Reflection: Debate "Yes, And" and "Yes, But": Using Improvisation to Construct Argument in "The Taming of the Shrew" Act 4 - Section 2: "Yes But" and "Yes And" Tutorial


When English teachers look at the world of teaching English from within other disciplines, we find all kinds of ways to re-imagine teaching. I began thinking about how improvisation can inform my teaching and decided to look for ways to adapt drama games to traditional ELA classes. The CCSS for listening and speaking necessitate such modification, and rather than seeing the standards as separate from one another, I think about the connections inherent within them.

At the heart of my thinking is questioning. Here are a few I ask:

  • How can I get my students to listen to one another?
  • How can I get them to listen to the voices in the text and articulate what they hear from the text?
  • How is the way we teach argument in communication studies different from our approach in English?
  • How can I incorporate methodology from the communication field into the ELA classroom? 

Perhaps I have an advantage given my background, but these are questions other teachers can consider and use to guide their planning, too. 

When I introduced the lesson to students, one young lady eagerly asked, "Do we get to do that in this class?" Students will try many new things when we give them the opportunity. And they'll make the connections we want them to make while returning to the text for yet another close reading. That's a game with many winners!

  Improvisation as Argument: It's All a Game
  Debate: Improvisation as Argument: It's All a Game
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"Yes, And" and "Yes, But": Using Improvisation to Construct Argument in "The Taming of the Shrew" Act 4

Unit 9: "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare: Unmasking a Troubling Text
Lesson 14 of 16

Objective: SWBAT argue about whether or not "The Taming of the Shrew" is a sexist text by playing the improvisational games "Yes, And" and "Yes, But."

Big Idea: Improvisation encourages logical argument and close reading.

  Print Lesson
English / Language Arts, argument (Composition), Improvisation, The Taming of the Shrew, Yes And, Yes But, debate, discussions
  60 minutes
students playing yes
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