Julie O'Sullivan and Ann F. Burke have written an amazing handbook for acting in an ESL or EFL environment. It's
called, Stage by Stage and is published by Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH. The book takes
the ESL/EFL teacher, as the title suggests, through every important element of acting in a second language context starting
with relaxation and vocal exercises, through enticing movement and speech games, ideas for pair and group improvisations,
and ending with many, many wonderful suggestions about how to work with texts. It even includes scripts of short plays and
has an excellent annotated bibliography where teachers can find additional materials concerning drama, plays, and theoretical
work on the subject of drama for language teaching.
Duchess County Community College has an Office of Community Services that "offers a full variety of non-credit courses,
seminars and training programs for adults and an exciting mix of enrichment institutes, sport academies, and classes for children."
The courses offered run the gamut, literally, from A (Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling) to Y (yoga). In between are
business and computer courses, art and music, poetry, painting, photography, and languages including English as a second language.
That's where I found Julie.
The course Julie is teaching is called, Listening and Reading Comprehension Skills. The course descritpion
in the catalogue reads in part: "This module gives non-native students the opportunity to review and practice the reading,
writing and listening skills necessary to function effectivley in using the English language. The course is appropriate for
students of any skill level."
The students in class this night are from Mexico, Brazil, Venezuala, Poland, and Austria. Their skill level is from intermediate
to advanced and they come to Julie's class primarily to hone their communication skills. They know that communication
is not just words, but facial expression, movement, and gesture. That's what they will rehearse tonight. Of course, words
will be used as well.
|Julie (left) and students reading script
|While in the background, students work with movement
Julie O'Sullivan's Class