement combined with language exercises is the "good" kind of challenge leading to excitement. Magic appears in the room of EMBODIED LANGUAGE LEARNERS...and INSTRUCTORS.
For the language workshop I conducted on Friday, January 31, 2014, at Georgia Tech for my former employer, The Language Institute, I introduced these concepts to the Brazilian educators in the first few minutes to prepare them for our EMBODIED LANGUAGE LEARNING experience:
Important Concepts for this Workshop
- KINESTHETIC LEARNING = Learning through physical activity/Doing
- FUN & PLAY & CREATIVE CHALLENGE = Positive learning outcomes
- FLUENCY of SELF (whole person) = LANGUAGE FLUENCY
- TEACHER = Facilitator/Coach/Participant/Witness
- STUDENT= Actor/Choice maker/Inventor/Leader/Follower/Witness
- EMBODYING THE LANGUAGE = Confidence/Empowerment
--> As I develop the concept of EMBODYING THE LANGUAGE, I introduce my logic behind using improv activities to teach English. In a developed 8-week ESL Improv class, we learn the rules of Improvisation and spend the weeks implementing them. Love, joy, and relationship ensue. And so does confident language use! Hurray for IMPROV ESL!
Reasons for Doing Improvisation: Actors do improvisation exercises to develop their creativity and ability to build scenes with other actors. English language learners can use improvisation tools to:
- access their existing reservoir of English vocabulary and grammar
- play with English in fun and exciting ways
- use American body language and intonation to increase the effectiveness of communications (embody the language)
- gain fluency and confidence
- develop personal and professional relationships
- exercise team building skills
|SMILING EDUCATORS AT THE END OF IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP. The conclusion of an Improv ESL class or workshop is quite satisfying. We have spent the time meaningfully, had fun, and been enlivened. (photo by Beryl Martinson)|