Classroom performance activities are successful ways in having your students speak using English. It basically refers to activities in which students are required to, as the name implies, perform in front of their peers. It enhances students’ knowledge of the subject and learning content while, at the same time, develops their vocabulary, pronunciation and self-confidence.

Students enjoy classroom performance activities because they are not put on the spot to speak, that is, they can prepare ahead before the performance and they can collaborate with their classmates. If students are not used to performing in front of the class, it is necessary to start with activities that are easy and appropriate with their level before going to more complex tasks.

Here are some useful classroom performance activities:

1. Puppet Theater

Fun and learning using puppets are limitless. Puppets are a great means for promoting oral communication competence and confidence in speaking. Because students are hidden behind a puppet stage, they prevail over their shyness and forces them to improve their pronunciation and voice projection. What a great way to practice speaking!

Here’s a useful link on different ways to create puppets.

2. Dubbing

Even though I have just started integrating dubbing in my English lessons and still need improvement, I definitely recommend this fun and engaging activity!

Student-produced video such as dubbing is a task-based activity that has tremendous positive effects on students’ motivation and language acquisition. Letting students create dialogues for videos without a sound can be a fantastic opportunity to develop their linguistic skills.

3. Stage Play and Reader’s Theater

After series of drills, pair works and guided speaking activities, it is high time to move on to the next level. In contrast to puppet theater and dubbing activity, stage play gives students opportunity to face one of their greatest fears – the audience.

Play positively supports students’ social/emotional, physical, cognitive, language, and literacy skills, which are essential to their overall healthy development (Ginsburg, 2007; Packer Isenberg & Quisenberry, 2002).

4. Dramatic Monologue

Dramatic monologue is speech delivered by one person to a silent audience or listeners. In my literature class, I ask my students to choose a character from the novel we had been studying and reveal his/her emotions and feelings towards a particular situation. They created the monologue themselves and they surprised me with their creativity and understanding of the characters and the conflict of the story!

For me, delivering a monologue is the most challenging task for the kids. Unlike the aformentioned performance activities, doing a monologue means students are out in the open – ALONE!

Thus students learn how to be independent, creative and critical thinkers. When you think your students are ready, ask them to write and present a monologue. Give them a chance to speak and face the audience alone!

Do you know other performance activities that boost students speaking skills and self-confidence? Let’s hear them in the comments!

Author: Melchor Bernardo

Students call me Teacher Mel. After quitting law school, I moved to Vietnam to be with my first love – teaching English! This website is a bit of a copy of my teaching styles and philosophy. I live by the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

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