Improvisation games to learn a language

 

In a previous post I explained why I think that a “less-is-more” approach that focuses on learning well few things may be better than a “more-is-better” approach. In this post I want to explain a method from improvisation theatre that I use to apply the “less-is-more” approach.

I often play an improvisation game with my nephew. During the game I give my nephew, who is six years old, four random words, and he has to make up a story with these four words. For example let’s say that I suggest the words: “carrots”, “laptop”, “book”, and “tower”. My nephew would invent something like: There was a carrot that wanted a laptop but the only thing it could afford was a book in a tower…
My nephew really likes this game.

 

How this improvisation game can be used to learn a language?
It came to my mind that this game can be applied to learn a new language, let me explain how.
When I want to learn a new grammar rule, and more specifically the use of some grammatic structure, a strategy that I use is repeating many times sentences with the grammar rule, or structure, until somehow the rule becomes embedded in my brain. This method can be integrated with the improvisation game that I described above by asking someone, a friend or your private language teacher, to suggest you some words and than by making up sentences with that words and the rule that you want to learn.

 

Here is an example:
Let’s say that I want to learn the structure of a question in the present tense in English. My friend suggests me the words “carrot” and “book”. I would say: “do you have a book with carrot recipes?”
Then my friend would suggest me the word “elephant” and “laptop”. I would answer: “do you know that an elephant is sitting on your laptop?” an so on.

I invite readers to comment on this method, have you tried? does it work for you?

Peter

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