Using Drama in Education

“True education is where you tap into the talents of the learner.’-Athiemoolam Logamurthie

Athiemoolam Logamurthi facilitating a session

Day 3 of the 11th Pan African Literacy for All Conference brought in a spectacular topic using Tableaux to enhance literacy development by Athiemoolam Logamurthie from Nelson Mandela university among other topics that were discussed in the various sessions.

Drama in education is the use of drama to convey meaning through voice,gestures and actions usually within a classroom setting.

Strategies for including drama in education include tableaux,role play,improvisation and plays(theatre-in-education).I will shade more light on tableaux which is the least used among the mentioned strategies.

Tableaux is a frozen scene or simply a still picture. According to google,Tableaux is a group of models or motionless figures representing a scene from a story or from history.

Tableaux demonstration.Delegates had to identify what each character represented.

Tableaux enhances literacy development. It facilitates learner comprehension since they have to visualize the actions and events that they need.

A range of skills are involved in developing their sense,building and activating background knowledge and asking questions.

The tableaux creation process is quite simple and worthy of all the work;

-Start by identifying a a text to a theme or issue that you want to be discussed

-Attach reading material to a text

-Start discussion on the topic

-Divide text into scenes and act it out

-The facilitator asks learners what they get from a character.

-The characters too are asked what they are portraying.

This form of learning is quite captivating especially for the learners. It allows them to develop their thought process and engage at all levels.

I enjoyed this session because tableaux was a new term to me and I can`t wait to try it out in various workshops I will be facilitating.

What are your thoughts on tableaux?


What kind of learner are you?

Professor Mahmood Mamdani`s key note address kicked off day two of the 11th PALFA conference.

Prof.Mamdani during his key note address
I attended the session titled, `Literacy Curricula for Equitable Student Achievement’ which was facilitated by Lindsey Allene Hall, Education specialist with Save the Children, Uganda. The topic here was the 3M Challenge (Multi-age, mixed ability, multilingual)
Lindsey asked delegates to mingle and find someone who speaks their mother tongue. Everyone did this with much enthusiasm and many were soon paired up. They were tasked with discussing what their experiences were when they first learned English as a second language.
Two of the pairs shared saying that it was difficult. There was fear, they were punished in school for speaking their mother tongue or vernacular. Many delegates harbored the same feelings.


Lindsey Allene with the first pair of participants giving their experience of learning English for the first time.
Lindsey went on to  share a case study of children in the refugee context and society in Uganda. It’s important to know that the ultimate goal for primary education is English competence.
She shared on three English language acquisition strategies ;engaged learner background knowledge and interests, use of visuals and graphic organizer, and use of movements and gestures.
Under the use of visuals and graphic organizer is the KWL (Know, Want, Learn) chart which helps people understand better.  In a class setting you find out what students know about a subject, what they want to know and what they want to learn on that subject.
There are many types of learners in a learning environment. Different learners learn according to different senses. Some learn by visual, others auditory and some tactile. She admonished delegates to use gestures where words fail.
I personally learn by seeing and whatever I see I don`t forget. The session enabled me know and appreciate my difference alongside other people`s differences. Moving forward in whatever session you are chairing, or preparing learning aids for, be sure to apply the information provided here.
Overview of delegates



The 11th PALFA 2019 Conference: The Role of Mother Tongue

The 11th PALFA 2019 conference held at Kampala Serena hotel with the theme: Literacy: A bridge to Equity.

The conference was officially launched by Hon.Rosemary Seninde: Minister of State for Primary Education. Some of the partners of the conference include Ministry of education and sports, GEMS, NSSF, Twaweza, MK Publishers, The New Vision, UCC, URSB, World Vision, Stanbic Bank, NEMA, Fountain Publishers, CODE, International Literacy Association, Mango Tree Literacy Lab, and Bosasy Logistics.

Hon.Rosemary Seninde speaking during the conference.

Presenters during the conference hailed from over 40 different countries in Africa and elsewhere.

The day`s keynote speaker was Dr. Robinah Kyeyune a senior education professional with a rich background in language education, and equipped with exposure in the wider educational context of policy and development work on national level and profession dialogue at an international scale.

Later delegates were divided into parallel sessions covering topics like role of mother tongue, literacy for equity outside the frame work, early childhood teaching and learning, rethinking literacy and inclusion, Gender and Sustainable literacy.

I will focus deeply on the role of mother tongue which was chaired by Tonya Sprank and Lydia Tree with case studies from Congo, Kabale and Nigeria.

The term mother tongue emanates from the notion that a linguistic skill of a child is refined by the mother since children, on average, spend more time with their mothers.

It’s important to know that learning begins at home in the learner`s home language and when learners acquire a new language, there are possible similarities in vowels and therefore the other language is easy to understand. This is referred to as transfer literacy.

One of the session presenters quoted Nelson Mandela,“ If you talk to a man in the language he understands, it goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his mother tongue that goes to his heart.’’

Mother tongue facilitates learning. It is a child`s basis for social identity and also the medium of learning/social interaction in schools and society.

Parents are crucial in helping children learn their mother tongue as well as building and bridging the gap in literacy.

Margaret Nankinga suggested that mother tongue should not be cut off after primary three. They should be maintained. When children are being weaned by their mothers, they don`t cut them off suddenly, they take measures day in and day out to wean them until they eventually stop breast feeding. The same approach should be taken for the mother tongue. It should n`t be done informally in schools. Children need to be able to attain certain proficiency both in mother tongue and English while in school.

In conclusion, mother tongue and parental participation are highly related. Sign language is the mother tongue for the deaf and parents of these children ought to be taught sign language in order to help their children. This will help in achieving meaningful literacy.

Group photo of all delegates

Did your mother tongue help you grasp things better in the school environment?Join me in this discussion by leaving a comment below.

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