Using puppets for language teaching

Puppets have long been recognized as a powerful stimulus for oral work for many reasons.

  • They provide an ideal vehicle for individual role-play practice, requiring both question and answer skills.
  • Speech delivered with puppetry has a visual element, rendering it more memorable for the language learner.
  • Conversations with puppets are easily identified as valuable performances which can be assessed and then improved upon.
  • Pupils can now easily record video performances on mobile phones, cameras or computers. These can be submitted to the teacher and assessed instantly online, using an onlne Language Lab for example.
  • They invite ingenuity and individuality thus providing much scope for extended work.
  • They can be improvised from almost anything ... a ruler, pen or a finger can be easily pressed into service to bring the target language into action.


Example: Talking about a trip to France, using the perfect tense

1. Provide a visual stimulus for the conversation you require. (Select one from your resources or the Schoolshape Library)
2. Provide the text for the conversation (This could be taken from a previous writing or gap-fill exercise) 
3. Set this activity for your group to record with audio only.
4. When pupils have performed the task well enough with audio only, set the task again, this time requiring a video performance with a puppet.
5. When/if a good performance has been submitted, you can display it for the class to see, and/or encourage parents to view if appropriate.