On 7 April 2015, LAKMA and LEU Faculty of Philology continued their cooperation by organizing a four-hour workshop on ELT in primary education for LEU English Philology students conducted by LAKMA member Alma Balnienė, teacher-expert at Šviesos Primary School. Alma Balnienė shared her experience of teaching English to young learners with LEU students who intend to become teachers of English. The students had an opportunity to try out a range of activities related to drama and story-telling which make learning more attractive and learner-friendly.
The workshop started with an ice-breaker (Elephants) and a warm-up activity (Slip-Slap-Click) which created a relaxed atmosphere and invloved the students into the workshop. The first part of the workshop focused on drama activities, such as Through a Face, Magic Scarf, Things – What are They? and The Room, which taught the future teachers how drama elements can be successfully integrated into a language class. At the end of the first part, students learned how to plan and organize a full drama-based lesson for young learners through the activity called The Leopard’s Drum. The students practiced the scripts, made their own puppets and acted out the story to their groupmates.
A number of story-telling activities (A Present in the Bag and The Story of the Things) were introduced in the second part of the workshop. The students had an opportunity to learn how learners’ speaking skills and creative thinking can be developed in a funny and attractive way. The most engaging activity – A Story in the Pockets – integrated all the knowledge and skills they had acquired during the workshop through creating and presenting their own stories.
Each activity was followed by a short reflection on it. The students discussed which class the activity was meant for, what language skills or content items it helped to develop etc. At the end of the workshop, the students evaluated the activities. The most favoured one was A Story in the Pockets.
The feedback on the workshop was highly positive: the students said they had broadened their understanding of the key principles of integrating drama and story-telling elements into a language lesson and learned of a number of ways of how to involve young learners and make their learning more interesting, captivating and beneficial.