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Body and Language : Intercultural Learning Through Drama


Advances in Foreign and Second Language Pedagogy ; V. 3
Greenwood Publishing Group
1567506712
9781567506716
9780313011900
English
Drama in education.
2002
PN3171.B574 2002eb
371.39/9
Drama in education.

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Body and Language

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Body and Language
Intercultural Learning Through Drama
Edited by Gerd Bruer
Advances in Foreign and Second Language Pedagogy,
Volume 3
Gerd Bruer, Series Editor
Ablex Publishing
Westport, Connecticut London

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Body and language : intercultural learning through drama / edited by Gerd Bruer
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1-56750-671-2 (alk. paper)
1. Drama in education. I. Bruer, Gerd.
PN3171.B574 2002
371.399dc 21 2001053831
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.
Copyright 2002 by Gerd Bruer
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be
reproduced, by any process or technique, without the
express written consent of the publisher.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001053831
ISBN: 1-56750-671-2
First published in 2002
Ablex Publishing, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881
An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
www.ablexbooks.com
Printed in the United States of America
The paper used in this book complies with the
Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National
Information Standards Organization (Z39.48-1984).
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Contents
Series Foreword
Introduction
I.
Goals and Potential
1. Understanding Drama-Based Education
Betty Jane Wagner
2. Intercultural Recognitions Through Performative Inquiry
Lynn Fels and Lynne McGivern
3. Transcultural Performance in Classroom Learning
Ann Axtmann
4. Process Drama in Second- and Foreign-Language Classrooms
Jun Liu

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II.
Approaches, Methods, Techniques
5. Teaching Foreign Language Literature: Tapping the Students Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
Manfred Lukas Schewe
6. Coping with Obstacles in Drama-Based ESL Teaching: A Nonverbal Approach
Cameron R. Culham
7. Video Recording and Playback Equipment
Timothy Collins
8. Designing Artful Reflective Strategies: The Guided Case Study
Philip Taylor
9. Undergoing a Process and Achieving a Product: A Contradiction in Educational Drama?
Douglas J. Moody
10. The Educational Potential of Drama for ESL
Sarah L. Dodson
III.
Practical Applications: Courses and the Curriculum
11. The Arts and the Foreign-/Second-Language Curriculum: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Actively Engage
Students in Their Own Learning
Janet Hegman Shier
12. Performing Brecht: From Theory to Practice
Franziska B. Lys, Denise Meuser, John Paluch, and Ingrid Zeller
Instead of an Afterword
Magic on Stage: Urfaust and Other Great Plays for Educational Pleasure
Karla Schultz and Penelope Heinigk
Index
About the Contributors

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Series Foreword
Advances in Foreign and Second Language Pedagogy is a series focusing on the people involved in the process of
language education: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and others related to the learner within a broader
social context. Issues such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening are examined here for their potential for
individual growth, learning partnership, and group dynamics. In the same context, it is of substantial interest for the
authors of each volume to look at the pedagogical specifics of various fields of language learning, such as oral
traditions, drama, music, or visual arts. The influence of alternative teaching methods and modern technology on
learners and educators also raises substantial questions for this ongoing publication project.
The main approach for each volume of the series is one of practice-based research, wherein language practitioners
become reflective researchers in order to deepen their own and the readers theoretical understanding of their

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work and to develop practical consequences. For this purpose the relationship between practice and research is
intimate, and the subtle interchanges between doing and reflecting are inseparable. Therefore, the contributors for
this series focus on classroom practice: Empirical research is presented, case studies are introduced, individual
teaching experience is discussed, and theoretical frameworks are developed. Nevertheless, all practical issues of
language pedagogy are handled here in their theoretical contexts, with the aim of further deepening conceptual
understanding of pedagogical phenomena and processes in language acquisition. A second, not less important goal
of this series lies in bridging the gap in academic discourse between research and classroom practice and the
integration of the wisdom of language educators from all areas of language education: primary and secondary
schools, colleges and universities, and adult education.
As indicated, the prospective authors and readers of this series are expected to be future teachers, educators at all
levels of instruction, and all those interested in pedagogical research. The wide range of creators and recipients of
the series is geared toward a general collaboration among learners, rooted in the belief that people can profit from
each others knowledge and experience throughout the entire educational pyramid.
I want to expand the boundaries of this collaboration in the process of learning about the pedagogy of language
teaching by bringing together in this series American teacher-researchers with their international colleagues in order
to stimulate mutual learning and interdisciplinarity across languages and cultures. Ablex Publishing, as the host of
this series, offers a great resource in spreading the word throughout the world.

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Introduction
Drama and theater are not mutually exclusive. If drama is about meaning, it is the art form of theater which
encompasses and contains the meaning. If theater is about expression, then it is the dramatic exploration of the
meaning which fuels that expression.
Norah Morgan and Juliana Saxton,
from Teaching Drama: A Mind of Many Wonders
This third volume of the series is designed to be an introduction to the use of drama in the foreign- and secondlanguage classroom. It highlights the bridging character of drama-based teaching for intercultural learning and,
therefore, fosters a better understanding of the significance drama has also for first-language instruction in todays
multicultural world, where transculturation (see Ann Axtmann) is a growing individual and social necessity. Following
the position of Norah Morgan and Juliana Saxton (1987), drama here is not limited to artistic work or pedagogical
use, but rather it means the

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interplay between body and language in general that leads to doubts, questions, and insights for learners interacting
with themselves and others and their linguistic and cultural identity. Developing Gerald Graffs stance of teaching
conflict (1992) further, I envision the experience of dramatic conflict in the language classroom as a strong base for
a type of education where teachers and students cooperatively set the stage for learning and, at the same time,
individually define the meaning of their effort for knowledge. What are the content, techniques, methods, strategies,
and curricular structures that engage learners in a continuing and meaningful dialogue between ones own culture
and the one yet to be discovered? What comprises the language, after all, that allows us to understand one another?
What is the body through which we communicate?
As a basis for answering these questions, the authors of this book touch on a very general issue, that of learning.
Nothing Goes Without Body ( Ohne Krper geht nichts ), a recent German publication on the physicality of drama
work (Koch, Naumann, Vaen, 1999), makes a simple fact visible that has been denied in traditional Western
education for much too long. When seen as a phenomenon of the mind alone, learning is stripped of half of its
medium and educational potential. The loss is even greater considering that the physical aspect of the mind itself is
also frequently overlooked. Concepts of most recent cognitive science such as blending and conceptual integration
(Turner 1996), where structure from input-managing mental spaces is seen as projected to a separate, blended
mental space (see also Turners Web page), will help to open minds for a better understanding of the physiointellectual spaces where learning actually happens. To feel, see, read, imagine, communicate, to live (in) these
spaces and expand them requires acceptance of the physical quality of education, whether in art (see also Zeki
1999), history, music, mathematics, literature, or language. The focus on (linguistic) signs and signals alone is not
enough to convey language knowledge successfully. Communicating the physical language of things, ideas, and
people is equally important for learning. After all, a full grasp of the many dimensions in the German book title
Nothing Goes Without Body is itself hard to imagine without the physical experience of walking or moving.
Yet, for this pedagogically oriented book it is not enough to talk about the physical aspect of learning. It will also be
of interest to discuss the dramatic arrangement of the body on the stage called classroom and within the plot,
meaning educational processes students and teachers engage together.
In Betty Jane Wagners groundbreaking book, Educational Drama and Language Arts (1998, p. 84), I found a
quotation by the nineteenth-century poet Percy Bysshe Shelley that captures the pedagogical function of arranging
the body for the purpose of growing as a whole person:
A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another
and of many others; the pains, the pleasures for his species must become his own.

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Since the time of French educator Jean Piaget, this act of role taking is known as symbolic play (1962), where the
child, in Piagets terms, moves away in its cognitive development from an egocentric stage to building social
relationships (Wagner, 1998, p. 173).
The reason for this great educational potential of role taking within larger social contexts lies in its complexity of
representing reality. Educational theorist Jerome Bruner identifies three aspects of human cognition: enactive (the
physical gesture), iconic (the image), and symbolic (the linguistic sign) representationall three, as an
interconnected entity, make up the essence of dramatic role taking as an entity of social being, which explains its
unique power for gaining knowledge. Because the phenomenon of spontaneous social symbolic play (Wagner)
tends to disappear out of students lives during primary school, it lies upon us educators to help them in
methodologically efficient ways to maintain and further unfold the potential drama carries for anyones learning.
There are two major issues currently discussed in drama-based foreign- and second-language methodology. The first
is goal-oriented, asking whether the acquisition of accuracy or fluency is more important, and whether a controlled
(for example, learning through imitation) or an open learning environment (for example, through improvisation) is
more efficient. The second issue is concerned with the method of using drama in language teaching: either processoriented, where drama becomes an immediate medium for language learning, or product-oriented, where it becomes
primarily the reason for language learning. In the course of this book, through outlining the theoretical frameworks
of both issues and introducing personal narrative, comparative observation, and analytical reflection, the specific
opportunities for learning of the seemingly contradictory poles within each issue emerge.
Nevertheless, this introduction to the pedagogy of drama-based teaching across the foreign- and second-language
curriculum has been undertaken without the systematic approach previously demonstrated admirably by Shin-Mei
Kao and Cecily ONeill (1998). It rather follows what educational theory calls practice research and what the teaching
profession recognizes as theory-practice-learning: Reflective practitioners examine their experiences with drama as a
mode of instruction, through which they themselves also continue to learn about the educational use of drama. The
outcome of such meaning making in educational processes will always be fragmented and fragile by nature,
considering the ever-changing perspectives within individual reflective practice, not to mention within entire
academic disciplines and professional fields. As with practical research in any other subject, this study cannot
propose a complete or fixed set of answers on how to use drama in language education. This book rather provides
ideas and, at the same time, obstacles, doubts, and questions about these very ideas.
In utilizing this book, let me encourage the reader to become a reflective learner as the authors did while drafting,
commenting, sometimes even

