Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drama Festival Fever

For the past several weeks I have been teaching my students a scene from the play, "The Blind Men and the Elephant." It's an adapted version for EFL students and includes several songs which they dance to. For the most part I have been having fun teaching my students to sing, dance, speak loudly and act. However, doing it this time as a team leader adds on more challenges. There is pressure for the students to perform well, and it comes from the Korean side of the school. As foreign teacher's we know that we can do our best, but the students will decide in the end how to perform.

However, I keep my chin up, work hard and hope that it will piece itself together in a functional way. Last year, when I was in the first grade, things turned out not so well. I blame this on that each foreign teacher was responsible for 2 groups to teach them the whole play. This was a daunting task as these little kids couldn't get through the whole thing each time we practiced. Plus our play was way more complicated with props they had to pick up, and standing positions that changed for nearly every scene. Needless to say not all the groups performed well last year. The Korean teacher's seemed to let that mishap slide, even though they frowned quite profusely.

This year, since I am in charge of organizing it, I decided to give each foreign teacher on the team a scene or two, to teach the students. There are six scenes and I divided them up into equal parts and what made sense in the story. That made 3 of the teacher's doing scenes and one designated as the "director" who will teach them everything (focusing on parts needing the most help). So far I find this scheme to be working well. I can focus on just my scene with the students, as they rotate from class to class. On Friday, nearly every group had their lines down memorized and the song movements in coordination. There were a few groups still lagging behind, but I blame it on their inability to focus. Certainly, I've gotten a work out every day by standing in front of a group of kids dancing and waving my arms around gesturing to them!

Next Monday and Tuesday will be our final days of practice, then Wednesday we will have a dress rehearsal all day. Thursday and Friday will be performance days.

If one were to look at the benefit of doing this on their English skills, I would say it is helping the low levels out a lot. They are getting actual quality time with the teacher on pronunciation and speech, then I think they would normally get in the regular classes. Also we have blended the high and low levels together, which I feel has helped the low's gain confidence and understand where their English could go.

For the most part I just want this to be over and to go back to my routine of teaching Math. Sure this is fun, but also quite repetitive and stressful. Ah well....that's life!


  1. My school is also having a performance and as an extremely new teacher I was totally shocked by how much importance the administration put on it. What surprised me most was that the homeroom teachers are putting together extremely elaborate dance routines that the children are taking time out of their classes to practice(it seems like they are skipping my class to practice a lot). It seems like the kid of thing that a dance, choir, or drama class should be putting on, not the homeroom teachers(or me). I can't wait for it to be over.

  2. I don't know what kind of school you work for, but the drama fest at mine is kind of also meant as a huge advertisement to recruit new students. I don't work at a hagwon, but a private Elementary school. It's a mix of promotion and English exercise for the students.


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