The Use of Improvisational Theatre Techniques in Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language
Keywords:improvisational theatre, didactics of the Italian language, teaching methods, cooperative learning, creativity
This article deals with the introduction of improvisational theatre (improv) techniques into the teaching of Italian as a foreign language. The first, theoretical part introduces improvisational theatre and the main principles that improvisers use in their work. Special attention is given to the pedagogy of improvisational theatre and the effect that improv often has on the group and individual. This is followed by some brief pedagogical and didactic theories that focus on the methods that are also used in improvisational theatre. These include Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, many of which are often neglected in the school environment, constructivism and its parallels to improv, but also the issues of creativity. The second part of the article focuses on practice. The techniques of improvisational theatre were used in a series of lessons at Gimnazija Ledina, a grammar school in Ljubljana. The aim of the research was to check the general response to the activities and the willingness to participate, as well as the impact on retention of the topics discussed. Some concrete examples are described, which can be modified based on specific contexts and needs. The last part includes some thoughts from the students and the author. At the very end of the article, the key elements that improv theatre can offer for teaching in schools, especially for Italian or other foreign languages, are mentioned. Nevertheless, there are some reservations about the study. Even if the results are not valid in every situation, the participants’ responses are a good starting point for further research in this area.
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