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reliving (through additional practice), and, finally, revising their chapters. Let me suggest a position of negotiating
ones own personal experience in the light of the authors sometimes very different or even contradictory
perspectives about this rather nontraditional educational path. In this context, I want to urge the reader to keep in
mind the unique circumstances of each of the classrooms introduced in this volume. Instead of seeing them as
models of instruction, they should rather be used as individual starting points for reflection and imagination on ones
own future teaching experience. Later on, some of these chapters might be revisited in a different light.
Part I aims for a deeper theoretical understanding of drama-based education and intercultural learning. In outlining
the theoretical framework of these issues at the core of the book, Part I works as a point of reference for the other
two parts of this volume, which discuss reflections on practical aspects of drama-based education.
Part I is introduced by Betty Jane Wagner, one of the pioneers of educational drama. Based on decades of her
scholarship on learning theories by Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner and out of her own collaboration with the late
curriculum specialist James Moffett, she further explores three major qualities of intellectual operationenactive,
iconic, and symbolic (Bruner)as actual channels for educational processes. In this context, Wagner is specifically
interested in the advantages of these ways of thinking for the teaching of dramatic invention (Moffett/Wagner),
which she sees as the matrix for speaking, listening, reading, and writing. With this theoretical excursus, the author
provides a scientific explanation of the efficacy of educational drama for learning.
Lynn Fels and Lynne McGivern apply Wagners view toward the teaching of intercultural recognition through a
specific mode of learning they have developed: performative inquiry. Fels and McGivern revisit a role drama about
Canadian aboriginal experience in residential schools to illustrate the possibilities of intercultural conversations and
transformations realized through performative inquiry. In the authors eyes, successful second-language learning
requires an embodied understanding of the context, land, history, and political, social, economic, and cultural
environments of the target language. Performative inquiry provides a momentary entrance into other worlds
through embodied play and reflection, thereby challenging students with opportunities for intercultural awareness,
dialogue, and understanding.
In the light of the previous chapter, Ann Axtmann offers an expanded perspective on culture learning. In the process
of comparing the cultural self and other, she suggests to create a new place through play, where the native
and the foreigner meet and mingle. Her chapter examines the notion of transcultural performance within classroom
learning. Incorporating ideas of Howard Gardner, Edward T. Hall, Raymond Williams, and Ngugi wa

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Thiongo, the discussion builds on Fernando Ortizs suggestion that transculturation happens when several cultural
aspects come together to produce something entirely new. Concrete examples from the authors teaching with two
radically different student populations illustrate a transcultural pedagogy that incorporates the multiple intelligences,
notions of time and space, and interdisciplinary arts through bodily, sensory practices.
Jun Liu closes Part I by developing a methodological framework for the three previously introduced stances on
educational drama. He proposes that process drama, a term widely used in North America (but originally from
Australia) and synonymous to educational drama or drama in education in Britain, can serve as a viable language
teaching method within a focus on form approachwhich refers to how attentional resources are allocated. Based
on a theoretical description of the approach, he further defines the concept of process drama through concrete
classroom experience across foreign languages, synthesizes its pedagogical characteristics, demonstrates the main
classroom procedures of this method, and theorizes about the challenges language teachers might face by using
process drama.
Part II is, in close reference to its theoretical framework introduced in Part I, an outlook onto practical aspects of
drama-based education. The primary focus here lies on the specific scale of everyday classroom practice, including
teaching approaches, methods, and techniques. In (re)defining and discussing them, obstacles, doubts, and
questions arise, making visible the dynamic character of educational drama, where success and failure depend
heavily on how well the specifics of individual teaching and learning situations are being understood and transformed
into pedagogical power. The chapters in Part II provide coping strategies with the ever-changing currents in the
drama-based classroom.
Manfred Schewe centers his chapter around nonverbal activities as an integral component of a drama-based
teaching and learning concept. He proposes an argument for the use of Gardners multiple intelligences approach,
with a special focus on the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. The learning potential of pantomime is introduced by
giving concrete examples from the German as a foreign-language classroom. These include a non-verbal approach to
literature within a teaching unit on the subject of intercultural encounter. Part of this teaching unit demonstrates
how a basic drama techniquestill imagecan be employed and, in the same context, how Bertolt Brechts Basic
Model for an Epic Theatre can be used in order to work toward a deeper understanding of critical incidents, which
are connected to the chosen literary text. The article concludes with more general reflections on drama as a holistic
approach to teaching and learning foreign and second languages within the broader context of an education for
European citizenship.
Cameron R. Culham identifies obstacles encountered in his drama work with English as a Second Language (ESL)
adults. Out of these obstacles, he

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analyzes in detail the principal problems and questions and specifies them with examples drawn from practice. The
author offers activities with silent communication as their common focus as methodological alternatives for some of
the highlighted problems in the drama-based classroom. Practical examples of nonverbal, interactive activities that
eventually promote language use are further explored by theoretical discussion from both the fields of drama in
education and second-language acquisition. Although this chapter pertains primarily to ESL for adults, the activities
suggested may be adapted to suit different languages and age groups.
Timothy Collins reports on his experience using video recording and playback equipment to videotape college
beginning Spanish students performing their own role-plays. He details the steps he followed with the class and
elaborates on the numerous benefits that resulted from the project: the students increased motivation to learn
Spanish, their higher self-esteem and lower anxiety levels, a greater sociolinguistic competence in the new language,
and the vast amount of knowledge about Spanish culture successfully processed in this class. Collins also discusses
the impact television as a medium with its two parts (video recording and playback equipment) had on the drama
techniques he applied to his teaching. He finishes his chapter with a list of tips teachers can use to design similar
projects.
Philip Taylor has placed his chapter in the metacognitive realm of education. He describes a drama-based strategy
that he calls guided case study, as useful for uncovering how students respond to educational processes. In the
guided case study strategy, students reflect on an issue, incident, or event through the guise of role: Students are
presented with an immediate ongoing fictional dilemma that demands their urgent attention. This dilemma, although
presented as an imagined case, resonates with a familiar classroom experience. Through the process of reflecting on
the case, students are challenged to probe and share their understanding of an educational event.
Douglas J. Moody positions himself within the current debate about the learning potential of educational drama in
foreign-language acquisition. He sees this discussion as being polarized between those practitioners who use
process-oriented approaches and those educators who define their methodology as product-oriented. Moody
considers the correspondent effectiveness of educational drama in foreign-language acquisition from these two
distinct, though, as he argues, complementary perspectives: the product-oriented approach, which involves
processes of interpretation, rehearsal, and public performance of a text, is as valuable for language learning as is the
process-oriented approach, which leads naturally to products along its way, such as improvisations in order to justify
itself.
As a summary of Part II, Sarah Dodson shows the teaching approaches, methods, and techniques discussed
previously as applied to an ESL drama class. Through this complex example, she demonstrates the practical
framework of how drama-based instruction can integrate both oral communication

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and literacy skills in the learning process of the target language. The author explains the content-area activities that
lead to the students successful rewriting, rehearsing, and performing of an original play in English.
Part III, also in close reference to the theoretical stances on educational drama in Part I, sheds light on a broader
picture: the drama-based language curriculum. In direct continuity with the discussion of teaching approaches,
methods, and techniques in Part II, two extensive and somewhat different examples of how to unfold
interdisciplinary structures and relations in foreign- and second-language education are introduced.
Janet Hegman Shier argues in her chapter that the arts provide a framework to address at the same time cognitive
and affective aptitudes of the learner. Theater in particular, with its built-in commitment to both process and
product, provides an arena and model for learning that increases students confidence to reach beyond individual
cognitive and affective limitations as it promotes their responsibility and desire to be actively engaged in their own
learning process. The author describes the working methods of a multimedia university theater, which led to the
implementation of interdisciplinary art, drama, and imaginative writing assignments in first- and second-year German
language curricula. Shier discusses the value of embodying learning in a physical way to reach all learners and
emphasizes that the arts can facilitate the development of skillful communication based on knowledge, practice, and
personal experience.
Franziska Lys, Denise Meuser, John Paluch, and Ingrid Zeller document and comment on a production of Bertolt
Brechts Der Ozeanflug, a collaborative project between two university departments, German and Theater. The
goal of the project was to provide foreign-language instructors and students with a multidimensional academic
teaching and learning environment that would not only help unfold an interest in reading drama but also encourage
the use and production of language in a meaningful and culturally significant way. The chapter addresses the
pedagogical reasons for undertaking such a project, discusses the structure of the project within the context of a
course, and describes the experience of both teachers and students, as they move from working with Brecht in a
traditional classroom setting to performing it on stage.
Instead of an afterword, Karla Schultz and Penelope Heinigk present a chapter in which they share a close insight
into the emotional and motivational realm of foreign-language theater productions and promote the use of drama as
a means of educational pleasure in a Brechtian sense:
The house lights in the Pocket Theater go black. The audienceeighty-some students, faculty and community
visitorssits hushed. On stage, a mysterious blue liquid swirls in a bulbous vial, seemingly suspended in the dark.
We hear a sigh of satisfaction, then the down lights fade up. A lanky, gray-wigged Faust in cap and gown is holding
up the vial, the blue has paled to clear. He puts it on a

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shelf in the wings, walks behind a chalky-white lectern propped onto a garden column (bought cheaply from a hobby
shop), and commences to recite Goethes immortal introductory monologue, Hab nun, ach, die Philosophie und
leider auch die Theologie durchaus studiert mit heier Mh.
Once again, this book would not have been possible without the help of many people. I want to especially thank my
colleagues Cecily ONeill, Gerd Koch, and Florian Vaen, who served as reviewers of the submissions to this book.
Thanks also to Matthew Allen Hale from Emory University, who helped a great deal with the technical preparation of
the manuscript. My deepest gratitude goes to all of the contributors to this publication, with whom I have enjoyed
working. Last, but not least, I want to thank the production team from Greenwood Publishing Group, especially
senior editor Jane Garry, and George Ernsberger and Publishing Synthesis Ltd., for continuing encouragement and
guidance.
REFERENCES
Bruner, Jerome S. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Graff, Gerald. (1992). Beyond the cultural wars: How teaching the conflicts can revitalize American education. New
York: Norton.
Kao, Shin-Mei, & Cecily ONeill. (1998). Words into worlds: Learning a second language through process drama.
Stamford, London: Ablex.
Koch, Gerd, Gabriela Naumann, & Florian Vaen (Eds.). (1999). Ohne Krper geht nichts. Berlin: Schibri.
Morgan, Norah, & Juliana Saxton. (1987). Teaching drama: A mind of many wonders. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Piaget, Jean. (1962). Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton.
Turner, Mark. (1996). The literary mind: The origins of thought and language. New York: Oxford University Press.
Turners Web page: www.wam.umd.edu/~mturn/WWW/blending.html
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1998). Educational drama and language arts. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Zeki, Semir. (1999). Inner vision. An exploration of art and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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I
Goals and Potential

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1
Understanding Drama-Based Education
Betty Jane Wagner
Those of us who have chosen a career working with language have inevitably chosen to work with the bodies as
well as the minds of our students. What is language but sound produced on the breath by the complex action of the
tongue, palate, larynx, and glottal mechanism to create aural symbols that have meaning in a particular language
community? Indeed, communities are defined in large part by the language they share, a language that inevitably
embodies a culture, an ethos, and a worldview. Furthermore, within each broad language group, there are
subgroups defined by dialects and discourse communities that set them off from one another. How a group uses
language, what topics they choose to talk about, and at what level of formality or social distance at which they
communicate all help determine the character of a subgroup within any broader language community.
A second characteristic of language teaching is that it inevitably immerses us in a profoundly social milieu. At least
until computers can recognize and represent aural human speech a lot better than they can now and can be
programmed to respond spontaneously to speech (which I, for one, dont

