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The Benefits of Using Drama in the Classroom!

How to Engage and Motivate Learners using Drama Techniques

It is very easy to get obsessed with analysing and correcting students, but how can we engage learners and get them into a state of ‘flow’ where they are truly thinking about the tasks set and language to communicate and have meaningful interactions. 

Using drama can breakdown cultural barriers and motivate students to feel relaxed and more confident.  There are three main approaches to using drama in lessons to achieve positive outcomes for learners; Theatrical, Process Approach and Improvisation. 


I believe using drama (role plays and games) can take the learners and teachers out of their ‘head’ and allow the body to guide them into insights that are not always apparent through conscious thinking. . 


It is vital to start the class off from the first lesson doing activities (outlined below) in order to avoid learners feeling nervous and resistant. Some argue that it is possibly problematic to get students to do these activities due to cultural considerations, however its use from day-one avoids these issues.




  1. Icebreaker - Students walk around the room like they have had a good day,  acknowledging other students, saying hello or ignoring each other, then picking two people and trying to keep equal distance by being in the middle of each other. (This builds rapport).

  2. Mirroring - In pairs, students mirror each other. One taking the role of leader, then the other as leader, then no leaders. (Builds connection and confidence) .

  3. Spaghetti - In a circle students face inwards. The teacher asks each student to say ‘spaghetti’ in a different emotion e.g. say ‘spaghetti’ as if you were sad, happy, a superhero, depressed.  (Useful for practicing vocabulary connected to emotions) .

  4. Let’s ___ - Students face inwards and repeat Let’s, for example, ‘ dig a hole’  then all the students say ‘Yes, Let’s dig a hole.’ Students then mime the activities and then another student say’s ‘Lets____ and chooses another activity. (Useful for practice of verbs and collocations).

  5. Good day / Bad day - Teacher lists jobs on the board depending on the number of students.  Half the class stand outward (an inner circle) and the rest of the students partner up with those on the inner and create an outer circle.  The instructor then gives inner circle students roles dependent on the jobs which are boarded. Those on the outer circle are either having a good day or a bad day. They must interact with those on the inner circle. This is an opportunity to monitor for language. Then the roles are changed and the outer circle moves one place to do the activity again. (Teacher monitors for language, errors and emergent language for feedback after the activity).  

  6. Acting out a Role - Teacher writes on the board a list of different places and people.  In groups students act out being in different places depending on a number given by the throw of dice. The students then watch each other in these places for a minute and the various interactions which take place. This works particularly well if there are props available like hats etc. (Teacher monitors for language, errors and emergent language for feedback after the activities) .

  7. TV Show - Students are asked for a presenter and two volunteers. The volunteers must be an owner and a pet. The presenter begins buy introducing the owner and their pet and asking some questions. The students (the audience) must then ask questions to the owner and their pet. (This is good for making, practicing asking and answering questions).






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