• Susan Hillyard

So What's the P in SPICE!

We've already looked at the S as being for Social Development so now we need to look at how the P stands for Physical Development.


Every language has its own body language stemming from its culture and what it values in pragmatics, manners, privacy and protocol. So, as teachers of English we must explicitly teach English language body language!

Drama is the perfect vehicle for this!


As we work with English in Action not just listening to the teacher sitting in still, silent rows looking at each others' backs, we use the "Speaking Body in the Empty Space". Thus we get the Sts. up on their feet using their bodies to express meanings and feelings through gesture, both facial and body; we give them opportunities to experiment and explore body movements, posture and stance and also eye contact. We teach our Sts. the stagecraft of "blocking", that is the way people use their bodies vis a vis other people's bodies when interacting in a space. We teach them to be aware of how they walk, how they stand, how they move and how they send different messages to to the recipients of their messages by the look on their face and their body posture.



We discuss different cultures and how each culture operates in different ways and how easy it is to read the signs the wrong way and how easy it is to offend somebody else from a different culture simply by a differently interpreted sign. Having lived and worked in 5 very different cultures I've plenty of real stories to tell! There are different ways of sitting, different ways of greeting, different ways of pointing, different ways of calling people, different ways of touching and different ways of using the voice for effect.


Beyond these obvious benefits we also teach mime so that many weak students can thrive in English classes by using their other channels of expression not just wordy language, which they have found difficult to do in previous classes. Some of our shyiest, poorest, inhibited, vulnerable students suddenly blossom and find themselves included, and even lauded in the classroom. Their self confidence and self esteem increases exponentially and their social transformation can be astonishing.


Now, you can see how the SPICE is unfolding in natural ways where we teach the language and all its components not just the grammar, the vocabulary and the bare system. English becomes a holistic discipline and that's why Drama works!




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China, Mexico, Ecuador,Singapore, Uruguay, UK, Portugal, Hong Kong, Brazil, USA, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Perú, Saudi Arabia
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