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Beyond the mere word. Exploring the language of Drama through text- and performance-based approaches for developing L2 oral skills

Bora, Simona Floare (2017) Beyond the mere word. Exploring the language of Drama through text- and performance-based approaches for developing L2 oral skills. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This study explores the effectiveness of drama by using contemporary plays both as self-standing extracts and as a full-scale performance for developing learners’ oral skills in terms of complexity, accuracy and fluency and their positive attitudes towards foreign language learning within a high school compulsory curriculum in an Italian context. The rationale for undertaking this investigation lies in the heartening results obtained when dramatic approaches were implemented predominantly within a university context or as an extracurricular activity in the language classroom. A class of final year high school Italian students with a lower-intermediate to upper-intermediate level of language was exposed longitudinally to a text-based approach followed by a performance-based approach conducted over a term each for a total of 20 lessons. A control group was taught through a communicative traditional approach. Quantitative data were collected through an oral pre-test, a mid-test and a post-test by using three tasks, both monologic and dialogic: oral proficiency interview, story-retelling and guided role-play. To elicit learners’ attitudes questionnaires and follow-up interviews were used, thus affording me deeper insights into learners’ preferences, reasons for enjoyment, their usefulness for developing language skills, problems and difficulties encountered. The results show that drama-based approaches improved significantly learners’ pronunciation accuracy, speed-fluency, breakdown-fluency, repairs-fluency, MLR, phonation time ratio, and syntactic complexity. There was no significant statistical result on accuracy between the two groups. When comparing the two types of approaches, findings revealed that the text-based approach led to a higher syntactic complexity, breakdown fluency and phonation time ratio whilst the performance-based approach led to a higher level of accuracy both on the global scale and pronunciation accuracy, and speed fluency. Neither of the two drama-based approaches led to a significant score on the MLAS, MLR and repairs fluency. The qualitative findings display mixed but fundamentally greatly favourable attitudes towards the employment of drama approaches.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: authentic contemporary drama, text-based approach, performance-based approach, oral skills, accuracy, fluency, complexity
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Simona Bora
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2018 16:32
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2018 16:32
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21287

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