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believe will ever happen), one cannot learn to creatively engage in a conversation in a language unless one has real
human beings to interact with. Audiotapes and computer language programs can help one learn certain common
exchanges or routine phrases, but to learn how to improvise new utterances one has not yet heard, at least one
other speaker of the target language is needed.
This is why informal improvisational drama activities are so powerful in the foreign-language classroom. To
participate in an improvisation, one needs to use the body not only to produce appropriate language but also to
express emotion and ideas through gesture, posture, and facial expression. Because the scene in a drama is an
imaginary one, the participant is free to exaggerate or assume a persona that frees him or her to experiment with a
wider range of language than ordinary exchanges might evoke.
Improvisational drama is effective because of the repeated pressure it puts on participants to respond. It is not
enough for students to hear the target language spoken; they need to talk themselves. Studies have shown that
television viewing as a medium for teaching language is of limited effectiveness. Children need not only to hear a
language spoken but also to be expected to respond by producing their own language. A number of recent studies
and reportssuch as those of Blanch (1974), Bryam and Fleming (1998), Erdman (1991), Gaudart (1990), Geffen
(1998), Kishimoto (1992), Masson (1994), Miller (1986), Ralph (1997), Welkner (1999), and Wilburn (1992)
demonstrate the effectiveness of drama in facilitating the learning of a foreign language.
COMPARISON WITH WRITING AND READING DEVELOPMENT
In the pedagogy of writing, two terms are often evoked: audience and purpose. Students who have neither are
unlikely to develop voice in their writing. They need to know first who will read what they write and why they need
to read it. Students simply write better for known audiences when they are telling about something they think their
reader needs to know. Writing in the classroom may look like it is personal and private, but as students read their
drafts to one another, the act of writing becomes social. The tension to produce a text that is true to what the writer
wants to say and yet also one that communicates to ones peers is central to the decisions that every writer must
make. For example, in a second-grade class made up largely of students who were born in Mexico, I asked the
students to write about what their families do to remedy a cough. One of the children wrote that his mother gave
him a spoonful of tequila at bedtime. One of his classmates asked, What is tequila? The fact of a social milieu, one
that included students of different cultures, created a need for greater precision in writing; in other words, audience
and purpose determined content. The same is true in a classroom drama. A

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language learner with an audience and a purpose is pressed to discover the words he needs to respond appropriately
in the context of the drama.
There is a parallel in the process of learning to read. It is often noted that children become literate in literate
environments, but literate environments are not enough, or turning kids loose in libraries would be all we need to
do. No, what has to happen is a gradual induction into a literate discourse community, a group of persons who talk
and interact in terms of a literate culture. It is not enough to learn to read and write; a literate person also needs to
learn how to talk like one who senses the value of the written wordhis own as well as that of others. Highly
valued instructional strategies, such as reading circles, authors chairs, collaborative writing, cooperative learning
groups, all share an emphasis on talk and on the community it generates. An effective foreign-language classroom
needs to do the same. Becoming literate is not just about the skills of literacyit is fundamentally about expanding
ones community, about entering a conversation that goes beyond the confines of the childs home and intimate
family and neighborhood group. Because our classrooms are increasingly multicultural, this means crossing ethnic
and cultural boundaries to converse with those who differ.
Becoming fluent in another language is not just about the mastery of the vocabulary and grammar of that language.
It is a way to expand ones community. Just as a reader lives in a wider world than a nonreader, so a speaker of
more than one language lives more broadly. Both reading and learning another language can also function as ways
to gain a perspective on ones own experience, language, and culture. As Marshall McLuhan said, I dont know who
discovered water, but I know it wasnt a fish. When we are immersed in only one language, we are not likely to be
aware of its peculiarities or limitations. As most learners of a second language will tell you, we discover our first
language as we dive into a second one.
When a person learns another language, something is undergone. We undergo when we allow our encounters to
modify our established conceptions. When we undergo an experience, we ultimately have to change ourselves and
our way of looking at the world. This is what true learning isa modification of our very selves.
No instructional strategy is any more powerful than drama-based education for creating situations in which students
undergo an experience that has the potential of modifying them as persons. Educational drama, which we define
here as informal classroom improvisation, affects the ways students think and learn. In the rest of this chapter, I
highlight research that shows dramas powerful effect on thinking, reading, writing, and foreign-language learning,
and I review two major theories that underlie drama as a way to learnthose of Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner.
Finally, I end with an illustration.
When students engage in improvisational drama, they are behaving symbolically. They are saying, for example, that
for the purposes of imaginative play, a certain chair is a pilots cockpit. This ability to say that this stands for

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that is critical to thought. Unless children can respond to and create symbols, they cannot learn to read, write, or
engage in mathematical thinking. Why do any of us want to converse, read, write, or reason? We engage in these
processes in order to perceive, to expand our perspective on, and to more deeply understand and enter into our
world. As we do this, we use symbols. Young children spontaneously engage in imaginative play for the same three
reasonsto understand, to gain a larger perspective on, and to interact more profoundly with their world.
In drama (just as in thinking, reading, and writing) students make meaning by connecting their prior experience to
the challenge of the momentto come up with an apt image and response as a player in an improvisation. This is
not different from the challenge of the reader or writer of a text to come up with an apt image or response.
In drama-based education, students generate an improvisationassuming a role in a particular moment in time and
creating with others a plausible world. I am not considering in this chapter performing textsacting out plays
although that can also be a very effective way to master another language.1
THE EFFECT OF DRAMA ON COGNITION, ORAL LANGUAGE, READING, AND WRITING
A great many studies show that drama develops thinking, oral language, reading, and writing. Six of these respected
studies show that drama improves students cognitive growth, as reflected in language skills, problem-solving ability,
and I.Q. Moreover, the changes are lasting.2
Several studies show that drama also improves role taking,3 which is comprehending and correctly inferring
attributes of another person. These inferences, which include anothers thinking, attitudes, and emotions, are a
function of cognitive perception. In Piagets terms, to engage in role taking is to decenter or move away from a
predominantly egocentric stage of development. Growth in cognition is dependent on growth in role taking.
Not surprisingly, drama improves oral language as well as thinking. I looked at thirty-two quasi-experimental or
correlational studies of the effects of drama on oral language development, and found that twenty-five of these
show that drama improves or correlates with improvement of oral language.4
And what is the effect of drama on reading? Five literature reviews conclude that drama seems to be effective in
promoting literacy.5 Eighteen out of twenty-nine quasi-experimental studies I found in the literature show that
drama improves story recall, comprehension, and/or vocabulary.6 To illustrate, lets look at the stunning results of
the Whirlwind Program in Chicago.
Whirlwind has developed a Reading Comprehension Through Drama program that is currently conducting a series of
twenty drama lessons in many

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Chicago public schools. Their widely respected statistical study (Parks & Rose, 1997) of fourth-graders showed that
the students who participated in the Whirlwind program improved three months more than the control-group
students in their Iowa Test of Basic Skills reading scores. This test is administered each spring to all Chicago public
school students. The Whirlwind students improved 12.1 months from 1996 to 1997 on the Iowa test, and those
without Whirlwind 9.1 months in the same period.
In the Reading Comprehension program, a group of Whirlwind actors read short stories to the children in grades K
8, and then they work together with them to act out the stories, draw pictures of them, and create threedimensional miniversions of them. In the process, they form more detailed images in their heads as they read; these
images are what help them remember and understand the facts of the story. The programs results have recently
come to the attention of Cozette Buckney, the Chief Education Officer of the Chicago public schools. If Whirlwind
had chosen to measure only the effect of the program on the drama skills of childrenwhich did improve
significantly, by the waythe impact might not have been noticed. But when reading skills improved, it was frontpage news in the Chicago Tribune (Beeler, 1999). This is why it is politically important for those of us who advocate
drama to share results like these with policymakers.
Drama has a positive effect on writing as well. Emergent literacy studies show that children give their early writing a
multimodality associated with gesture and graphics.7 Drama serves as an effective prewriting strategy, clarifying for
children concepts they might want to explore through writing.
Recent observational studies report remarkable maturity in student writing that emerges from drama.8 Significant
shifts in audience awareness occur before, during, and after drama. The writing produced in role shows more
attention to sensory imagery, awareness of the reader, insight into characters feelings and empathy, and the need
to clarify information and to disclose it selectively.
Seven statistical studies, including one I conducted, show that drama improves the quality of writing.9 It also
significantly correlates with early word-writing fluency. Preschoolers who engage in symbolic play and drawing are
more likely to read and write early.
Some of the best writing my own students have produced over the years has come when they are writing in role. At
this stage in my career, I cannot imagine teaching any content at any level, including the graduate level (as my
doctoral students will tell you) without drama. It is a powerful stimulus for thinking and writing.
THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS
For the past twenty-five years I have advocated that educational drama is a basic and central experience, not an
expendable frill in the classroom. When

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the late Jim Moffett and I were coauthoring the text Student-Centered Language Arts and Reading, K12 (1992), we
expanded the notion of basic language arts beyond the commonly accepted reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
We added dramatic inventing as one of the five basic skills because we firmly believe that drama is the matrix out
of which all the other so-called basic skills emerge, namely, speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In other words,
drama is the most basic of the basic skills.
What is the theory that explains the efficacy of improvisational or educational drama as a foundation for thinking,
reading, and writing? The theory is this: Both educational drama and literacy are rooted in the same assumptions
about learning. Two of the most generative learning theories to explain the role of improvisational drama are those
of Lev Vygotsky (1966; 1978) and Jerome Bruner (1983; 1986; 1990). Both were instrumental in ushering in the
constructivist theory of learning, and both provide a solid foundation for using drama in the classroom as a way to
deepen and enlarge understanding of any subject matter.
Several other major theorists have asserted that imaginative role-playing is central to the development of thinking:
Douglas Barnes (1968), James Britton (1970), and, of course, my coauthor, Moffett (Moffett & Wagner, 1992). Nor
should we overlook the guiding educational philosopher of the early decades of this century, John Dewey (1959), nor
Jean Piaget (1962), who, like Vygotsky (1966), showed how pretend play, especially the use of objects in a nonliteral
fashion, parallels cognitive development. Piaget (1962) asserted that conceptual thinking develops through activity,
spontaneous play, manipulation of objects, and social collaboration. He showed how participation in drama leads to
improved listening, comprehension, sequential understanding, and the integration of thought, action, and language.
Constructivist Theory of Learning
Our understanding of the learning process has undergone a sea change in the last three decades, and thanks to the
brain research quantum scientists are currently conducting, we may be on the verge of another such profound
change. Simplistic behaviorist models of learning are now largely discredited, except to account for mastering the
simplest of mechanical skills. Back in the 1950s when I was immersed in behaviorism at Yale University, Jerome
Bruner and other cognitive psychologists in New York were discovering the brilliant Russian psychologist, Lev
Vygotsky. They were not just tinkering with or reforming behaviorism; they were replacing it by putting the
significance of meaning and values back into the center of human psychology. They began a quest to discover and
describe formally how human beings create meaning. In so doing, they climbed into bed with thinkers who had been
banished from psychologys house for most of this century: philosophers, historians, anthropologists, linguists,
novelists, poets, and dramatists.

