Using puppets as a springboard to writing

Sometimes teachers don’t realise that you can use puppets with secondary students; one way that you can exploit this is to encourage them to write plays. Very often when high-school (secondary school) students write plays, the thing they think about is how they will look and sound on stage or at the front of the class. But when they write for a puppet, it allows them to be far freer and more creative. Puppets can (and should) do things that actors can’t normally do, which opens up a whole world of possibilities. ‘Hiding’ behind a puppet booth allows the students to take more risks, not only with the plot, but with sound effects, silly voices and exaggerated characters, most probably exploring things they wouldn’t do if they had to act the roles themselves. Not only does devising a play help with writing in a second language – an important skill in itself – but students also learn how to be creative, collaborative also develop their critical thinking.