El dragón de Komodo; audio play.

Towards the end of the third year of my after school Spanish club in a primary school, the children had such different levels that the class became extremely difficult to teach. Between the Y6 who had done 3 years Spanish with me and the Y4 newcomer, there was such a gap, that one was getting bored and the newcomer was lost. After a couple of unsatisfactory lessons, I decided to change the format, to finish the year without frustration.

I am not sure if the idea came from the group, but the storyline was definitely not from me. They created the whole story and because they had full control of the project, they were really involved in it. We started with the ambitious aim to make a video, but it soon proved to be impossible, as they were always forgetting their props and costumes. So we decided to make an audio play, and it was actually very easy to make it lively by adding sounds from various free sound banks I found on the web.

We didn’t have much time at all, but it is a first trial that gives a good insight of how enriching this experience can be:

  • Children will respond fully if they are in charge of their learning process. They can use their imagination and creativity as they wish. All along I was the technician (for the language, the recording and the sound effects) and they did the rest.
  • We didn’t have time to learn the parts but just by thinking about the sentences, the vocabulary, rehearsing quite a lot to read properly (most of them even took their part home to rehearse), they learned a lot in little time. The magician is the one who only started Spanish a couple of lessons before.
  • In an ideal situation, when there is plenty of time, ideally it is better for the students to learn their parts and so to make them assimilate a variation of communicative language.
  • In this play there would have been various opportunities for lessons in between if we had time, for example on the topic of the clothes, the positions etc. You can end up having a term or year project around a play.
I found the experience very uplifting, especially seeing how much fun the children had. This project can be adapted to different ages and class sizes. If you have to deal with a whole class, it is possible to let the students work in groups to do their own play and keep the class cohesion by introducing each topics they would insert in their play in class time. The task could be differentiated according to the abilities, from a language frame to completely no support at all.


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