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The result has been the positing of the now widely held constructivist theory of learning based on the recognition
that knowledge is constructed by each learner. As children actively engage in experiencing the world, they are just as
actively constructing models in their minds to account for what they are undergoing. The way they think is literally
transformed by their experience and by their attempts to make sense of it, and especially by those experiences that
call for responses that are just beyond what they can generate on their own. Except for those psychologists who in
the last quarter century have shifted from the construction of meaning to the processing of information, likening the
brain to a computer, major learning theorists keep the making of meaning at the center of their understanding of
how the human mind works (Bruner, 1990, p. 4).
Constructivist theory posits that human beings actively create their own models or hypotheses as to how the world
works not just with the mental stuff of their biological brain but in dialogue with the culture in which they live. As
Bruner (1986) suggests, humans construct meaning in the presence of three worlds: (1) the world they are born
with, their innate human propensity to make sense of the world and their capacity to acquire language; (2) the
objective reality of the real world; and (3) the culture in which they are immersed.
According to Bruner, all theory in science and all narrative and interpretive knowing in the humanities are dependent
on the human capacity to createto imagine a world. This is the amazing capacity that markedly sets us off from
other members of the animal kingdom. As Susanne Langer (1957, p. 57) puts it, Imagination is the primary talent
of the human mind, the activity in whose service language has evolved.
Children are active meaning-makers both in their play and in their work. They imagine how things work, and they
test out those imaginings. In other words, learners are active, goal-oriented, hypothesis-generating symbol
manipulators.
Learners express the understandings they have constructed in symbolsin gestures first, then in spoken words,
drawings, and, finally, in written language. As they are pressured to find answers on their own, they are actively
learning. A recent comparative study of the differences between Japanese and U.S. math lessons showed that
teachers in Japan first ask students to solve a problem on their own before they teach a lesson. U.S. teachers tend
to teach the lesson first and then ask the students to apply what they have learned. The Japanese students learn
faster and more thoroughly. Drama is more like the Japanese math lesson. Each drama creates a problem for
students before they have been taught how to respond. They act first and then reflect on their actions. Perhaps this
accounts for dramas power in effecting learning.
Another characteristic of drama is its emotional component. Because of the immediacy of the dramatic present and
the pressure to respond aptly in role in a social setting, participants become vividly alive to the moment and alert

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to what is expected of them. As they get caught up in the emotion of the dramatic activity, they are often able to
express themselves in a more mature manner and language than they could otherwise.
Zone of Proximal Development
Both dramatic improvisation and a dialogue with a teacher or more knowledgeable peer can provide the lure to learn
in what Vygotsky (1978, p. 86) calls a learners zone of proximal developmentthe level just beyond the one at
which one can function on ones own. Watch children in their spontaneous play. They typically take on adult roles.
Perhaps because they are little and powerless, they want to be the captain of the rocket ship, the most powerful
Ninja, the bossy mother who knows what everyone needs and should be doing.
As children engage in spontaneous symbolic play or classroom drama directed by a teacher, they assume not only
the language but also the personae of important adults. In the process, they are catapulted into a developmental
level that is above their actual one. As they improvise, they are pressured to behave and use language in new and
previously untried ways.
For example, Lee Galda and Anthony Pellegrini (1990) report on a three-year-old-girl and a four-year-old girl who
are playing doctor together. As they take off the dolls imaginary diaper, one reprimands the other for using the word
poo poo when in role as the doctor (p. 94). The act of taking on a new persona demands a word choice beyond
the language of her everyday life. The experiences the child has had in the society of adults is brought to bear on
the task at hand, and the pull is toward internalizing a diction that had not ever before been part of the childs own
repertoire. This experience is not different in kind from that of the foreign-language learners who must try on a new
way of expressing ideas.
How is an improvisational drama different from a story the child hears or reads? Drama is done not just with words
but also with the body and gesture. It can be engaged in long before the child is ready to read and write. Therefore,
Vygotsky sees it as the powerful prelude to and appropriate extension of literacy. Although young children often roleplay alone, accompanying their actions with a flood of egocentric speech, when they start dramatic play with other
children, they have to mesh their speech with that of others. It will no longer do to say only what they want to say.
They must respond appropriately to the action and speech of others. Dramatic play is a profoundly challenging social
event. Players must negotiate a single vision of what the drama is about, what the setting looks like, who takes
which roles, and so on.
Often in improvisational drama, we find children scaffolding, that is, providing a framework on which other children
can stand as they are pressured into their zone of proximal development. Holly Giffin (1984) presented an example
of this in an observation of a child in role as queen

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who is playing with a boy who is not quite yet able to imagine himself in his role. She orders him to bring her a vial
of poison, and he comes back with a paper cup with real water. He grins sheepishly and smiles, Its only water.
Without for a moment stepping out of role, the queen takes it, sniffs it, and decides, Youre right! Go get me the
other vial. The next time her page comes in and bows, he is firmly in role. Here is the poison, your Majesty.
Drama can challenge children to use both gesture and language they have never needed before. Gesture is a
communication system even more basic to humans than language.
The Role of Gesture
Our first experiences both before and after birth were centered in our bodies. As newborns, we knew when we were
hungry, dry, comfortable, held in strong and loving arms. As infants, every part of our body was engaged in making
sense of our worldin constructing meaning.
Before we could talk, we used gestures to communicate. Vygotsky sees these as the earliest symbolic behavior. We
reached toward and pointed at what we wanted. We waved bye, bye before we had a word to go with the
gesture. Thus movement and gesture, even before vocalization, are the beginning of communication. Gesture starts
as random movement and ends as precise symbol. Random vocalization grows into speech; gesture develops into
drawing and, later, writing. Writing begins with a babys gestures in the air; these are signs and symbols just as our
later pictures and writings on paper are also.
Watch a child turn a block into an airplane or rocket. The gesture becomes the thing, and the child who is making
this happen knows perfectly well this is a game of pretend. Because of the way he is moving the object, it has
become for the moment a symbol for something else. If you ask him if this is a real rocket, hell look at you like you
are stupid. Of course, it is not. But, please, lets keep the game going; dont stop the pretending to ask dumb
questions like that.
Gesturebecause it is done with the handalso leads to drawing. The first drawings children do are not
representational; rather, they are metaphorical symbols. This circle stands for a face. Most young children go
through the familiar stage of drawing tadpole people. These simple drawings are not representations of the real
people they see. Instead they are simply shorthand symbols. Arms and legs are just sticks attached to the circle. As
Howard Gardner puts it, their early pictures stand for the entire class or represent an ideal type, instead of
depicting particulars that can be identified and then paired up with their realization in the real world (Gardner,
1980, p. 65). Vygotsky sees both drawing and drama as developing from gesture. From the symbolizing in drawing
and drama, it is just a short step to writing.

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Enactive, Iconic, and Symbolic Representations of the World
Now lets consider the theory of the second major constructivist, Jerome Bruner. He sees gesture as enactive
representationone of the three major ways human beings thinkways they represent and deal with reality:
enactive, iconic, and symbolic or representational.
Enactive representation. Enactive is with the hand, iconic with the eye, and symbolic with the brain. In enactive
knowing we learn by doing, by experiencing with our body. Iconic knowing is knowing through an imageeither in
the mind, in drawing, or in gesture. Symbolic knowing encompasses translation into language, the symbol system
par excellence . However, all three kinds of knowing are actually symbolic.
We can easily see that drama involves all three kinds of representation. Role players use their bodies, create images
in their minds and with their gestures, and use language to symbolize experience. Often in educational drama,
participants stop to create drawings to help them visualize their common experience. Thus, participants in drama
engage in enactive, iconic, and symbolic representation.
In Chicago, in addition to the reading comprehension program described earlier, the Whirlwind artists showed firstgraders how to make letters with their bodiesenactively learning to connect shapes with sounds, an essential for
early reading development. A statistical study (Rose, 1999) showed that after twenty sessions, the children who
physically represented sounds by making shapes with their bodies improved significantly more than control students
in their ability to recognize both consonant and vowel sounds and to separate spoken words into their phonemes.
Enactive learning is very effective with young children.
Iconic representation. Now lets look at iconic representationknowing through images. Like role-playing, drawing
stems from gesture. It is gesture crystallized. But not only drawing or drama creates images. Without imaging in our
minds we cannot read or write either. So like enactive representation, iconic knowing is not unique to drama.
The growth of representational or symbolic thought is largely dependent on the ability to create mental images.
Image begins as fleeting sensate happening, neural firings, and sensorimotor rehearsal. With the onset of the stage
of development Piaget has termed object permanence, the child can hold the image and recall it when absent. This
gives way to symbolic thought and dramatic play. Giving children a good environment that encourages them to
imitate and symbolically play will enhance imagery skills and cognitive development.10
Studies show that the ability to fantasize freely is a cognitive skill related to concentration, fluency, and the ability to
organize and integrate diverse

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stimuli. Drama influences imagery toward increased discrimination and vividness, and enhances the students ability
to control their images.
Writing, like reading, is dependent on iconic representation. The challenge, especially for the fiction writer and poet,
is in large part to create pictures with words.
Symbolic representation. As noted earlier, both dramatic play and drawing are ways children enter imaginatively into
their worlds. In both, they are engaging in symbolism. Because dramatic play and drawing are ways of saying this
stands for that, Vygotsky sees both as a precursor to writing. Like gestures, all threedramatic play, drawing, and
writingare symbolic acts. It is just a step from drawing and drama to using letters symbolically, because writing is
simply another way of symbolizing, and like drama and drawing, it has its roots in gesture. It is done with the hand,
not the voice. It is putting onto a page something that stands for something else. A letter of the alphabet is simply a
symbol for a speech sound.
Like drawing and writing, in improvisational drama one thing stands for another. The only difference is that the
setting for drama must be a social one. Even here, however, there is an overlap with reading and writing. Literacy
events for young children tend to be highly social occasions as well, as A.H. Dyson (1990) has so richly documented.
THE FIRST SCREAM
To illustrate the power of drama and the other arts in helping students learn enactively and iconically, I close with
an illustration of a classroom improvisational drama. The focus on the concrete symbol led to an understanding by
the children of a much larger and more abstract issuethe need for safety regulations in factories.
This is an account of an eight-year-olds response to a well-developed weeklong unit of study incorporating drama as
well as other arts in Bradford, England. Christopher Ford conducted this history lesson for a group of seven-to nineyear-olds. He used a true story about an event in the history of the school as the theme for the first week of the
school year. The event was a tragic one set in 1869, when the boiler exploded in a bobbin mill that had stood next
door to the school the students now attended. The safety valve of this steam boiler had been blowing off frequently
in the weeks leading up to the tragedy. Local shopkeepers had complained. The manager of the mill told the
boilerkeeper to do something to stop the complaints. He did. He put weights on top of the safety valve and tied
them down with heavy rope.
At 10:25 on a Wednesday morning, just as the primary children went out into the playground next to the mill for
recess, the boiler exploded. It demolished the mill, killing many workers inside, including the managers

