Luke Allder

University of Kent, UK

The Impact on Oral Fluency of Drama Pedagogies with English as Additional Language (EAL) in Key Stage 2 British Primary Schools.

The UK National Curriculum at Key Stage 2 (7 – 11 years old) focuses attainment on 4 primary skills (Reading, Spelling, Grammar, and Maths). There is, however, a lack of attention given to the oral and social skills which students will use throughout their educational journey and their future lives. In this study, researchers investigate the how drama pedagogies can improve oral fluency and communicative language skills in pupils identified as English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners. Following a pre and post test experimental design, a sample group of 79 Year 3 (7-8yos), from a variety of L1 speaking backgrounds, engaged in a drama-based English language programme over two full academic terms. The development of oral fluency (word structure, formation of sentences, and expressive vocabularies) was measured against a control group who received a traditional English communicative language and literacy course. The assessment design followed parts of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF). The results indicate that a drama-based programme for EAL learners can lead to significant improvement in the aspects of oral fluency (formation of sentences and expressive vocabularies) relative to traditional teaching practice. The results also demonstrate no reduction in attainment in any other areas of their study as a result of the drama approaches. The paper discusses the data collected, analysis, and the potential impact on EAL pedagogy.

Ebru Boynuegri

TED University Ankara, Turkey

Drama in ELT: What makes a good activity?

Using drama activities in the classrooms not only fosters teaching of academic content, but also enhances communication, socialization, collaboration and engagement. Although benefits of drama activities are substantial in every classroom, they become more significant in multicultural classrooms by letting students express their identities and cultural backgrounds freely. Expressing their identity in a multicultural environment is rewarding for young learners as having a sense of identity is an important facet of their psychological development. Bearing these in mind, this study aimed to understand the extent to which drama activities were helpful in teaching English to learners from different backgrounds. The student participants of the study were academically successful high school students who were coming from economically disadvantaged families, various socio-cultural backgrounds and different schools. They were taught English at a private institution for 3 hours at the weekends within the scope of a scholarship programme. The data was collected for three weeks from four classes, each of which had approximately 15 students. For the study, drama activities that fit the preexisting curriculum were designed and added as the last activity in that week’s lesson plan. After implementation of each drama activity, students and the teaching staff (teachers and teaching assistants) were asked to answer three open-ended questions that are designed to recognize their perceptions of the drama activities they engaged in. In addition to these, in-depth interviews were conducted with the teachers. The data was analysed both holistically and separately using inductive content analysis. Three major themes were found to shape the students’ perceptions: appropriateness of the activities to students’ proficiency levels, fun/joy the activities bring to the classroom, and meaningfulness of the activities. The in-depth interviews also showed the importance of  the teacher as a drama/activity leader in implementing the activities.

Christiane Klempin

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

German English teacher trainees’ drama-based instructions: Exploring the status quo and envisioning new ways of training teachers

Communicative language teaching, action orientation, and inquiry-based learning were stressed in English foreign language (EFL) teaching during the past decades (Frühjahrskonferenz 2018) due to a shift from an input to an output-orientation (Salden-Förster 2017: 201). Performative teaching approaches (PTA, Even & Schewe 2016) might provide learners with meaningful, explorative, and authentic learning contexts. Most of the beneficial assumptions of PTA on cognitive and affective abilities of language learners (e.g. Crutchfield & Schewe 2017), however, still remain empirically unwarranted (Belliveau & Kim 2013). Therefore, the extent to which PTA is currently employed by teacher trainees during their school internships in German EFL classrooms is explored in a first exploratory study (summer & winter term 2019, N = 37, M.A. program). In my presentation, I want to introduce preliminary findings from this exploratory study on student teachers’ use of PTA during their school internships (summer term 2019, N = 17). Further, I would like to draw conclusions from these early findings for improving EFL teacher training. I will do so by introducing a training format – the Performative Lab at Freie Universität Berlin (Klempin 2019) – aiming to not only familiarize EFL student teachers with PTA in theory but also to assess its’ empirical efficacy on attitudes and teaching performance of the respective student participants.

Alison Larkin Koushki, Al Ekhlas International Education

Shannon Parks, University of Birmingham

On Stage:  Performing Arts Impact on Language and Life Skills

Drama, literature, and poetry are goldmines of authentic language (Mart, 2016; Shazu, 2014).  When students dramatize literature or perform original poems and stories, they expand their repertoire of language and life skills experientially.  In this session, a researcher studying the educational effects of stagework teams up with an educator conducting student projects to present empirical evidence on the impact of language theater.

Performances took place from 2013 to 2020 in an Intensive English Program in the Mideast (Koushki, 2020).  In teams or individually, students read, imagined, drew, narrated, or acted stories.  Deploying their multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2011; Healy, 2004), students chose script, acting, backstage, costumes, make-up, sound and lights, reporter, advertising, stage managing, or one-man-show. Then they rehearsed and performed for an audience.  

First in the presentation, the educator facilitating the stage projects will review the benefits of literature and drama for language education (Boudreault, 2010; Yuanyuan 2019) and describe an example performance.  Next, the researcher will explain how using qualitative research methods and a grounded-theory approach, twenty-seven students were interviewed in a semi-structured format using a mobile app that records, transcribes, and categorizes speech into emerging themes.  Finally, schematic diagrams showing the iterative, interlinking impacts of stage experience on students’ English proficiency, intrinsic motivation, and personal development will be explored (Parks, 2020).

Research results demonstrate that students perceive, in themselves and their peers, growth in English language, life skills, and self-efficacy.  Implications are important in the Arabian Gulf where many students are sub-literate. More importantly, by gathering evidence on how performance enriches English and life skills in this location, stage embodiment can be refined and duplicated for students anywhere.  Attendees will be inspired to try this whole-person, whole language, all-senses approach and enlightened on reasons for doing so. 

