Spontaneous Speaking

Drama Activities in the Primary Classroom: for Confidence and Fluency

Two workshops for the Arbeitsgruppe Englisch an der Grundschule (Deutsches Schulamt, Südtirol)
Brixen 28. - 29.11.16
Meran 30.11. - 01.12.16
    The amateur tells the word
    the professional tells the story
    but the artist tells the listener!

Handout of skeletons

In the workshop you will need this four-page print-out of story skeletons.
Please print a copy and bring it with you.


  • First day (afternoon): Spontaneous speaking skills - learning by doing (includes work on body language, voice)
  • Second day (morning): Drama activities - learning together
  • Second day (afternoon): Creating a teaching module - small group work, presentation of results

Rules of storytelling?

There are TWO rules of storytelling:
  • Rule no. 1: There are NO rules of storytelling! (Except rule no. 2)
  • Rule no. 2: Don't read. (Reading aloud in class is vitally important, but it is not storytelling.)
  • However, the points below may help you find a way to make your storytelling style even better.

    What to remember when telling a story

    This collection of reminders contains all the things you mentioned when analysing what I was doing to keep you listening:
    • the listener, and your responsibility to the listener
    • believe in your story - people will listen to you if you do
    • learn to live your story - a storyteller is more than a mere narrator
    • voice/body language: performance mode, not conversational mode
    • slower tempo, intonation, pauses
    • eye contact
    • quiet feet
    • limit descriptive detail, use repetition
    • don't worry about language - anxiety will make the telling flat
    • don't read! Even if the story changes, the listener doesn't know what you should have said
    The list above is to help you find what works for you (which may not be the same as what works for me).


    Articles I have published relating to young learners

    This article English teacher as storyteller: storytelling as an everyday classroom activity is based on my experience as a secondary school teacher, but also relates to teaching young learners

    Some further useful links


    72 printable flashcards, free to download


    There are many available on the internet, here are just a few links, the first four are free to download:

    More classroom activities and methodology

      David Heathfield, the original leader of this workshop, generously sent me these links:
    • Books by Jason Anderson
    • Spontaneous Speaking by David Heathfield
    • Here a few of the book's activities suitable for young learners:
      Getting to Know Me (p. 12)
      Mirrors - variant 2 for vocabulary (p. 13)
      Listen and Remember - use after a story or activity (p. 14)
      Multi-Task Master (p. 18)
      Making Friends, Breaking Friends (p. 23)
      Cirle Introduction - fantasy pet, body parts, colours, what food (p. 66)
      My Pet (p. 68)
      Quick Personal Talks - my house, family, favourite garden, hobby (p. 85)
    • Creativity in the English Language Classroom (see David's article, Ch. 5: Personal and creative storytelling)

    What we did: activities

    To help you remember, here are most of the activities we did during the workshop:


    And now that you have finished the workshop, I'd be grateful for any comments/suggestions you have to make.
    Just send me a .
    Read about workshops for students.

    Send a for further information.

    Go here to receive an e-mail notification when new tales are added to the video gallery

    Go here for tales to watch

    Go here for a list of all tales included on this site

    Go here for a list of all tales included on this site

    You are a teacher? Read this: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling

    Want to record your own performances? Here are some suggestions