Monthly Archives: April 2008

Act it out-yoh

The blending of sigh and hooray is a mode of describing my feelings while I am typing this entry of blog. Hooray, I have come to an end of this course, ‘Plays and drama for the primary ESL classroom’ after gone through 14 weeks of trial and turbulence. Thanks God I am still alive. Let’s move on to my deep thought regarding the experience of drama group performance which was held at S.K. Bandar Utama Damansara (4) two weeks ago.

Sigh, what should I start with? I am in a state of topsy-turviness. I just feel demotivated right now. When I feel demotivated and down, the remedy is either pray or hunt for motivation books. For your information, self-help books always taught us: ‘be yourself’. I repeat: ‘be yourself’. Ironically, I cannot be my self this time especially when it comes to drama performance. I have to copy the character in the story and act it out. Copy? Perhaps the best way is to say I have to take on the role of the character based on the playscript and act it out using my own style.

I still remember vividly taking the role of father on the stage. My group drama performance is entitled ‘The burglar friend’. It is about a burglary happening in a house. A girl named Marie acted as an innocent girl encountering the burglar. She didn’t know what she did was wrong until the next morning. Basically, I needed to show my anger in front of the audience because of my innocent accomplice daughter. After I finished the performance, my pimples grew, indicating the frustration that I felt during the performance. My costume was very simple. I was just wearing formal attire with the blazer in order to show that my working place was in the office. Although I have to memorize only fifteen lines, I need to do lots of movements, especially turning. The fact that I walk around on stage while saying out my lines indicates that the feeling of frustration is not an easy job. I have always believed that practice makes perfect. With the motto on my mind, I managed to perform my role as a father excellently.

Credits shall be given to one of the members in the group ‘praising’ me stupid several times. I even feel no uneasy feeling if he said I am dumb. I thank him very much. Perhaps it sounds sarcastic here. The reason he called me stupid was my repeated mistakes of pronouncing words wrongly. Due to my Chinese background, I have difficulty with the words, namely the ‘th,’ ‘l,’ and ‘r’ sounds at the end of the words and sentence pronunciation. For instance, I was pronouncing ‘they’ instead of ‘there’. Not only that, I also didn’t say my lines with the correct intonation. I look very cool as a person, but it does not mean I can show my anger easily. Frankly speaking, I deserved a ‘compliment’. Instead, it inspired me to do well and prove them wrong. With the word ‘stupid’ nailed in my mind, I kept practising my lines many times with the correct pronunciation and intonation at home. Through this experience I realized one thing, which is that correct enunciation leads to a better facial expression during the performance. Indirectly, practising the character’s lines improved my communication skill as well. At last, I was succeeding in becoming an agitated father in front of the audience which was the pupils at the school. I managed to project my voice loud and clear on the stage. That’s all I want to say about my personal experience and what I encountered playing the character of the father. I have learnt the importance of voice projection. Like good actors, teachers need to use their voice appropriately in a variety of situations. Believe it or not, voice projection is a powerful tool to teach in the class. From time to time, I will spend a great deal of time working on ways to articulate the words clearly so that I have confidence to project my voice and make it sound more enthusiastic and interesting in order to grab the pupils’ attention. To put it in succinct way, I will consider voice projection as one of the elements in teaching ESL classroom in the future.

Overall, I feel satisfied with the performance of my group which outshines the other group. I would like to praise my group narrator, Narrendran for the job well done. He superbly took on his role. Through his role of character, I have learnt the importance of interaction between teachers and pupils. There was a girl named Jamie suggesting to the narrator to send the burglar to the police. Wanting to squeeze her face, I can say that she was also the narrator during the performance. Her suggestion shows a wise and rational judgement she had in mind. It also inspires me to read more to become a knowledgeable and wise teacher in handling the pupils. Just imagining that I had been the narrator on the stage, I doubt I could have grabbed the pupils’ attention well at that time. Besides that, Hozana took on her character, Marie, very well. Holding her spongebob pillow, she was the one innocent character scolded by me. Before coming to the performance, we already did lots of laughter during the practice. I was irritated by her uncontrolled smile and unable to show my anger somewhere between the lines. Two-thumbs up shall be given to Zulhusni for acting naturally as a burglar. Thanks also  to the policeman played by Haziq. He taught me lots on how to express my emotion accordingly. Lastly, thanks to my wife played by Syira. Although she is soft-spoken, she managed to testify to the situation and project her voice on that day. ‘Espirit de corps’ is the slogan that sums up my group enchanting performance. Good job guys!

We killed two birds with one stone. Not only has our group come out with an outstanding performance, but we have nailed the language focus very well with multiple word classes. The pupils not only felt entertained, but they were able to improve their language in term of writing skills. Through this, I can see clearly how drama can be a tool to teach in ESL classroom. Meanwhile, our group also injected the knowledge of drama techniques such as miming, freeze frame, and statue in our performance. Therefore, pupils gained knowledge while all of the actors applied the knowledge they had learnt in the subject.

In the nutshell, I have learnt and discovered a lot in this subject. It really enriched my artistic expression and cultivation of essential life skills which are teamwork, communication, critical thinking and imagination.The experience of my drama performance is definitely engraved in my mind and will be part of my sweetest memories to share with the others in the future. Perhaps it is time for me to think and adopt a variety of drama skills to win the attention and interest of my pupils toward the learning of English language. Hooray!!!