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son. The wall collapsed onto the playground killing eight children and injuring many more. The bodies of two fiveyear-old boys were found with the hobbyhorse on which they were playing. The heavy safety valve from the boiler
was found over a quarter of a mile away in a railway goods yard. The country was outraged. New laws about factory
safety were passed as a result.
The class of children explored this story through drama, reading, and writing for the entire week. Mr. Ford led them
through enactive, iconic, and symbolic representations of the event. The children looked at Victorian photographs
and found out about Victorian schools. They read the local newspapers of the day and paid special attention to the
London Times of 1869 to see what the children or their parents might have talked about at the breakfast table on
the day of the tragedy. They looked for news items that children of that day might have noticed.
Then they used the enactive symbolization of dance to explore a theme of force and power against the fragility of
people. They explored though drama the actions of town persons who heard about the tragedy and the reactions of
relatives and friends of those who were killed or injured. They took on the roles of those who were near rather than
actually in the explosion.
One source of information puzzled them. It was the original school logbook, which the school still keeps. There they
read the headmasters comments of that day. It merely said, Was obliged to send the children home today owing to
the boiler explosion, eight of the children having been killed and many injured. Nothing more. The next entry was
for three weeks later and read, Commenced school today with a very fair attendance.
After a few days of absorbing information about this event, the children focused on the first scream. Here the work
became iconic, to use Bruners term. The children used art materials to create an image of the first scream. Lydias
clay piece was a stark profile of a face with a wide-open mouth.
Then they dramatized that first scream, moving to enactive representation. Then they froze the action to capture a
moment in time. They shared with each other their split-second pictures created with their bodies. The teacher
asked them to think about a piece of writing that could capture a split second of the whole event, but that would
somehow tell people everything they needed to know about what happened. Lydias poem shows the way her iconic
and enactive learning fed into her use of words:
THE FIRST SCREAM
One day.
An ordinary school day.
Wednesday 9th July 1869, an eight year old screamed in the
National School on Park Road.
Children in the school were as still
and silent as mice and stared across the room
to where Emily Grey was standing.

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Now, Emily Grey was a nice girl. She had blond curly hair, blue
eyes, rosy red cheeks and pinky-red smooth lips
But now she had wide, peeled eyes, pale face and a dry sore
throat.
Emily Grey was petrified.
She had her eyes fixed outside. All kinds of thoughts were
jumbled in her mind.
Astonished, puzzled, confused, hurt.
In the playground below, bricks piled high.
Heavy, jagged, sharp, rough.
And underneath a face.
Soft, gentle, delicate, smooth
Blond hair, blue eyes, rosy cheeks.
Her sister.
By Lydia, aged 8
This young child was able to capture the ordinariness of the scene and the sense that this little girl did not deserve
this fateshe was nice. The poem builds from the sound of the scream that riveted the attention of the class to
Emily Greys face, then to what she saw outside, and finally to the denouement of the last two words. The
juxtaposition of adjectives painted the picture graphically: heavy, jagged, sharp, rough versus soft, gentle,
delicate, smooth. Economy of language, sensory imagery, dramatic juxtaposition, and the shock of the last lineall
lead to the powerful impact of this profound response to a real but at first distant historical event.
Soon after this week, the school held one of many open houses for children to share their work with their parents.
The teacher explained to Lydias mother that it had taken a whole week to write those few lines, and that no other
writing had been done during that week. He asked her how she felt about that. Did she mind the fact that her
daughter only wrote a few lines in a whole week? She replied that she had spent all her life never writing lines like
that, so her daughter only taking a few days to do it was a wonder, not a worry.
In conclusion, drama aids thinking because it has the same goal as that of all cognitionto understand, to gain a
larger perspective on, and to engage more profoundly with the world. This is the goal of foreignlanguage teaching
at its best, and it should be no surprise that for reaching this goal, drama is a highly effective teaching strategy.
NOTES
1. See, for example, Peter M. Spoerls, Spelunkenpadagogik: A Personal Account of Dramatic Performance in the
Foreign Language Classroom, Correspondence, 35/36, 510.
2. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 5, Reflection and Cognition, in Betty Jane
Wagner, Educational Drama and Language Arts: What Research Shows , pp. 7789.

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3. Ibid. , pp. 8486.
4. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 3, Oral Language in Wagner, Educational
Drama, pp. 3456.
5. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 9, Story Recall, Reader Response, and
Comprehension, in Wagner, Educational Drama, pp. 173198.
6. Ibid. , pp. 187198.
7. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 7, Writing, in Wagner, Educational
Drama, pp. 123132.
8. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 4, Language Power Through Working in
Role by David Booth, pp. 5776; and Chapter 7, Writing, pp. 123129, in Wagner, Educational Drama.
9. For elaboration, analysis, and citations of these studies, see Chapter 7, Writing, in Wagner, Educational
Drama, pp. 132147.
10. See Chapter 5, Reflection and Cognition, in Wagner, Educational Drama, pp. 7789.
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1, 3.
Blanch, Emma. J. (1974). Dramatics in the foreign-language classroom. ERIC focus reports on the teaching of foreign
languages, No. 23. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 096 847).
Britton, James. (1970). Language and learning. Baltimore: Penguin.
Bruner, Jerome S. (1983). Childs talk: Learning to use language. New York: Norton.
Bruner, Jerome S. (1986). Play, thought, and language. Prospects , 16, 7783.
Bruner, Jerome S. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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Dewey, John. (1959). Art as experience. New York: Putnams.
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Rubin (Eds.), Perspectives on thought and learning (pp. 99114). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of
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Erdman, Harley. (1991). Conflicts of interest: Bringing drama into the elementary foreign language classroom. Youth
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Galda, Lee, & Pellegrini, Anthony D. (1990). Play talk, school talk, and emergent literacy. In Susan Hynds & Donald
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Gardner, Howard. (1980). Artful scribbles. New York: Basic Books.
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Kishimoto, Toshiko. (1992). Teaching business Japanese and culture using authentic materials: A popular television
drama . South Carolina. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 348 867).
Langer, Susanne L. (1957). Philosophy in a new key. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Masson, Catherine. (1994). Pratique de loral par le theatre (Oral practice by way of role playing). In M. Mahler (Ed.),
RELIEF: revue de linguistique et denseignement du franais (Review of linguistics and French language instruction).
Ontario, Canada. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 377 678).
Miller, Marsha Lee. (1986). Using drama to teach foreign languages. Texas. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service
No. ED 282 439).
Moffett, James, & Wagner, Betty Jane. ([1976, 1983] 1992). Student-centered language arts and reading, Kl2 .
Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Heinemann.
Parks, Michaela, & Rose, Dale. (1997). The impact of Whirlwinds Reading Comprehension Through Drama program
on 4th grade students reading skills and standardized test scores . San Francisco: 3-D Group.
Piaget, Jean. ([1945] 1962). Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton.
Ralph, E. G. (1997). The power of using drama in the teaching of second languages: Some recollections. McGill
Journal of Education , 32 (3), 273288.
Rose, Dale. (1999). The impact of Whirlwinds Basic Reading Through Dance program on first grade students basic
reading skills: Study II . San Francisco: 3-D Group.
Spoerl, Peter M. (2000). Spelunkenpdagogik: A personal account of dramatic performance in the foreign language
classroom. Correspondence , 35/36, 510.
Vygotsky, Lev S. (1966). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Soviet Psychology, 12, 6276.
Vygotsky, Lev S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. (M. Cole, V. JohnSteiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1990). Dramatic improvisation in the classroom. In Susan Hynds & Donald L. Rubin (Eds.),
Perspectives on talk and learning (pp. 195211). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1994). Drama and writing. In A. C. Purvis (Ed.), The encyclopedia of English studies and
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Wagner, Betty Jane. (1997). Books at play . Worthington, OH: SRA/McGraw-Hill.
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Heinemann.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (Ed.). (1999). Building moral communities through educational drama . Greenwich, CT: Ablex.
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Islands.
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(Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (pp. 787804), sponsored by the International
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classroom: Interpretations. Japan. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 436 094).
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2
Intercultural Recognitions Through Performative Inquiry
Lynn Fels and Lynne McGivern
Singing the space
there are meetings
and I am transformed . . .
Barba (1995; 165)
At the edge of dawn, child warriors, we stand, shoulder to shoulder. Our tribal chief walks the line that separates us,
adorning tribal ribbons on our chests. Wear these with pride, my sons, my daughters. This ribbon symbolizes your
membership in our tribe. It speaks of the history of our people and of our courage. It speaks of our presence in
harmony with the land. Be strong, be of good heart and care for each other. He clasps our hands, and together we
become one with the tribe. The ceremony ends and we slip away. Some dash off to splash in the stream, others pick
blueberries, and some of us secret ourselves in the woods to spy on older siblings. The sun seeks a higher loft in the
sky, and blesses us with the bright warmth of day.1

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LANGUAGE LEARNING THROUGH DRAMATIC EXPLORATION AS A MEETING PLACE OF INTERCULTURAL
CONVERSATION AND TRANSFORMATION
Successful foreign- or second-language learning requires an embodied understanding by the learner of the context,
land, history, cultural, social, and political environments experienced by first-language speakers. Language learning is
a personal, communal, and political act that involves border-crossingsstrangers in a new land. Critical applied
linguistics2 recognizes the foreign-/second-language classroom as a site of struggle where social issues and cultural
values play a significant role in the curriculum (Norton, 1995; Toohey, 2000). The tools and strategies we choose
and the curriculum we present embody our own pedagogical positioning, values, and expectations for both our
students and ourselves.
As the various authors of this book illustrate, drama can be a dynamic tool for teachers who seek to situate foreignand second-language learning within a context and environment. Drama transforms the four walls of a classroom
into a variety of situations, environments, and relationships that require students to take on roles and contextspecific language. Students navigate these dramatic situations in pairs or small groups, often with the rest of the
class as audience. Sometimes they work with a written script; sometimes they improvise within the logic of the
scene, and so learn the vocabulary and grammatical structures required within a given context of play. The objective
of these drama activities in the foreign-/second-language classroom is to give students the opportunity, through
simulation, to rehearse linguistic exchanges that they may encounter in everyday life.
Unfortunately, the dramatic situations usually proposed by language instructors or textbooks involve one-dimensional
situations with a prescribed dialogue and conclusion. Students, for example, are required to take on the roles of
customers and waiters, store clerks and shoppers, doctors and patients in which dialogue and action are often
restricted to the learning objectives of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Consequently, learning opportunities
provided by such drama activities to explore beyond the given text or to engage in critical thinking or creative
exploration are limited.
From a critical applied linguistics perspective, the scenarios typically chosen for drama-based foreign- and secondlanguage learning promote the dominant culture, consciously or unconsciously reinforcing cultural behaviors,
expectations, and relationships common to the culture of the language being taught. Absent from or silenced in
these dramatic exchanges are the identities and experiences of language students who are instructed to work within
a prescribed text. Lost is an opportunity for a sharing of multiple perspectives, for engaging in intercultural dialogue,
and, most importantly,

