Building Up Creativity Through English Drama Munaqosyah

On Thursday gloomy but quite humid, Al-Tsaqafah Islamic Boarding School held English Munaqosyah for twelfth grade students as one of the key school requirements to graduate. Not the same like previous year’s method of munaqosyah, this time we are proud of applying the drama to show students’ English capability. At Al-Tsaqafah, English munaqosyah used to be presented through comprehensive reading and  understanding only where every student had to read some paragraphs and tried to answer judges’ questions relating to their understanding about the text. However, this method proved did not run effectively as the given time would be longer than it was suppose to be. Further, the performance could not offer an appealing or even inspiring show for the audience which came from other classes. Thus, English drama munaqosyah presents as a pilot project created by English tutors to encourage the students grade 12 in practising their potential skills, both in literature and art.

From Script to Performance

Before coming to munaqosyah event day, the judges assessed each script that had been made by all groups which were totally seven groups. There are several criteria of assessment we used such as grammatical correctness, vocabulary complexity, logical coherence, and interesting story. The stories were quite varied, some told about school’s life, while some others talked about love or friendship. None of all stories did not imply the noble messages and good values we could draw, about humanity. Knowing their quality and capacity in creating an original story using English, not only blessed us as their teachers with gladness, but also a relieved feeling, means that knowledge of English language they had absorbed for some years back could be well applied. Though still there were some of them could not maximum make it, but we believe everyone is always in process.

 At the moment performances were playing, the vibe was outstandingly cheerful and hilarious. The judges were truly served with the fun shows, let alone the audience. We all laughed a lot and much enjoyed them. I thought, it was beyond pleasure as the English examination. Every group fully dressed themselves in various costumes drama based on their characters. They set up the stage, put the theatrical stuff, and played the backsound to create their show as real as possible. We really appreciate it, we do! They had prepared everything and kept practising till the morning before they performed. Even some groups amazingly could present their drama more expressive than their own scripts could tell. The funny thing was, when a few students were not able to memorize a conversation or pronunce certain words appropriately, they would double their acting to cover their lack of script mastery. Pronunciation was definitely one of the main parts amongst other English skills we assessed. Others included influency, intonation-expression, and comprehensive understanding for personal skills, as well as team work, actualization, and confidence for group scoring. All groups are required to achieve the minimum score which is 300, to successfully pass this exam.

Embrace The Students’ Creativity

Living in Islamic boarding school demands series of rules and obligations that students must follow. They are inconsciously taught about discipline and responsibility in order to be tough as well as resilient. On the other hand, the tight of schedule for whole day is likely to affect students’ eagerness during study due to too much weary. Worse may happen when the teacher itself less ideas and attractive method to bring up the materials in class. They will be going to sleep at the first instruction you give. Despite of their lack of either resting or leisure time at boarding school, students could be encouraged with any fun activities that trigger their imagination and creativity. Stop relying on a textbook as the only one source of knowledge for student’s lessons. Sometimes, the materials have been out of date and need to be recontextualized in recent condition or situation. Therefore, drama for English munaqosyah is considered to open up the students’ potential skills regarding to intelectuality and creativity that should be balance.

The ideal way student learns is to capture and experience the reality, figure out what the problems lie within, then think not only to describe but also to solve them. Through the play or drama, we actually let the students walked on those steps to feel their own reality and think what they concern about. Furthermore, they created the stories which more or less related to their own experiences and filled them with wisdom messages (hikmah) as every life contains. It turned out becoming the lesson-learnt and interesting plays that would have inspired other younger students while watching them. In the end, this is only the beginning for their longway of learning path. But, what 12th grade students have accomplished through English drama munaqosyah; their bright idea and creative hardwork, are something that we all must appreciate much. And this writing, is particularly dedicated for them. Congratulations!