María Eugenia Flores and Margarita Planelles Almeida

Universidad Nebrija, Spain

How can a language teacher become a teaching artist? A case study

The use of applied theater in the second language acquisition field to develop different abilities is not new (Kao and Oneill, 1998; Stinson y Winston, 2011; Piazzoli, 2011). It is worth pointing out the importance given by some authors of developing among students not only language skills, but also dramatic ones. (Motos & Navarro, 2003; Motos, 1993). However, it is essential that the teacher working with performative arts becomes himself a teaching artist (Dunn & Stinson, 2011; Piazolli, 2018; Schewe & Woodhouse, 2018). For this reason, we should take into consideration the competences that the teacher must / should acquire in order to teach through art.

This paper presents a case study which has been carried out within the context of the interdisciplinary Project Ser y Estar: identidad y emoción en la enseñanza de ELE en contextos interculturales a través del teatro, developed by the Universidad Nebrija of Madrid, along with the applied theatre company The Cross Border Project. The study analyzes the various competences and sub-competences a language teacher requires, in order to implement a second language class based on Drama in Education.  Thanks to the collaboration process between two teachers: an applied theater actor (without specific training in language teaching) and a teacher of Spanish (without specific art training), we analyze and reflect, through a classroom research (recordings, class observation, interviews, stimulated recall), what the skills are, that these two teachers should learn from each other to be able to teach Spanish, using a performative pedagogy, such as Drama in Education.

Natasha Janzen Ulbricht

Ein Theaterexperiment oder ein Experiment im Theater? A research paradigm with applications for foreign language learning

Drama has the ability to foster curiosity, motivation and long-term learning, and can be a worthwhile addition to language classrooms. At the same time, teaching the text of a foreign language play can be
daunting. By using codified gestures, or hand movements in which one gesture corresponds with one meaning, teachers can bring movements which support language learning, comprehension and
memory into their classrooms. Teachers everywhere are challenged by the need to include children who have very different abilities. Using codified gestures in the classroom to support foreign language
learning may be especially helpful in this regard.
This talk presents a possibility to integrate multi-dimensional learning with the help of gestures and music into foreign language teaching research. In addition, to presenting recent quantitative experimental results on oral fluency (N=54) and abstract concept learning (N=76), it deals with the challenges that such research poses to those involved. In conclusion, the potential added value of using codified gestures for teaching and learning foreign languages in schools will be discussed. This talk should be of interest to gesture researchers and linguists as well as drama in education practitioners who are interested in multimodal foreign language instruction.

Jenna Nilson

Arizona State University, USA

Engaging Intercultural Awareness in Language Learning through Performative Language Teaching

This paper will focus on parts of my research “Outcomes of Using Drama Based-Pedagogy in Foreign and Second Language Classes in Schools and Universities: A Meta-Study.” The study synthesizes the results of fourteen previous studies published within the last fifteen years in order to identify and describe the outcomes of using performative language teaching methods in foreign and second language classrooms within schools and universities. These studies include research from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania in teaching English, German, Korean, and Italian as foreign or second languages. Many of these studies point to the positive impact on intercultural understanding when employing performative teaching strategies in the language classroom. Using Gerd Bräuer’s Body and Language: Intercultural Learning through Drama as a framework, this paper first analyzes the studies presented in my research that center on the outcome of intercultural understanding. Then, using my analysis and research as an informative base, I present my own curriculum using best practices in performative language pedagogy in a secondary school level English as an Additional Language (ELA) classroom to address cultural connections in learning a new language, support learners’ confidence and motivation in the classroom, and engage in intercultural dialogue in a multilingual space. The curriculum is geared towards students with a mixed level of English and first languages, implemented in a twice a week, semester long ELA course. Moreover, this curriculum provides a practical example of how drama acts an innovative medium not only to teach languages, but to respond to and value the cultural vitality of students’ first languages.

Andreas Wirag / Carola Surkamp

Universität Göttingen, Germany

“Boon or Burden? The Impact of Drama on Foreign-Language Anxiety”

As a widely-held assumption, research on drama in L2 teaching and learning holds that drama activities in L2 classrooms may lower students’ foreign-language anxiety, or FLA (e.g., Ronke, 2005; Piazzoli, 2011; Wittal-Düerkop, 2019). Here, the rationale is that students will focus on the meaning of the dramatic interaction, rather than language, and therefore use the L2 with less inhibition or anxiety. Moreover, the results of recent learner studies suggest that drama activities are in fact able to lower FLA in students (e.g., Atas, 2015; Weber, 2017; Galante, 2018). However, all earlier learner studies have examined whole drama courses, workshops, or lessons and their impact on FLA. Therefore, they were unable to identify which structural elements of drama courses may influence students’ FLA (e.g., working on characters, acting, feedback, reflection). As a result, the elements of drama that are associated with a decrease (or possibly increase?) of students’ FLA are largely unknown.

To address this research issue, the talk presents results from a quantitative study that examines EFL Drama Clubs at a comprehensive school in Göttingen („Bühne frei: Schulische Bildungsangebote im Bereich Darstellendes Spiel“). Interestingly, our findings suggest that drama activities in L2 classrooms may, in fact, ‘cut both ways’. On the one hand, the use of role work as an element of drama seems to lowerstudents’ FLA, presumably because students are strongly immersed in the activity. On the other hand, feedback on students’ L2 and feedback on students’ acting both seem to raise their FLA, presumably because they become more aware of themselves and their performance. These findings are further illustrated by the students’ own reflections on these relations, which were collected in qualitative interviews.