The parents were surprised and delighted.
We did our final English show of this education year and we used your short plays. Children enjoyed their roles and we had big applause from parents. We used 'Story Time', 'Quiet Time', 'In the Library' and 'Doctor, Doctor'. The parents were surprised and delighted by what I did. Although they couldn't understand us, they didn't get bored, because plays are both short and very enjoyable. Thanks for everything. Your ideas, ways of teaching a new language and techniques are really very helpful, thank u so much again.
(The school website: http://muratkolukilkokulu.meb.k12.tr)
Inci Ozkan, MILLÎ EGITIM BAKANLIGI ISTANBUL - BAKIRKÖY - MURAT KÖLÜK ILKOKULU
Doing really well
I'm doing really well with my English workshop using your plays. Thanks again.
Loreto Ibieta, www.colegiocahuala.cl June 2015
Interactive and students are soooo thrilled
The plays are so interactive, kids really enjoy acting them. I have already done some plays with my students and they are sooooo thrilled about them, they love them!!!
Marija Zivkovic, May 2015
I am using the plays and really enjoying them. I teach from home in Lanzarote and have about 50 students. Two of my groups (4-6kids) are 2 and 3 years old! Some still in nappies!! The Birthday party was a huge success and we used a doll for the birthday girl. It worked really well. Love your work.
Darlene Kist, Lanzarote. September 2014
The parents marvel at the kids' confidence during their performance
It has been three years or more since I have been using your materials. They are GREAT and have been producing FANTASTIC results with kids as young as 3 and as old as 18 - or even older! My success as an English language drama teacher to czech children is in large part down to YOU and your wonderful plays. I have staged five performances in the past year, and the kids and their parents are ALWAYS delighted. The parents marvel at the kids' confidence during their performance. Not to mention the complex structures they are able to use in a foreign language! Thank you again!
Eurydice Prentoulis, Czech Republic, May 2014
Huge success and exuberant personalities under control!
Just a quick email of thanks to say I purchased the book of plays during the holidays and used it for the first time Thursday night with my small group of 12 year olds and it was a huge success. We started with the Easy restaurant play and they really got fully into character. Their exuberant personalities, which can be sometimes a challenge to keep under control, were perfect in this context and I received very pleasing feedback from parents too.
Karen Atkinson in Nantes, March 2014
'Absolutely happy' and looking forward to the next one
My 6-7 year old children were absolutely happy to play Ready Steady Go (I was amazed that they learned the script in 45 minutes) and are looking forward being robots as I promised them.
Lioubov Vereshchagina, Saint Petersbourg, Russia
My students asked to do it again
I did that play (Ready Steady go!) with my children's class yesterday evening and it worked really well. They absolutely loved it and I wished I'd taken my camera as, by the end of the lesson, they were all sitting in their pretend car with a fine array of ski hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, over-sized gloves, etc. They looked like film stars! Anyway, they've asked to do it again next week so a sure sign that they enjoyed themselves.
Miranda Goodwin, France
Spectator's award in Prague
We have had GREAT success at the theatre festival in Prague, the capital of the Czech republic, with some of your sketches. We were given the Spectator's Award yesterday! Thank you very much!
Vladimíra Kasalová, Czech Republic
Fun approach through theatre
Since discovering your materials I enjoy the planning...and love the teaching. It uses the fun approach I believe in through the theatre work I have done, and you have given me the confidence to know it can be applied to language learning for this age group. The kids love it and so do the parents!
Joanna Simm, France
Helped the kids build confidence speaking
The children in my beginners' English class had such fun doing your free skit 'Ready Steady Go!' They were begging me for a skit. 'The Robot' was perfect and so simple to do. It really helped the kids build confidence in their ability to speak English. Thanks for making us look good!
Becky Good, Battambang, Cambodia
The plays were a great success and I intend to keep having fun with them. Each of my classes put the play on for the school and the parents! Thank you for your great ideas.
Michele Hain, Germany
It's amazing to see the confidence build
Just wanted to let you know how I went with my 1st play "Professions"! It was great .. The 1st class was a bit nervy and it did not help with the Chinese teacher saying, 'Are you sure that they can do this?' With that negativity I kindly removed her from the next two classes and the kids loved it. I really got them to ham it up when they said "Hey girls" etc, and they laughed and laughed. They managed the vocab great and I knew it would work as I had taught them the vocab previously. It's amazing to see the confidence it builds in them. At the end of one lesson I had one little girl come up to me and say, "Miss Cathy I am a dancer," and she showed me some wonderful dance moves. The stories are great too....you are a wonder thank you so much!
Cathleen Molloy, China
I did the skit about going on the bus last week and we all loved it! Never have I had so many kids speaking in English so much and so quickly!
Tim McGuire, Florence, Italy
The play is the thing!
Terry Clayton reviews Shelley Vernon’s Fun Plays for Children Learning English and finds a feast of delights.
For most of my career I have been a teacher of one sort or another. Like any other teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for tools, tips, tricks and resources I can use to keep my classes fresh and effective. I was looking for something special when I came across Shelley Vernon’s Fun Plays for Children Learning English. I had been away from the classroom for some time but I had witnessed a general decline in quality of English language teaching in Thailand and most certainly in the general standard of English and I wondered if theatre might be the remedy.
In Thai culture, if it’s not sanook (fun), it isn’t worth doing. Conventional classroom teaching, even communicative teaching, tends not to reach a lot of Thai kids. On top of that, they have what Stephen Krashen calls a very high affective filter. In other words, they are scared to death to speak English. I had it in mind that theatre might be the way to go, but no resources. Enter stage left Shelley Vernon.
A little thrashing around the Internet brought me to Fun ESL Plays for Children. Instead of the usual sales hype, Shelley’s page features a video clip of some students acting out one of the plays (Red, Yellow, Green). That’s pretty much all the convincing I needed but I downloaded the free play in any case (Ready, Steady, Go). I tried it out with a mixed group of 8-12 year olds and it worked like a charm. I clicked to order as soon as I got home and literally within minutes had a copy of the plays on my drive.
There are 30 plays, each with a script and notes on language points and suggested props. There is a short introduction that addresses some common concerns teachers have expressed (Is it really ‘learning’? How will I maintain control? Will there be enough time?) and a rationale for why using drama in the classroom is effective. Shelly is not alone here. In the course of my Internet searching I came across some serious academic and research support for this approach. Shelley includes a list of references in the book and I will add a few of my own at the end of this review. Following the introduction is a short section with some tips and advice on how to use the plays and you’re off!
I have now tried a half a dozen of the plays. Kids in this age group (4-12) really do respond well (I thought the tea party would never end). Collecting the props presents no problem. You can find most of what you need around the house. The Robot head can be as simple as a shopping bag with holes cut for eyes. Kids this age don’t need much to kick start their imaginations. And I find these plays good for my own powers of imagination. Already I am adapting the plays and thinking of plots of my own.
I may not revolutionize language teaching in Thailand, but if I wanted to, this is the route I would go.
Not convinced yet?
Theatre pedagogy (Wikipedia)
in the United States by Astrid Ronke
Terry Clayton from redplough.com