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for inviting a shifting of paradigms that signal an embodied understanding that opens new possible conversations.
Not walls
of cement, but . . .
the melodies
of our presence3
Each of us and our students dwell within an embodied presence of language, gender, sexual and ethnic identity,
cultural heritage and values, individual and communal experiences, ambitions, and perspectives. Our embodied
presence speaks through our choices of action, the positions we take, the curriculum we create or to which we
respond, and our relationships with others both within and outside the classroom.
The questions that challenge us are the following: How do we engage the embodied presence of individual students
within our language classrooms? In the opening up of curriculum to the presence of our students, what learning will
be realized within the interplay between the multiple world(s) of experience and identities embodied within each
individual? What concerns, fears, challenges, questions will students entertain as they (re)language their world?
What issues will they choose (if given a choice) to explore? How will individual melodies resonate within the
presence of others? With what experiences, memories, stories, will they gift us? How may we as teachers and
learners engage in a meaningful dialogue that invites the sounding of all voices?
As Ann Axtmann investigates in her chapter on Transcultural Performance in Classroom Learning, the opportunities
within the foreign-/second-language classroom for intercultural pedagogy are facilitated through creative exploration
through the arts, or what we name performative inquiry. Drama activities such as improvisation, tableau, or writing
in role open spaces for intercultural conversations that can transport students beyond the mechanics of conventional
language learning into an empowering world of political and communal recognitions that invite new spaces of
intercultural dialogue and understanding.
Our ambition then is to engage our students in dramatic explorations that recognize the experiences, heritage,
values, and stories embodied within individual students. Performative inquiry in the language classroom provides an
opportunity to open up a third space of presence and exploration, where intercultural interactions and possible
negotiations and recognitions emerge.4
A third space or performative space is a creative interactive space within which participants negotiate multiple
possibilities of action and, through shared participation and reflection, learn from each other both within and outside
the drama. For example, in a role drama of the fabled Pied Piper, students in role as town councilors may reverse
their decision not to pay

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the Pied Piper when faced by a delegation of shopkeepers decrying the financial impact of a town without children,
or when confronted by the tears and threat of lawsuits by parents enraged by the loss of their children to the
slighted pipers tune. Within the performative space of the role drama, children learn that individual choices of action
have repercussions and that decisions need to be carefully considered and negotiated from multiple perspectives.
As educators, our challenge is to break free from Barbas walls of cement that so often inform our curriculum and
to venture into the intertextural5 realm of social responsibility and intercultural learning that drama invites. By giving
ourselves permission to release the expected and prescribed scripts of drama-based language learning, we open
curricular spaces of intercultural possibility for students within a pedagogical environment of dynamic interplay and
recognition of the presence of others.
Language is inclusive of the language of experience, environment, and relationship; context; spoken, written, and
danced language; cultural beliefs and valuesan embodied text that speaks across time and experience (Norton,
1995; Norton/Toohey, 2002; McGivern, 2002). Each one of us is an embodied text, and as we engage in
conversation and interaction, intercultural texts are written or spoken or played into shared memory and presence.
Within the possible imaginary worlds of performative inquiry, the classroom becomes a site of questioning and
reimagining, a playing with language, choices of action, and possibility. The role drama on residential schools
explored in this chapter is a powerful illustration of the possibilities of performative inquiry as an intercultural space
of embodied exploration and learning.
Opportunities for intercultural learning through drama are as multiple as the cultural, social, economic, communal
and personal experiences, perspectives, and imaginations of the participants at play. To listen to the melodies of our
presence as students engage in intercultural conversations of embodied play is to open the door to a stranger and
enter into a transcognitive dance of recognition.
DRAMA AS A TEACHING TOOL AND RESEARCH SITE OF INTERCULTURAL RESPONSIBILITY AND
RECOGNITION
I teach a drama-in-education course every summer.6 The classroom is my research site: Through drama or what we
call embodied play,7 we create imaginary worlds, and within those worlds, we learn about ourselves, our choices of
action, our responsibilities to others. Today, a hot July morning, we set aside our coffee cups, and gather into our
circle as shafts of sunlight fall through the high windows of the classroom. When the four students

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leading the days role drama announce that for the next ninety minutes we are to be in role as First Nations people,8
I become apprehensive.
Donning the roles of aboriginals is risky business: Always, there is the danger of stereotyping; the risk of stepping on
cultural and racial sensitivities; a superficial pretending to be what we are not. Cultural sensitivity, authenticity, and
respect play against the precarious benefit of exploring native issues through drama. The language and experience
of the First Nations people is not my language or experience. As a drama educator, I must judiciously balance the
risks of cultural injury with the possibilities and opportunities of learning. My concerns are mirrored on the faces of
the other participants, a multicultural grouping of teachers and student teachers who have enrolled in the course to
investigate drama as a teaching tool cross-curriculum. Should we enter into this?
Leading the role drama are two First Nations students, a second-language learner from Japan, and a Canadian-born
native speaker of English, who now wait patiently for our commitment. They have designed the drama and are
curious about the possible world(s) that will unfold as we breathe life into the skeleton of their imagined text. They
have questions that they want to investigate through drama, and they are placing trust in us to join their
explorations. The imaginary world we are about to create will be one guided by them. I take a deep breath and trust
that the path we lay down in walking (Varela, 1987, 63) will lead us to compassionate interstanding.9
PERFORMATIVE INQUIRY AS EMBODIED INTERTEXTUAL LEARNING
performance is heartbreath
dancing possibility
and interstanding into presence
Performative inquiry is a research methodology and mode of learning that invites students to explore imaginary
worlds within which space-moments10 of interstanding and intercultural recognitions are possible. Performative
inquiry explores creative actions and interactions realized through performance.11 Performative inquiry recognizes
performance as an action-site of learning,12 thereby opening up opportunities for research and teaching
investigations. Within the possible imaginary worlds of performative inquiry, the classroom becomes a site of
questioning and reimagining, a playing with language, choices of action, and possibility. Initiating the inquiry is a
question, an issue, a fragment of story, an experience, or phenomenon that the teacher and students wish to
investigate. Performative inquiry uses elements of role drama, including soundscapes, tableau, writing-in-role, and
improvisation to initiate embodied intertextual conversations within imaginary world(s) created by participants.

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For example, a teacher may be interested in exploring the issue of bullying with his or her students. Rather than
holding a class discussion, the teacher decides to investigate the issue through performative inquiry. She designs a
role drama situated in a fictional community where bullying is a problem in the local school. The children, in role as
school administrators, teachers, social workers, or concerned parents, are invited to a meeting to develop an action
plan. What concerns will they raise? What solutions will they propose? After the role drama, students reflect on what
they learned about bullying and the communitys responsibilities and choices of action in situations where children
are being bullied. Through their embodied play in role and in the reflection following the role drama, the teacher and
her students may gain insight into the causes and effects of bullying and may be encouraged to actively address the
problem of bullying in their own lives.
An essential component of performative inquiry is a collective sharing of experience and reflections among
participants following the performative exploration: What happened, what choices of action were taken, what other
actions or responses might have been possible, what insights or feelings or questions emerged, what might have
been learned from the experience? This reflection may be in the form of group discussions, circle-sharing, journal
writing, or replaying situations that emerged during the initial inquiry.
Performance boldly and precariously declares that Being is performed (and made temporarily visible) in that
suspended in-between.
Phelan, 1993, 167
A theoretical understanding of performance13 as a mode of learning may be helpful in a conversation about drama
as a teaching and research tool within a foreign-/second-language classroom. Performative inquiry is based on a
theory of learning that recognizes that learning is realized through performance.14 Performative inquiry draws, in
part, from enactivism (e.g., Varela et al., 1993; Davis et al., 1996) through which learning is a laying down in
walking of new possible worlds. Knowledge is seen as not separate from the learner but embodied within creative
action and interaction. What we do, Varela (1987) says, is what we know, and ours is but one of many possible
worlds. It is not a mirroring of the world, but the laying down of a world (62).
These new possible worlds may be created through the actions and interactions of students in role; it is within
performance that exploration happens and possible space-moments of learning may emerge. For example, the
students leading the residential school role drama wanted to explore the impact that residential schools have had on
First Nations people: How has the aboriginal residential school experience influenced individual and communal
responses and choices of action? Cognizant of the need to help their fellow students understand the impact that the
loss of community and cultural

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heritage through forced assimilation might have had on First Nations people, these students chose a dramatic
framework within which to set their inquiry. Their ambition was to create an imaginary world where students in role
as First Nations people could view aboriginal issues and experiences from a new perspective.15 Through ritual,
visualization, improvisation, and symbolic artifacts, students in role were able to create and sustain an imaginary
world that allowed investigation of First Nations issues from within.
Performative inquirythe exploration of a topic or issue through performanceinvolves an ongoing bringing forth
of a world (Maturana & Varela, 1992), created by participants who bring to their dramatic play embodied texts of
knowledge based on their experiences, cultural heritage, and relationships with others. The multiple perspectives
brought into the imaginary world(s) of performance by individual students and the consequent interactions between
create an embodied text of creative interplay and intertextual conversations that may be reflected upon at the
conclusion of the role drama. For example, in the role drama on residential schools, choices of action taken within
the role drama were later discussed during the debriefing session with the four role drama leaders and participants.
Individual students spoke of the choices of action they had taken within the drama, and the impulses behind their
action. Together they reflected on why they had responded the way they had during the role drama, wondered
whether they might have acted the same way if they had found themselves within a similar situation in the real
world, and shared individual insights and perspectives in relation to their own lives that participation in the role
drama brought to light.
Possible space-moments of learning come into being through (re)playing the landscape of inquiry through creative
action and interaction. Learning is possible through inhabiting and investigating imaginary world(s) that are
momentarily played into being. By entering into the role drama, participants in role as First Nations people may
encounter moments of interstanding that shift their understanding of the issues being explored. For example, a
student may discover that a historical event in a history book written by a British publisher plays differently when,
in role, he or she experiences the disempowerment of a parent whose child is taken by a government official. These
space-moments of learning or interstanding are what drama educators call Aha! moments.16 Aha! moments are
moments of recognition or transcognitionspace-moments of learningthat come into being in the interstices
between the real world(s) and not-yet real world(s) of performance.17
A solitary moment within a role drama brings forth a new possible world and, within a space-moment of recognition,
opens new horizons within which to wonder and wander.
Learning then is an ecological interaction: Performance plays on the edge of chaos where patterns of interrelations
and interconnections are created

