Wed 2nd April saw year 8 and 9 pupils from Brigshaw High and Halifax High schools meet at the Perform One studio, Leeds Metropolitan University to try out their acting skills and use their Spanish. The activity was organised as part of the Routes into Languages Project, a HEFCE funded initiative, which aims to show the benefits and excitement in learning languages and encourage young people to study them further.
The pupils arrived with their enthusiasm and their language skills and throughout the day worked in groups to write their own version of Don Quixote. The activities encouraged students to use vocabulary related to the drama, to communicate with each other and try out some acting techniques, assisted by Leeds Metropolitan Language Ambassadors.
Having known nothing of the play when they arrived, the day culminated in the pupils producing a fantastic performance of their very own Don Quixote, impressing both their own teachers and the Leeds Met staff!
A pupil commented: “I really enjoyed myself. I thought it was really fun and I would come and do it again!” A teacher mentioned that it gave pupils “the chance to use Spanish in a creative and imaginative way. More workshops would be great!”
At the end of the day Spanish tutor, Sebastián Rodríguez commented: “This workshop was about learning and practising Spanish in an effective way with creative and unconventional approaches. This session shows that Drama is a great way to boost students’ Spanish. According to Richard Courtney (1974) ‘Play, acting and thought are interrelated.’ I have used this to introduce one of the most important Spanish writers, Miguel de Cervantes, and his most known novel, Don Quixote, to the students. It is important for them to get know, not just the language but the Spanish culture too as part of their learning.
Drama can take several forms, but above all it should be a communicative activity where the learners can speak Spanish using the level they are working at. The students created their own dialogue with the language they learnt in school. It was great to see young people very motivated and working in a team to produce a play and very rewarding to see them helping and encouraging each other.”