Michael McCabe

Professor Reilly
Intro to English Language Learning
11 November 2013
Silent Skits Reflection
What challenges did you overcome when trying to tell your story in as much detail
as possible?
I think one of the major challenges that my group faced was how to substitute
words. Because we were unable to use language, we were unsure how much our
audience would understand of our skit. And additional challenge was how to handle
having more than 4 characters with only 4 actors. It was very possible that our
audience could believe that the two roles Cyndy played were actually the same role.
What did you do to “overcome” these challenges?
I believe that we overcame the language barrier in a number of ways. We used
other audio signs, like the eerie music and Lauren’s screams, to illustrate that this
was a spooky skit. Visuals, like Nick’s costumes and the lights flickering on and off,
also helped explain what are skit was about. Finally, we emphasized a lot of facial
expression to convey terror, fear, confusion, and happiness. To overcome the
challenge of Cyndy’s two characters, we tried to include some slight differences in
her costume. For example, when playing the “scary vampire,” she had a meaner
expression and wore fake vampire teeth.
What do you think the main purpose of this activity was?
I think the purpose of this activity was two-fold. As an audience member watching
the other skits, it was to simulate what an English Language Learner might
experience while in a classroom. They have to use whatever cultural or language
tools they can to gain even a basic idea of what the skit might be about. As for
actually putting on a skit, I believe the purpose was to get us thinking of creative
ways to convey ideas, plots, and emotions to our audience of students without using

words. This could benefit us in a future classroom as we need to plan ways to
convey understanding to our ESL students.
How can you relate this activity to the experience of ELL students in an Englishspeaking classroom?
I believe this activity relates to the experience of ELL students in that it allows us, as
future teachers, to better understand what one of these students may go through.
As someone accustomed to completely understanding all the goings-on of a
classroom, it was interesting being put in the perspective where I only knew some
generalities and not all of the details. In the same way, and ELL student might
understand some of the basic concepts, but might not be able to follow every
specific detail. Therefore, as a teacher, I need to be more cognizant in how I present
my material and find the best possible ways to do so for my ELL students.