Come join the cast!”
Message from the President
The challenge for any teacher of a second language is how to wean our students
from their textbooks and enable them to take what they learn out of the
classroom and out into the "real" world. Various methods have
been devised for this, but theatre and drama provide two of the best available.
Workshopping skits, role-play and improvisation are marvelous tools for
learning and using language to communicate in real-life situations.
In February, 2006, my colleagues at the University of Victoria--Hiroko Noro (Pacific & Asian Studies), Cameron Culham (Continuing Studies), Yuko Igarashi (Linguistics)--and I organised a conference called "Performing Language: an International Conference on Drama and Theatre in Second Language Education." It was a resounding success. Theatre, linguists and language teachers came from across Canada, the United States, Europe, Israel and as far away as Asia and New Zealand to present papers and workshops on language and communication from a wide variety of theoretical and linguistic perspectives. We were also fortunate to have Oriza Hirata, one of Japan's greatest playwrights and directors, and an ardent advocate of drama education, as our keynote speaker.
We soon realized that there was wide interest in keeping this conversation going on the use of drama and theatre to teach second languages. Hence, this international association was established. This November we will be meeting again at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and we're looking forward to another exciting program.
Our association is open to those involved in both the practical and theoretical aspects of theatre and language education: teachers, actors, directors, playwrights, counsellors--anyone interested in how people communicate with one another across languages and cultures. “Come join the cast!”