Embodied language performance: Mediational affordances of dramatic activity for second language learning

2005 2005

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

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.

Indexing (details)

Language arts;
Bilingual education;
Multicultural education;
0279: Language arts
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education
0465: Theater
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Education; Dramatic activity; Embodied language; Mediational affordances; Performance; Second language
Embodied language performance: Mediational affordances of dramatic activity for second language learning
Haught, John Richard
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
McCafferty, Steven
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University location
United States -- Nevada
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.