Using Improvisational Exercises for Increasing Speaking and Listening Skills
Keywords: Improv, games, listening skills, speaking skills, comedy, acting, spontaneous speech
Pamila J. Florea
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yong-In, South Korea
Pamila Florea is a Lecturer at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a former psychotherapist and social worker. Her main research interests are in spontaneous production skills, the use of creative writing, and the juncture where learning and joy meet. She has studied Improvisation with comedy Sportz in Philadelphia (USA)
If language learners do not interact with the material they are learning, it is difficult for them to understand and integrate it. In classes where students are reluctant to speak, it is often helpful to integrate a stem or other structure to encourage this skill. Acting and Comedy improvisational exercises allow students of all abilities and interests to participate and make manifest grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation lessons in a fun and realistic way,right away. By using acting and comedy improvisational techniques, students not only are provided that structure but are encouraged to speak quickly and decisively, thus decreasing their reliance on their native language and allowing them to utilize the vocabulary and grammatical structures of the target language more naturally. This paper explores the philosophy of improvisational exercises as well as ways to foster spontaneous speech and increase listening skills for language learners. Multiple formats for specific patterns will be discussed including the use of nonsense words, stem completion, and cooperation. The writer will show how these techniques naturally require students to attend to listening as well as contextual cues as secondary benefit.