Be yourself in any language!
The family of European projects Glottodrama (LLP Multilateral 2007, Dissemination 2010 and Transfer of Innovation 2012), all developed with the financial support of the Lifelong Learning Programme, has introduced a new methodology to teach foreign languages through Drama. This method was conceived to overcome the most common problems related to the acquisition of oral skills in foreign language learning. The main idea was to challenge some long lasting and deeply rooted prejudices or pedagogical mistakes: the confusion between “language competence” and “communicative competence”, the separation in language learning between verbal codes and no-verbal codes, the overvaluation of written work and grammar study, the undervaluation of an active role of the students in the learning process, the lack of creativity and use of imagination in many class activities, the inadequate self- motivation of many students who fail to reach the expected objectives.
The Glottodrama method tries to overcome these problems through a holistic approach to language learning in which “mind” and “body” are both fully involved as it happens in any real communication situation. The first project, which started in 2007, was aimed at the creation, scientific examination and validation of a totally drama-based methodology to teach foreign languages by exploiting acting techniques and theatrical resources. The pedagogical assumptions of the method can be summarized in the formula of a communicative approach with a humanistic-affective orientation.
The method relies heavily on the concept of motivational learning, focusing on a strong personal and emotional involvement typical of any theatrical performance. Therefore it employs an emotional approach to acting training, like the Strasberg Method of the Actors Studio, and the final aim is to free the student’s entire personality by reducing the influence of affective filters which can hinder or prevent language learning . The core of the method is the structure of the teaching unit in which the sequence “performance-reflection-performance” replace the more common “reflection-performance-reflection” pattern. In other words, the foreign language is dealt with mostly as a “language-in-action”, a tool to pursue practical aims in meaningful situations.
Moreover, the method envisages a final acting performance which represents the most self-rewarding event in this learning experience. In addition, students also sit standard language exams in order to validate the acquired competence according to the scale of the CEFR. In fact, Glottodrama is not just a complementary activity but a self-standing method competing with other methodologies and able to prepare students to succeed, if required, in formal exams.
Following the impressive results in terms of improvement in oral skills, at the present stage of the project the method is being applied in eight countries to nine idioms as FL: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish.
A programme of training seminars for teachers is permanently organized by Novacultur in the framework of Erasmus + in-service training for schools and adult educators.