Dramatic Speech Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

The opportunity to speak in front of others can be can be beneficial for students in a number of ways. This lesson provides dramatic speech activities teachers can use in class.

Dramatically Speaking

There are many ways you can utilize dramatic speech in your classroom. Dramatic speech can serve as a chance to practice public speaking, an opportunity for assessment, or even as a way for students to express creativity.

If your learners are completely new to the idea of dramatic speech, it can be helpful to show them a few examples. Audio or video recordings of dramatic speeches can be helpful, but be sure to choose materials that are appropriate. For instance, if a lengthy Shakespeare soliloquy is likely to bore your students, you may want to show them a monologue from a modern play instead.

Although not specifically dramatic, political, or motivational speeches, speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Sir Winston Churchill, for example, can help students get a feel for pacing and meter. Providing students with some context for dramatic speech before using the other activities in this lesson will give them a basis upon which to build.

Dramatic Apery

Imitation, especially for younger learners, may help them gain a better grasp on dramatic speech.

  1. Ask students to find and select a preexisting dramatic speech.
  2. Students should tell you the name of the speech and speaker so that you have time to find an audio or a video recording.
  3. Allow students a few days to create transcripts of their speeches (if one is not available) and to practice their deliveries.
  4. While students are preparing their speeches, try to find as many recordings of their selections as you can.
  5. After each student gives his or her speech, show the class an audio or a video recording of the same speech and discuss the differences between the student's delivery and the original speaker's delivery. During this step, it's important not to overly criticize a student for not being as good as the original speaker, but rather to highlight areas that could be improved.

Dramatic Originals

  1. Have each student brainstorm three original ideas for a dramatic speech.
  2. Organize students into small groups and have them discuss their ideas with each other.
  3. As part of the group discussions, students should narrow down their ideas from three to one.
  4. Have students work on their speeches individually.
  5. Re-organize students into small groups, but make sure the group members are different from those in the brainstorming step.
  6. In small groups, students should practice their speeches and provide constructive feedback for making them tighter and more effective.
  7. Finally, give each student time to perform his or her dramatic speech in front of the entire class.

Conclude the activity with a discussion about how the two group sessions affected the choices students made and whether students found peer feedback to be a help or a hindrance during the brainstorming and speechwriting processes.

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