We are delighted to announce that Power-Up: Drama Games in Language Teaching has won the prestigious English Speaking Union Language Award for 'Best Resource for Teachers' 2018!
The ESU's biennial English Language Awards celebrate and reward the best in innovation and good practice in ELT, and the award ceremony took place in London on Tuesday 20 November.
Power-Up: Drama Games in Language Teaching is a 3-week NILE Online course is written and taught by David Farmer of Drama Resource, and after collecting the award he finds time to tell us more about the background to the course and his thoughts so far.
David has always used drama as a teaching method as a primary school teacher, actor, director and writer. He ran a theatre-in-education company for 24 years, touring plays and workshops to schools, theatres and festivals but now he is freelance through his company Drama Resource, which, as he says “involves a little bit of everything”.
David discovered almost by accident that drama is a very effective method for teaching English and after many years of sharing this approach with teachers and students, NILE asked him if he could develop an online course. “No”, he said “because drama is all about live interaction!” However after trying out a couple of webinars he began to see a way forward. And here we are, award in hand!
With participants’ permission, he started videoing all his workshops and after a year he had enough material. "Then I started the mammoth process of collating and editing the footage. As well as video editing I also had to learn how to create a course on NILE's platform. But I enjoy the challenge and opportunity that new technology offers."
So what has he learnt?
"I discovered that an online course doesn’t have to be a static thing. It changes according to the input of participants and the interaction between them."
"We get teachers from across the world with widely varying levels of experience on our courses, united by their interest in using drama in the language-learning classroom. They can come together online to discuss their teaching situations and their needs with each other, to share resources and ideas. As part of the course they create lesson plans on any theme they are interested in and as a result we are generating a bank of really varied lesson plans".
On winning the award, he continues: "It was incredibly gratifying to receive this recognition for the course and for drama teaching. We’ve only been running the course for a few months and I think we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what can be achieved. I hope that the award will bring Power-Up: Drama Games in Language Teaching and our teaching methods to the attention of more teachers across the world so that I can continue to share the ideas online as well as in live situations."
Johanna Stirling, NILE Online Academic Manager, says, “David has done a fantastic job of sharing his expertise through our online platform. He really explored how he could use our interactive digital tools to help teachers learn about and share new drama experiences in the language classroom. I think the videos he made are a huge plus - getting to see a drama game being played, with a spoken commentary, is very different to just reading about it. It gives teachers much more confidence to try the games out. And feedback so far tells us that they are certainly doing that.”
The Power-Up series of online courses are collaborations between ELT experts with the aim of "powering-up" a new set of teaching skills in a short space of time. The next Power-Up: Drama Games in Language Teaching is scheduled for January 2019.
Main photograph: David Farmer and Johanna Stirling. Photo credit: ©Gigi Gianella, ESU 2018