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and re-created through an endless dance of co-emergence (Waldrop, 1992, 12). Learning becomes an embodied
laying down in walking realized through the interplay between participants within coevolving world(s).18 What
determines the footsteps that mark the coemerging path(s) are the cultural, racial or ethnic, sexual, social, political,
economic, communal and personal experiences and identities of individual participants. Intercultural recognitions
what Ann Axtmann calls transculturalizationhappen when students understand the world from a new perspective.
Performative inquiry, then, is a research methodology and mode of learning that invites the coevolving world(s) of
performance, interpretation, complexity, and cognition into a transformative dance of possibility.
To entertain performative inquiry as a research vehicle and curricular place of learning is to recognize risk, the
unexpected, that opens us to possibility and impossibility.19 There is risk in imagining into being a space to explore
the world(s) of First Nations people; there is risk in giving voice and presence to students; there is risk in trusting in
the moment. And yet, it is within the intertextual interplay realized through performance that intercultural
recognitions, empowerment, and interstanding become possible.
As a tool for exploration and interpretation, performative inquiry invites teachers and students to investigate their
world(s) through creative and critical (re)imagining. By locating performance, or specifically, drama, within a learning
theory and research methodology, we, as teachers and researchers, open spaces of curricular and linguistic
exploration. On the edge of chaos, where our imaginary and embodied worlds coemerge in a continuous intertextual
dance, we locate ourselves within spaces of creative action and interaction, where unexpected possibilities of
intercultural recognitions dance into being.
RECOGNIZING OTHER WITHIN
I am braiding the hair of my youngest child. Her brother is playing outside with friends. My neighbor has come to
visit, and we chat idly, as Grandmother sits in the corner, snoozing. A knock breaks our conversation. Ah, another
neighbor, I murmur, opening the door. But it is a stranger. He is dispassionate, official. I have come for your son.
Residential school. It is decreed by the Canadian government. Looking over his shoulder, I see my son coming
towards us. At other houses, too, there are government officials knocking on doors. They have papers. They have
come for our children. My son turns to run, but they have anticipated this. He is seized and taken away with the
others. Our children. No! My cry of pain, despair, rises above us, startles us into silence. My son and I look at each
other, no words but my hand reaching out to him.

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Performative inquiry opens spaces of intertextual play within which social responsibility and individual and communal
response may be investigated. When we take on a role, often we are said to be in the shoes of the one we are
playing. Yet, to claim to be so entirely is impossible. A former First Nations residential school student and a Japanese
male ESL student are worlds apart, and yet, through drama, it is possible for either to have a momentary recognition
of the realities that shape each others world(s). Although we bring unique perspectives, experience, and cultural
understandings to individual situations, there are moments when, like Alice in the Looking Glass, in role, we slip
through an opening in the gap, and stand in-between worlds for a momentary glimpse of another place and another
way of being. It is a moment when we stumble, when we gasp in recognition, when time stops, and we suddenly
understand that there is another possible view from which to see our world, another possible action that we might
pursue. This space-moment of learning is what Applebaum calls the stop.
Between closing and beginning lives a gap, a caesura, a discontinuity. The betweenness is a hinge that belongs to
neither one nor the other. It is neither poised nor unpoised, yet moves both ways . . . It is the stop.
Applebaum (1995, 15, 16)
I have read of the dislocation of First Nations children to residential schools and imagined how parents might have
felt. However, it was not until the terrible scene in our role drama when the government official dragged away my
child, that I truly connected with the pain of loss and disempowerment experienced multiple times within our
nations history. And, within a heartbreath, I had a momentary glimpse of the pain and consequences of such a
moment. How could a mother lose her child and not forever be broken? How could a child, in the brutal stripping
away of family relationships, culture, and language, not look back in anger and despair? During debriefing, the
student in role as my son, spoke to his sudden recognition of his situation. It wasnt until I heard your cry and saw
your tears, that I began to question my own response and suddenly, I felt afraid and began to fight back.
Drama requires a leap of trust in which students, playing in role, touch, however briefly, the emotional anguish of a
parent losing her child and a childs desperate response. In that temporal moment, we embody the First Nations
communitys wounding, and (re)experience the scarring imposed by another culture. We cannot claim ownership to
another individuals or cultural groups experience, but we can open ourselves to witness and honor their stories,
experiences, and memories through the momentary glimpse that is gifted us through drama. While not claiming to
be in the shoes of the other, compassion for anothers experience becomes part of the conversation, an
intercultural learning shared through dramatic (re)play.20

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How do we read the silent conversations within and outside the dramatic world(s) of shared experience? The
government official at the door is a stranger, and yet he and his actions are also my heritage and responsibility. I, a
Caucasian female, in role as a First Nations mother, open the door to the Japanese male ESL student playing the role
of a Canadian government official. What comes to light is an odd overlapping of roles, identities, histories, cultural
stories, and experiences. Performative inquiry layers question upon question, seeking not answers, only possibilities
within the betweenness of exploration. What intercultural relationships evolve in a single meeting that are in truth
multiple meetings realized through time and space?
it is in the meeting places between we become
Here and Now, something happens.
In the foreign-/second-language classroom, students seek entry into new linguistic spaces located in the
betweenness that is a hinge that belongs to neither one nor the other (Applebaum, 1995, 15, 16). In struggling to
restabilize, an intercultural dance requires new footings, new ways of moving within an embodied language of
discontinuity, unfamiliarity, the not-yet-known. Drama invites students to share these moments of uncertainty and
dislocation, and to speak to the experience embodied within a disrupted imaginary world. The learning that happens
within drama is then revisited within the context of our everyday lives.
Performative inquiry provides a momentary entrance into other worlds through embodied play and reflection,
thereby offering students opportunities for intercultural awareness, dialogue, and understanding. Transported into an
unexpected environment, the student must reexamine the familiar against the unfamiliar, and through the resulting
disequilibrium recover a new balance of meeting oneself within a new environment.
We are pushed into lines, facing the residential school principal who speaks in an unknown tongue. His tone of voice
is unkind, disinterested. Suddenly the guard strides along the lines, where we stand shoulder to shoulder. He strips
off our tribal ribbons. You will speak only English! You will speak only English! He shouts. He is now moving down
my line. I pull the ribbon from my shirt and hide it in my pocket. I secret this small self that is my identity. I can
taste the fear of discovery. The others are without their ribbons. Someone protests and is disciplined. We are
angered and sullen in our loss. A priest speaks softly, pats a childs arm, says a gentle word, moving down the lines,
taming the sorrow, the pain, the anger.
The student in role21 as the residential school principal speaks to us in Japanese, and while the body language and
tone are clear, the words are not. The unfamiliarity of place and language is disorientating. Pulled from the

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familiar, we are relocated within a space that forbids us to sound our presence, a space that denies our communal
and cultural voice. Faced with the foreign language of the principal, we are able only to guess the meaning of his
gestures, intonations, and facial expressions. The actions of the guard, however, are brutally eloquent, as are his
blunt words, Speak English! Speak English!
The intent of assimilation is clearly expressed by the residential school principals use of an unfamiliar language and
by the removal of our tribal identities. The ritual assimilation repeats itself along each line of children standing rigid
through lines of generations. Power and denial silence resistance; those who dare to speak out are punished. In a
game taught to us by a student in role as the priest, I and others deliberately break the rules, stealing cards, lying in
the absence of a winning hand. Small acts of disobedience, resistance enters the community as a language of
survival. The tribal ribbon remains hidden in my breast pocket; clinging to the torn ribbon of my heritage, I refuse to
embrace the new language imposed by the authorities.
Through their embodied intertextual play within the imaginary world of a residential school, the role drama leaders
and students arrive at new locations of intercultural learning. During the debriefing following the role drama,
personal stories, questions, and moments of learning are shared between students as they slip out of their roles as
native children and become again themselves. Loss of identity, stripping away of language, home, and family
relationships find resonance in individual experiences and intercultural recognition. Many students speak of suddenly
understanding the experience of the First Nations people from a new perspective. Although the individual stories of
First Nations children who experienced residential schools are not ours, the shared experience of a residential school
within the imaginary world created by our role drama is, and that experience opens us to new possible realms of
personal and communal acceptance and interstanding.
We will play a game, announces the priest, holding a thick braid of rope in his hand. Behind him, stand the guard,
and the government official. This rope represents your future. We will pull from one end, and three representatives
chosen among you will pull from the other. This game will decide the fate of your people. Choose three of your
strongest. We look at each other. Who will speak to this dangerous task? You. You. And you. The three brace their
feet, faces set in determination, the rope gripped in their hands. We crowd around them. The priest, guard and
government official seize the rope, and the tension pulls taut between the two groups. Now! But we have not
chosen our warriors well, already they are weakening. We lean towards them, willing strength into their muscles. I
suddenly remember my tribal ribbon, and pull it crumpled from my pocket. Here! I cry, reaching forward. To my
amazement, others have already secured tribal ribbons on the bodies of our warriors. Like tattered flags, attached to
arms, legs, backs, shoulders, they signal the defiant presence of our people, our heritage, our culture, as the
warriors pull, pull against the weight of the

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church, the government, the teachings that are not ours. The moment turns, and triumphant we chant, Pull! Pull!
Pull! with all the heart and courage of a people sounding voice.
The image of the three students in role as First Nations people, their bodies covered with the torn ribbons of
masking tape, plays still within the shaft of light in our sunlit classroom. I sense again the shock and delight of
discovering that others, too, had secreted their tribal ribbons; that they, too, had defied the order of the guard. I am
not alone in my resistance.
Now, in this moment, the courage, language, cultural heritage, and experience of our people is voiced by a symbolic
honoring and remembering of tribal belonging as we cheer on each warrior pulling the rope. Through the tribal
ribbons secreted and then restored, we find our voice, and sounding presence, we realize renewed hope for our
people. The moment, a symbolic tug-of-war born within the imaginary world of drama, reaffirms cultural identity and
membership, speaking simultaneously of past, present, and future. Slipping between the gap, we realize and
recognize the possibility of rebirth of the First Nations people, both within role and without.
OPENING SPACES FOR INTERCULTURAL RECOGNITIONS AND NEW POSSIBLE WORLDS OF
INTERSTANDING
The intercultural learning that happens when we open our curriculum to welcome the individual voices and
experiences of our students through embodied play is breathtaking. More than successfully creating an appropriate
linguistic situation where language happens within context, performative inquiry opens the possibility for spacemoments of learning, intercultural connections, resonance, and recognitions. Our choices of action in role and our
reflections following the residential role drama reveal the intercultural understanding realized and recognized within
individual moments. Through embodied play, shared conversation, and journal writing, we came to new intercultural
recognitions of the experiences of the First Nations people and our shared history that will influence future individual
and communal choices of action and interaction.
In the coevolving world that is our classroom, we strive to create opportunities for our language students to invite
participation and to open new spaces of dialogue. Performative inquiry creates a context and performative space
within which students are invited to imagine possible actions and interactions. What if?
In the residential school role drama, students were welcomed with the gift of tribal ribbons, signifying membership
and opportunity for participation. They entered into a relationship of language, culture, and experience, a

