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Acting it out: children learning English through story-based drama

By Li-Yu Chang

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore why and how stories and drama can encourage children’s participation in class and also affect their learning of English as a foreign language in Taiwanese primary schools. The author takes a strong interest in both fields, English for Young Learners (EYL) and educational drama, and attempts to propose a solution, story-based drama, to two of the more common problems faced by teachers at primary level—mixed ability classes and limited teaching hours. The key methodological approach was action research in a case study format, using mixed methods and gathering quantitative as well as qualitative data in order to evaluate the impact of the author’s teaching on the children’s English learning. The quantitative research data was gathered with the aid of questionnaires responded to by one hundred and nine teachers and thirty-two fifth graders, while the qualitative data was collected from interviews, participant observation, fieldnotes, journals, artefacts, and video and audio recordings. Quantitative and qualitative data analyses revealed that the incorporation of stories and drama into the existing school curriculum was workable, and the story-based drama assisted the pupils to have greater participation in class and a higher degree of improvements than before in terms of their four language and non-verbal communication skills. This was corroborated by questionnaire results, interviewees’ responses, the co-teacher’s observations, and the pupils’ written work. \ud The author recommends that a collaborative approach to curriculum design and research methodology could be adopted by teachers themselves or between teachers and researchers in order to stimulate more research on the use of story-based drama in similar contexts, while deepening our understanding of this resourceful teaching approach

Topics: LB1501, PE
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3128

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