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Tips for Teachers to Use Theatre Skills in Their Classrooms

Sometimes we think theatre techniques belong only on stage but finding ways to apply these activities to the classroom paradigm can increase engagement, imagination, and critical thinking. It’s also a wonderful way to break the ice with your students, get them moving around, interacting with each other and overall, just having fun with your subject matter. I’ve got tips for you teachers to use these theatre skills in your classrooms.

Behind the scenes

Most of the work that makes a classroom come alive happens behind the scenes! Any high-quality performance cannot merely depend on the actor’s presentation skills. The actor and his large support crew coordinates and contributes in the background preparation too.

In the same way, a teacher’s entry and subsequent performance in the classroom is dependent on the work s/he and her team do behind the scenes. Subject mastery is of vital importance but more importantly, preparation refers to preparing for the act of teaching, not preparing the subject matter alone per se.

Below are some theatre techniques that you can use in a variety of classes.

Just keep your students’ ages, comfort levels, and physical and linguistic abilities in mind. You will get to know what will work best with each group and what accommodations students might need. Don’t be afraid to play around with these activities to really make them your own.

  • Organise! Organise! Organise!

Chant the mantra with every breath and act on it. Arriving early for your class and preparing the lessons and activities in advance will help you get the kick start you need.

  • Get those props together

Think of your teaching material as props to make your act shine. Decorating the chalkboard, putting up pin board essentials and pre-arranging classroom furniture must be promptly checked off the to-do list.

Creating a vibrant classroom climate is like designing and erecting a stage set.

  • Free your mind

Pausing a moment before entering the classroom to clear your head. Take that moment to review the mental map of the day’s lesson and recommit yourself to the challenge of the teaching-learning process. Emptying the mind of any extraneous issues is the best way to start.

  • Take a break

Another important exercise is to align the body and the mind by practicing some deep breathing. Stand with your feet six inches apart, arms hanging by your sides and fingers unclenched, while breathing deeply. This tells your body and those in the audience that everything is alright.

 A quick mental rehearsal of the delivery of a successful lecture can boost energy levels.

Once you are relaxed, do some positive imaging about yourself as an effective teacher. Think of yourself as a teacher who knows her subject well, is ready to speak fluently and is equipped to respond to students’ questions.

  • Enter with an opening line

An opening line for a teacher is as important as it for an actor or a stand-up artist. A good opening line, even if it is a greeting, can set the right pace for the day’s lesson.

  • Find warm-up activities

Look for activities that are age and subject appropriate and use them to break the proverbial ice. Gently, but firmly set the expectations and clarify the consequences. Always check-in with your learners at various points during the session, asking questions and encouraging responses. Try and gauge their previous knowledge and check for understanding. This will help focus the attention of a scattered classroom.

Think of yourself as ‘guides on the side’ and not as a ‘sage on the stage’

Your learners are as nervous as you are, so play together. The best teaching isn’t formulaic; it’s personal, therefore, focus on connecting with your learners.

Once your entry is established, let your learners take center stage. One should prepare ahead of time for any task, whether it is cooking, acting or teaching. Teaching takes more than what meets the eye! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Stepping across that classroom threshold takes courage.

In order to take this action as a professional, it also requires knowledge, preparation, and practice. Creative drama, improvisation and storytelling are your best tools to hold you in good stead throughout your teaching career. Break a leg!


Read others activities to make every class engaging.

Teaching Math with Bingo Game
Budding Superheroes: A blockbuster opportunity to engage young minds
5 Fun activities to teach English spelling & grammar

Do you use some games or a different approach in your classroom? Share it with us in the comments or in an article.

Encouraging Educator

Written by kritikadhiwahar

Having completed my K-12 through CISCE, I pursued my B.A Honours degree in English Literature from Delhi University (Lady Shri Ram College). As a Design and Direction alumna of the National School of Drama, New Delhi I have collaborated with various designers and directors of national and international repute. Following a successful four year stint in the television industry as a creative director, I returned to my core passion ‘Theatre’.

I started conducting storytelling and theatre based campus/corporate workshops independently. I enhanced my facilitation skills by attending workshops on Psychodrama, Playback Theatre, DiE-Drama in Education, Phonics and Storytelling with several expert facilitators. Further, I did my Masters in English and Bachelors in Education and taught English at CBSE schools. This experience helped me consolidate my two passions: Theatre and Education. As the founder-facilitator of ‘A Teacher Prepares’ I have conducted many workshops enabling teachers to explore drama as a pedagogical tool in primary education.
In my current role as ELT and Theatre Trainer at Velammal New Gen Edu Network,   helping integrate drama and storytelling in the curriculum.

10 Comments

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  1. Dear Krithika
    My heartfelt wishes to you dear. I know that you are a theatre artist by birth. You are a born artist. As a friend i feel proud and happy to read your article . This article surely will facilitate teachers in their classroom activities.

  2. Dear Kritika
    Loved your article n tips. As a teacher, I am always looking forward to tips to engage my students in interactive sessions. Your words resonated with me immediately. Would you ever care to find time to visit my school for a teacher’s s workshop. Plz do respond.

  3. Dear Ms Kritika
    Your article is like a breath of fresh air to me. Having taught for nearly 22 years, yet I feel there is so much to learn during this journey.
    I thank you for writing this piece which has opened my eyes to a new path .
    Thank You,
    Rachna Yadav

  4. Wow!! Very impressive! What an inspiring perspective Kritika! Behind screen working is absolutely a non trivial one that could evidently reflect a teacher’s passion towards her/his profession. The approach that you handled here will certainly reach the readers well.

  5. “A quick mental rehearsal of the delivery of a successful lecture can boost energy levels.”
    How relevant and doable suggestions have been listed in your article!
    Loved reading it.
    I always tell my trainees in my workshops ‘BE A CLOWN’ and that works. Kids love you when you make them laugh and smile and they love the subject because they love you.
    Beautiful article indeed !

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