Philip Steven Olson, Shirayuri University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Movie or TV drama script, vocabulary, reading, listening, speaking
  • Learner English level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Learner maturity level: University students
  • Preparation time: Thirty minutes to an hour
  • Activity time: One 90-minute university class
  • Materials: Any dialogue script

This activity is ideal for listening and speaking classes. By utilizing examples of naturally spoken language from TV dramas or movies, students can learn how to pronounce and catch difficult words in real life conversations and learn new vocabulary in context.


Step 1: Choose a dialogue scene from a TV drama or movie that can be acted out in a classroom. Copy the script selection into a document file.

Step 2: Edit the dialogue scene into a cloze activity by pulling out target vocabulary that you are teaching for pronunciation and meaning. Possible criteria for choosing vocabulary might for example include; natural speech sounds, phrasal verbs, and idioms.    

Step 3: Make a simple vocabulary matching exercise. This could be matching to English or Japanese definitions depending on the class level.

Step 4: Make a simple scoring criteria form for evaluating auditions on the spot.

Step 5: Make sure to set up audiovisual equipment and cue up the scene that shows the script selection.


Step 1: For student individual work, hand out the vocabulary exercise described in Step 3 above. Go over the correct answers afterward.   

Step 2: Hand out the cloze exercise worksheet from the selected script and put the students into pairs or threes, having them simply read the dialogue while trying to guess the words that might fit in the blanks. Go over the correct answers.

Step 3: Practice intonation, pronunciation, and fluency. Have the students read both roles.

Step 4: Show the selected scene of the TV drama or movie. Students are not only to focus on the fluency, intonation, and pronunciation of the actors, but also the scene itself and the actions in the scene. Shadowing is a useful method to use here. Show the scene two or three times, and you can even assign this as homework for preparation for auditions in subsequent classes.

Step 5: For the audition judging to be scored by the teacher, have students write their names and/or student numbers on the scoring criteria papers and collect the papers from their groups. The scoring is based on intonation, pronunciation, fluency, acting skill, and speaking volume. After the auditions, hand back the forms.              

Step 6: Students perform the auditions at the front of the classroom. Students act out the scene as closely as possible to what is seen in the drama selection.


For lower level classes, skip the cloze exercise by handing out the script with the selected words underlined. For classes that are reluctant to participate, make the acting worth more points.  Higher level students should try not to use scripts. This activity can be extended by selecting different sections of the script for students to choose from. Also, the auditions can be assigned to students to do as video projects.   

In Step 6 above, there is also room for many variations. Possibilities include creating a system for student evaluations and even setting up a TV gameshow-like scene.


Although recommended for at least intermediate level classes, this activity is also a lot of fun for lower level classes when encouraged to relax and have fun with the acting. It is an excellent activity for speaking performance practice — something that is difficult to encourage in the typical EFL classroom in Japan.