I used to call it Improvisational ESL when I was referring to the actual classes. This was probably because I was teaching my students the fine art of improvising in English.
I didn’t want to feel trapped by the accepted interpretations of my work as an ESL teacher. I was not satisfied with what others told me would work, I had to find out first if they were right, second if I could offer an alternative.
Reinterpret: Shedding new light on
an old thought
I began to take concepts such as grammar, pronunciation,listening, speaking and redefine them, both for myself and my students.
- Grammar became a discovery of patterns.
- Pronunciation became vocal dance lessons.
- Listening became the recognition of some, then more, then more of already learned material.
- Speaking became theatre.
Speaking as theatre
It is there that Interpretive ESL teaching has its basis. Theatre is an art that can include all arts, music, painting, dance, drama, comedy, voice, interpretation. Interpretive ESL is a training program quite similar to that which actors and actresses go through: movement, voice, memory, interpretation, communication, understanding, listening, speaking.
So many times I’ve had fellow teachers tell me that what I do is more because of who I am, my own training and formation, impossible for anyone else to do. Perhaps this is true; however, I am not sharing a method, I am not giving a gimmick that will work if you follow the instructions.