Writing English Drama Scripts in ESL Class

English learners need to use their English in productive settings to improve their communicative skills. One of the most fun ways to do this is by working on collaborative projects. Students work together towards some tangible goal such as a business presentation, creating a power point slide or by performing a short work for each other. This lesson plan focuses on helping students write a short script, practice the dialogue and perform for fellow students.

Having students perform a short drama script that they've developed combines a number of production skills through working in groups. Some of the territory covered includes:

  • Writing skills - writing up the script
  • Pronunciation - working on stress and intonation when acting
  • Focus on specific terminology depending on subject - including target vocabulary taken from previous lessons
  • Negotiation skills with other students - working together to choose a romantic film, choosing appropriate language for lines
  • Improving confidence - acting in front of others

This activity is especially useful after students have been studying a particular topic area over a period of time. In the example lesson, I've chosen romantic films for classes that have been developing their understanding of relationships. It's best to start off by exploring related vocabulary through the use of vocabulary trees and related exercises.

Once students have expanded their vocabulary knowledge, they can work on speaking about relationships through the use of modal verbs of deduction for giving advice. Finally, students can put together their newly won knowledge by putting it all together creating a script on their own. Here's the lesson plan:

Aim: Building conversational and team working skills in English

Activity: Creating an English drama script based on a romantic film

Level: Intermediate to advanced level learners

Outline:

  • Ask students to name a romantic film. Make sure that most if not all of the students are familiar with the film.
  • As a class, have the students choose a film with a limited (best two, three, or four) characters that is crucial to overall plot of the film.
  • Write the characters up on the board as in a dialogue between the characters.
  • Solicit lines from the class for a short portion of the scene. Encourage students to use vocabulary they've learned throughout the course of the past few lessons.
  • Read the lines dramatically, have students practice the lines in their own small groups. Keep the focus on the "acting" to help focus on stress and intonation in pronunciation.
  • Explain the project to the class. Stress that students should create the lines themselves, rather than try to find a clip from the film and reproduce the lines individually.
  • Pass out the project worksheet.
  • Have students access the internet to find the plot outlines on the site suggested below, or another movie spoiler site.
  • Once students have found the plot outlines, print out the outline so students can work together in groups to choose the appropriate scene.
  • Follow the directions below in the handout for the students.

Project: Writing a Drama Script

You’re going to write your own script for a scene from a movie about a romantic relationship. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to http://www.themoviespoiler.com.
  2. Choose a romantic movie that you already know.
  3. Read through the movie description and choose one short scene (or paragraph) from the description to write a script for.
  4. Choose your characters. There should be one character for each person in your group.
  5. Write the script using the description as your guideline. Try to imagine what each person would say in that situation.
  6. Practice your script in your group until you feel comfortable with your lines.
  7. Get up and perform! You’re a STAR baby!! Next stop: Hollywood!