THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The GlottoDrama project was born from the recognition of national and international experience in the application of theatre to language teaching. The recurring results from these teaching experiments have shown the potentiality of such an approach for language learning but have also highlighted the limitation of the experience when conducted without the support of acting professionals. The partnership that brought the GlottoDrama project to life, arose from the common need to deepen this experience, going beyond the simple theatre in foreign language formula that risks shadowing the acting aspect in preference for the linguistic and formal aspect. The idea is to integrate into the didactic course specific work on recital aspects (voice pitch, diction, gestural art etc) that will stimulate the ability to carry out linguistic acts suitable for real communication situations, including paralinguistic aspects, with a higher level of command of expressive means and a greater awareness of their pragmatic effect. The flexibility of the use of GlottoDrama must also be emphasized: it can be adapted to any level of knowledge and to any educational context: from elementary levels of study for familiarization of the language, to higher levels for a greater command of linguistic and transgrammatical aspects. GlottoDrama can be conceived as a principal language course but also as a parallel activity, integrating with courses based on different and already established methodologies. It does not conflict with any learning programs already in existence in the various European educational systems, but offers instead a new learning opportunity with the principal aim of attaining oral proficiency.
The Glottodramma project aims to develop and test an innovative methodology for teaching foreign languages that will integrate conventional communicative learning processes with the dynamics of the applied techniques of Theatre Arts.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- creating, testing and scientifically formalizing an innovative teaching methodology (first target language: Italian)
- comparing results with other teaching methods: a qualitative and quantitative evaluation (pilot and control classes)
- producing specific teaching support materials (books and an online library of teaching resources)
- training teachers in the method to enable schools to organize their own Glottodrama courses
The Glottodrama project comes from the acknowledgement of the pedagogical value of drama in language teaching. This kind of teaching applications revealed the potentiality of this approach as well as its limits due to the fact that these experiences are often carried out without the support of theatre professionals. The outcome is to undervalue the acting aspects, favoring instead the linguistic and formal aspects. The general idea of Glottodrama. instead, is to bring into the teaching method specific work on the acting aspects (voice pitching, diction, gestures…) transferring in the class the professionalism of 2 experienced tutors (language and drama).
The relationship between the language teacher and the drama teacher represents the bringing together of drama resources and language teaching, two different worlds of knowledge and pedagogical experience. This cooperation and co-presence generates an interchange of competencies between specialized teachers. It is an opportunity for professional growth for both of them; the drama teacher has to face the problems encountered in the language teaching and the language teacher has to be able to handle the drama techniques and dynamics. One of the most important added values of this project is the perspective to build a third knowledge, a synthesis in progress between two different professional backgrounds.
A Glottodrama course requires 90 hours of tuition in order to develop the programme completely and it is characterized by the following step:
- finding a theatre or arranging a class-room for a drama-workhosp with a stage, a videocamera, teachers sitting in circle, a corner for the grammar books
- working with texts – initially short, the more complex - to allow students to become familiar with acting (input) and eventually letting them try a first attempt of performance
- discussing and explaining vocabulary and grammar aspects (linguistic reflection)
- moving from the perceived linguistic text to the acted linguistic text (performance)
- reflection about the mimic, the gestures and the intonation that the student-actor experimented with in order to express what he intended to communicate in an effective way (core part of the project: actor studio)
- text recital with the exchange of roles and characters (back to performance)
Glottodrama was experimented in pilot classes and compared to control groups that used different learning methodologies with the aim of monitoring the progress produced by adopting different methods. Since the objective was to set up an independent methodology, Glottodramma has drawn a learning path with clear objectives in terms of competences that have been measured by language testing instruments. This was a fundamental passage to meet the requirements of the various European school systems and avoid being restricted to the area of the merely complementary and playful experiences.n Nevertheless, this objective required the planning of specific tests ad hoc in order to carry out a more appropriate communication testing. These tests were able to evaluate not only the progress from the efficiency point of view (grammar accuracy), but also from the effectiveness point of view (capacity of pursuing communicative scopes in situational contexts ). This was done to match the recommendations of the CEFR: the acqusition of a practical communicative competence should be the real objective of language learning
The testing involved about 200 students from 4 countries (Italy, France, Romania, Greece) with different ages (from secondary school to adult education) and different language levels (from A1 to C1). Tests were administrated after completing a 90 hour pilot class of Glottodrama led by 2 teachers (one language teacher and one drama teacher) and results were compared with students of control classes (same amount of tuition) where other teaching methods were in use. Exams have been both written and oral and results have been worked out on a scale of 100 points. The average score of Glottodrama students in the written papers has been 81,92/100, just a little bit higher than the control classes average score (80,89). That is to say that the main focus of the Glottodrama Method on oral skills has not affected badly the acquisition of written skills.
Quite impressive the results of the oral papers where the Glottodrama students got an average score of 88,52/100 against an average score of 75,77/100 of the control classes. A substantial difference of about 13/100 that bears evidence of a better learning of oral skills by Glottodrama students.
These data are confirmed also on a global scale including all the 4 skills.
- the project makes students achieve oral skills faster and better
- achievement of written skills is equivalent if compared with more traditional methods
- the Glottodrama students achieve better results in oral skills.
The action of dissemination and transfer of the project results is still going on, through a development plan brought forth by the coordinating and partners. Within the Dissemination project "GLODISS", also funded by the LLP and now in the implementation phase, it was planned the experimentation of the method in 4 new countries (Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain and Portugal), the translation of materials into 8 languages for future application to other target languages, the creation of a web-international forum in English on "Drama & Theatre in foreign language teaching "and the organization of new conferences and training workshops for teachers in 8 countries. Furthermore, training courses were activated for foreign teachers in the context of Comenius / Grundtvig and other courses for Italian teachers, recognized by the Ministry of Education, and now in the preparation phase. In the period 2011/2012 is also expected to further spread the Glottodrama through the project LLP "Glonet", waiting for approval, which provides for the application of the method to new languages and the establishment of the first European association in this specific area: EATALL (European Association for Drama & Theatre Applied to Language Learning).
Receiving the EU Label has been has foster the coordinator to promote a third phase of the Glottodramma project, as a a long term strategy to transfer the Glottodrama method to the teaching of 8 new languages and cultures.
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