Embodied language performance: Mediational affordances of dramatic activity for second language learning
This qualitative study examines the unique mediational affordances a drama based approach to second language learning provides. From the perspective of Sociocultural theory, the nature of learning is greatly determined by the mediational means employed and this study revealed the importance of modeling and imitation and multiple perspective taking that arose from the recursive process of rehearsal to be instrumental in the students' understanding and growing mastery of English. This recursion process occurs within instructional conversations which serve to level the relations of power between teacher and learner, resulting in a more authentic learning environment. In short, drama introduces alterity into the learning environment in ways that serve to encourage autonomy for the learners as they slowly move from other regulated activity to self regulation.
The study examines how the participants interacted within the unique learning environment created by the drama workshops and the activities. Activity theory posits that each participant arrives with a unique set of motives and goals and this study discusses how drama creates a learning environment and types of activity systems that accommodate these varying goals and facilitates an authentic dialogic interplay between everyone involved. Dramatic activity affords the co-construction of meaning between participants as they engage in language performance.
The study further examines the pedagogical implications for utilizing drama in second language learning. Arguing that learning is first and foremost an activity, language learning will be examined as performance. Viewing language as performance serves to demonstrate how language is highly contextual to sociocultural and institutional circumstances. The role of the language teacher is crucial to provide the necessary interventions and the learning environments that foster and extend the learners use of the target language. A drama approach to second language learning provides a number of highly unique mediational affordances which can be actively manipulated in a seemingly endless variety of ways. It is argued that viewing teaching and learning from the perspective of social activity opens a space for drama based learning in which language performance and language learning become a dialectical interplay that cannot be separated. Language learning is embodied as the learner enacting a scenario becomes a subject within a contextually situated activity system in pursuit of specific goals. This results in a highly authentic use of language for communicative purposes which in turn enhance language acquisition.
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education