Kawakami opened by sharing how awkward she feels presenting in front of a large group of people. Presenting is quite different from acting, because an actor puts on a mask, which gives a sense of security. The dramatic mask used in acting can be put to good effect in the communication classroom.
Difficulties in the communication classroom can arise with students being shy, unmotivated or apathetic, and textbooks lacking authentic dialogues with emotion and depth. Drama techniques can address these issues by focusing on emotion, exploring conflict, and examining physicality, tone and non-verbal messages. Kawakami demonstrated this by using a dialogue from a popular communication course book. The dialogue was explored through “hot seating” and improvisation. In another activity, characters were developed from a role-play scenario and then a scene was improvised based on that situation and those characters.
It was also shown how drama activities can be extended beyond the classroom, through writing exercises (such as a journal entry as the character or a script), visual exercises (a poster or a comic), and making a movie using smart phones.