Margaret Martin on Using Drama in the Adult English Language Classroom

Gwendolyn G. DeRosa

             Margaret Martin is an ESOL instructor at an IEP (Intensive English Program) at Xavier University.  She gave an insightful and practical session at the Ohio TESOL Conference on Friday, November 9th.  The session was titled “Not Enough Drama! Activities for multimodal communication.”  She said that students can sometimes be reserved about using multimodal communication.  Multimodal communication is using language, tone, facial expressions, gestures, proxemics, and coherence relations (such as cause and effect).  Her research and experience proved that not only do students need to learn how to use multimodal communication, but they can also enjoy this learning process.

Martin gave practical examples of two kinds of activities: Silent Activities and Layering Activities. She said that “silent activities promote attention.”

  1. Silent Activities include Chalk Talk, Brainstorming, and Slow-Motion Activities.
  2. Layering Activities include I Don’t Know, Taxi Driver, and Yes!

Martin stressed the importance of encouraging students to reflect on the activities.  In her session, she was able to explain how English language instructors can teach body language, which is key to communicative competence.

For a complete look at her process and to learn how to use these activities, please check out her PowerPoint Presentation at

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