Issue 1: Radio drama

By Angel Fan (LED Year 4, 2006-2007)

I love teaching English through radio drama for it is the first time when I realised that students speak (sometimes they just do not reply you at all!). Most of them are shy and they don’t want to be  in the spotlight. Using radio drama, they have no choice but to speak (in English, of course) while participating in the activity. It is very different from the normal classroom setting where teachers ask questions and expect students to answer. Through this enrichment activity, I can evaluate and correct their English once they speak. Here are some simplified steps which I follow when carrying out a radio drama:

During preparation:

  1. Look for drama scripts that suit students’ English proficiency level and interests, e.g. girls like gossiping stuff
  2. Pick some difficult lexical items and check their pronunciation and meaning for later explanation
  3. Find some music clips and sound effects that fit the selected script (in case some students can’t find any)
  4. Get familiar with the editing software such as “Audacity”

During  the process:

  1. Ask students to form groups. Play some warm-up games.
  2. Give half of the script to students and ask them to create the climax and ending parts
  3. Collect the scripts written by students; give comments and discuss the grammatical mistakes with students
  4. Teach the first half of the script (pronunciation, linking, tone and intonation)
  5. Assign roles/ draw lots, then students can practise in groups
  6. Ask students to record the script (using an MP3 player/ a microphone connected to computer) *not to use mobile phone’s recording device since it sounds horrible*
  7. Show students the basic operation of “Audacity” and students are encouraged to explore other features of the software
  8. Show a sample recording (before and after editing)
  9. Ask students to edit their recordings with “Audacity” and insert 3 or more music clips (introduction, change of scene, ending) and other sound effects
  10. Ask students to save the files in both “Audacity” format and mp3   format

When rounding up:

  1. Collect and listen to the final products, give comments and maybe a grade to students
  2. Post the recordings on a website

The above is just the way I introduce radio drama into local classrooms. I do hope that this information gives you a better knowledge on radio drama as an enhancement activity. From my experience, students really enjoy listening to their own voice. Although some students may laugh at their classmates, others generally listen carefully to the drama, noticing mistakes and making an effort to improve. The greatest joy of all is that you will find some students who are reluctant to speak in class but are actually good speakers in the radio dramas.

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