Thursday, January 15, 2015

Same Conversation, Part 2 - Movie Director

This is part 2 of a series of three posts.

My last post dealt with the technique Same Conversation and TPR - how to have the same conversation in a novel yet meaningful way when using TPR. What are some other ways outside of TPR?

Many textbooks have dialogue practice in them, but in most cases, the dialogues themselves are rather stilted. Here is another VERY easy and fun strategy of doing Same Conversation with textbook dialogues: 

I call this activity Movie Director. Carol Gaab demonstrated this at NTPRS last summer (I do not think that she called it "Movie Director"), but I remember doing skits like this (in English) at summer camp when I was growing up:
  1. Pick two students whom you think are good actors. (or as many are needed for the dialogue). Many times I will ask the class, "Whom in this class do you think will do a good job of acting?" 
  2. Project the dialogue or part of it - eight sentences is about right. 
  3. Have those students come up to the front of the room and simply read it aloud without any type of emotion. You may have to translate it into English first in order to establish meaning for the class.
  4. Now you as the Movie Director say in the target language, "Okay, that was good, but can you do it now loudly"?
  5. The actors read the dialogue aloud and act it out loudly
  6. Now you as the Movie Director say in the target language, "Okay, that was better, but this time do it happily?"
  7. The actors now act out the dialogue happily.
The idea is that after each time, you tell them to do it differently, such as sadly, angrily, romantically, slowly, quickly, etc.

  •  It is absolutely hilarious watching students act out the same dialogue differently each time, and it makes reading through a dialogue less "painful." 
  • The class is engaged in watching the dialogue acted out differently each time, when in reality, it is hearing the same dialogue over and over again, thus getting in the necessary repetitions of language needed for subconscious acquisition. This is also a great way to work with adverbs. 
  • Sometimes I ask students for different ways the dialogue can be acted out - you will be surprised at how many times you can have the same dialogue acted out differently. Suggesions have included: Valley Girl accents, Darth Vader/Yoda voices.

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