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relationship brutally rendered asunder by government officials removing the communitys children to the residential
school. Speak English! Speak English! Reclaiming a future within the dominant society required acts of resistance
and the strength and pride realized through a symbolic and physical remembering and honoring of a shared
heritage. Pull! Pull! Pull!
Hand over hand hauling in the netted light
Phelan (1993, 177)
Performative inquiry is a research methodology that explores possible journey-landscapes, charting space-moments
of learning realized through performance (Fels, 1998). The residential role drama created an imaginary world within
which moments of interstanding were recognized: the agony of ruptured families, the stripping away of identity, the
reclaiming of voice and culture. The role drama required that wea class of teachers and student teachers from a
variety of cultures, languages, and experiencestep outside the so-called real world of the classroom to meet each
other within the interstices through our shared experience within an imaginary world. The betweeness is a hinge that
belongs to neither one nor the other. In the sharing circle, as the talking stick was passed from hand to hand, our
individual experiences within role and in our own lives found voice. Exploration of relationships through drama
transcends culture, time, and place to arrive on our doorstep. And on opening the door, momentarily, unexpectedly,
we recognize the stranger who is us.
NOTES
1. Throughout this chapter, all these writings are from within a role drama about residential schools, designed and
led by four adult students (Beverley Machelle, Matt Chenoweth, Yasushi Kadota, and Stephen Yachou) in a
drama-in-education course, University of British Columbia, July, 1997. The tribal ribbons were lengths of colored
masking tape attached to our shirts, above our hearts. The experience, language, and expression of drama are,
for many, a lost practice, embodied in forgotten childhoods of imagination and play. The drama-in-education
course reawakens students ability to reimagine themselves in a variety of roles and situations within different
role dramas.
A role drama (or role play) is a drama activity where participants explore in role an imaginary world created by
the teacher in collaboration with his or her students. An imaginary world, for example, might be a town where
citizens respond to the bankruptcy of the local fish processing plant; a medieval kingdom whose peasants are
planning a revolution in protest of high taxes; a conference of pigs and wolves discussing the issue of
unauthorized home demolitions. Students take on the roles of individuals who live and work within the imaginary
world. They speak, respond, and make choices of action from the perspective and position of their role as if they
were individuals living within that situation. Tarlington and Verriour (1991) explain that role drama is a powerful
method of teaching that aims at promoting a change of understanding or insight for the participants. It is like
walking in

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someones shoesexploring the thoughts and feelings of another person by responding and behaving as that
person would in a given situation (p. 9). The role drama described in this chapter involved an imaginary First
Nations community and residential school in which students were invited to take on roles of First Nations children,
parents, and grandparents. The leaders of the role drama played a variety of roles including a government
official, a priest, a guard, and a residential school principal. Students in role create possible new worlds through
which perspectives, personal and communal actions, and cultural values may be explored both during the role
drama and upon collective and individual reflection at the dramas completion.
2. For the purpose of this chapter, critical applied linguistics draws from the work of Alistair Pennycook (1999) and
Brian Lynch (2000) as cited in McGivern (2001), which establish characteristics for a critical approach to applied
linguistics. These characteristics include: an interest in domains such as gender, class, ethnicity, and the ways
language and language-related issues are interconnected; the notion that research needs to consider paradigms
beyond the dominant, positivist-influenced research approach; a concern for changing the human and social
world and not just describing it; and the requirement that critical applied linguistics be self-reflexive. See
McGivern (2001).
3. The original quote from theater director, Eugenio Barba, reads Not walls of cement . . . but the melodies of your
temperature (Barba, 1995; 162). We have taken the liberty to replay his words; we hope that the spirit and
intent of what he wrote breathes within our rewritten lines.
4. The third space, within this context, refers to the generative space created through performance, a space that
simultaneously straddles and intersects the shared physical space of the classroom and the imaginary world(s)
created through performance. Within this third space are the interactive world(s) of embodied experiences and
imaginations of participants in creative action and interaction. Literary theorist Homi Bhabha describes the third
space as a process of hybridity that enables other positions to emerge. . . . The process of cultural hybridity
gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of meaning and
representation (p. 211). For further elaboration of the third space, see Rutherford (1990).
5. The term intertextual refers to the interchange that occurs between two or more individuals through embodied
language. If we consider an individual as a text that engages in conversation and interaction from a perspective
that arises from personal, communal, cultural, social, political, economic, ethnic, gendered experience and
identity, then there are multiple possible dynamics that may come into play within an interchange between two
individuals. This intertextual interchange is situated within the context of an environment that is itself a text
influenced by and reflective of historical, economic, political, social, and cultural significance. Therefore, when
two foreign- or second-language students enter into conversation, a complexity and multiplicity of possible
intertextual recognitions may arise.
6. In this chapter, one author (Lynn Fels) writes as a performing arts educator and uses the first person singular to
identify her work. The remaining work is cowritten, using the plural we, and is guided by the experience of the
second author (Lynne McGivern) whose experience combines theater and English as a second language teaching.
7. Embodied play is a term we use for drama in recognition of the active and simultaneous engagement of mind,
body, and imagination. Embodied play acknowledges a holistic recognition of an individuals creative and active
exploration within an imagined environment and situation. The term is a gentle reminder to educators that
learning through

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drama is holistic, interactive, and student-centered, involving critical and creative thinking and participation. For
example, when asked to improvise, students speak, respond, and act as if they are present in the proposed
situation, taking their cues from context, environment, prior knowledge, and in response to each other. The
resulting scene is a product arising from the childrens own creative actions and decision-making rather than the
result of a written script or a prescribed set of teacher-imposed directions. The emergent interactions draw
simultaneously on the body, mind, and imagination of each student, as they improvise the scene. Embodied play
includes dramatic activities such as improvisation, role-play, tableau, soundscapes, and writing-in-role.
8. First Nations people is used in reference to Canadian aboriginals in respect to their political, cultural, and
historical presence in Canada.
9. The term interstanding is used instead of understanding because it speaks to the learning that happens in
the interrelational spaces of interaction. Taylor and Saarinen (1994) state that understanding has become
impossible because nothing stands under (p. Interstanding 2). Interstanding has become unavoidable because
everything stands between. We chose the word interstanding because it is through the interplay between the
known world(s) and the not-yet known world(s) that performance breathes learning into presence. See Fels
(1998). (Pages in Taylor and Saarinens book Imagologies are numbered by chapter title and page sequence
within that chapter).
10. Space-moment speaks simultaneously to a space of embodied time and place. Space-moment acknowledges
Heideggers proposal that rather than see time and space as being separate entities, time and space are
embodied as a single entity that he labels time-space. We use the word moment rather than time to signal
the creative action and interaction that occurs during that time within which possibilities (and absences) may
be realized and recognized. See Fels and Meyer (1997).
11. For the purposes of this chapter, performance refers to explorations through drama. However, performance
also encompasses the creative processes of dance, writing, music, and visual and media arts. Similarly, a
performative inquiry may involve the investigative tools of dance, visual and media arts, music, writing in
tandem with or separate from those of drama.
12. Action-site of learning refers to the performative space within which creative action and interaction create
opportunities for learning. Learning is simultaneously realized within a space and action that are not separate
from each other but interdependent and interrelational. For example, in our residential role drama, the actionsite of learning identifies the performative space within which participants interact in role as First Nations
children and, through their interactions and choices of action, may come to possible moments of learning. See
Fels and Stothers (1996) for their conceptualization of performance as an action-site of learning. See also Fels
(1998).
13. An etymological reading of the word performance brings us to form as structure and ance as action, as in
(d)ance. Per prescribes the adjacent form and brings with it the meaning of utterly, throughout and through
but also to do away, away entirely or to (the) destruction of. So we may read performance then as
simultaneously through form and through the destruction of form we come to action. See Fels & Stothers
(1996). Understanding that action is knowing, doing, being, creating (Fels, 1995), we recognize the learning
that happens through performance. This reading of performance locates performance on the edge of chaos
where, straddling the world(s) of structure and chaos, complexity theorists claim life dances into being. See also
Waldrop (1992).

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14. In this situation, we are referring to the creative processes of drama. However, the investigative creative
processes within visual and media arts, music, writing, and dance are also action-sites of learning.
15. Within a role drama, students have the unique opportunity to simultaneously view and experience a dramatic
moment or situation from two different perspectives, simultaneously experiencing the situation in role and as
individuals with unique identities and histories of experience.
16. Not all possible Aha! moments are simultaneously or universally realized and recognized within the immediate
performance; however, they may be embodied within the role drama and recognized at the completion of the
role drama during the debriefing process as students and teacher reflect on their experience.
17. A not-yet real world or imaginary world is the performative world(s) created by participants through
performance (e.g., a variety of possible dramatic processes, conventions, and activities). Participants are aware
of the imaginary world they are creating: a not-yet real world that coemerges within the real world(s) of
everyday life. For the purpose of this chapter, both the not-yet real world(s) and the real world(s) are
understood as a multiplicity of dynamic temporal worlds folding one into the other, within which the known and
unknown, absence and possibility exist simultaneously. We do not wish to suggest a dichotomy or the existence
of two separate worlds. An imaginary or not-yet real world is not a separate entity from the real world(s) but
coevolving in creative action and interaction. It is the interstices of these worlds (real and not-yet real) that is
the third space or performative space in which Aha! momentsthat is, space-moments of learningmay be
individually or collectively recognized.
18. Knowing that we live not in a single, one-dimensional world but within multiple temporal dynamic world(s) of
actions and interactions, possibilities, absences, and multidimensional relationships. Our world(s) is(are) not
realized in isolation but in action and interaction with multiple worlds coemerging, coevolving through our
knowing, doing, being, creating with others (Fels, 1995).
19. Curriculum theorist, Dr. Ted Aoki, in conversation with Lynn Fels during her thesis defense in which he inquires
about the impossible, that is, that which is not yet possible to imagine into beingthat which remains beyond
our grasp, like the force that moves the tides, unseen yet present in all our innocence and ignorance of being,
becoming (March 29, 1999).
20. Dramatic (re)play speaks both the dramatic playing in role of a situation and the replay experienced through
reflection and shared conversation.
21. A student in role may take on a variety of roles throughout a role drama. In the residential school role drama,
the Japanese male ESL student played both a government official and the residential school principal.
REFERENCES
Applebaum, D. (1995). The stop. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Barba, E. (1995). The paper canoe: A guide to theatre anthropology . (R. Fowler, trans.). London: Routledge.
Davis, B., Kieren, T., & Sumara, D. (1996). Cognition, co-emergence, curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 28,
(2), 151169.
Fels, L. (1998). In the wind clothes dance on a line. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 14, (1), 2736.

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. (1995). Cross-country with Grumet: Erasing the line. Educational Insights .
http://www.lane.educ.ubc.ca/insights/home.htm.
Fels, L., & Meyer, K. (1997). On the edge of chaos: Co-evolving world(s) of drama and science. Journal of Teacher
Education, 9 , (1) 7581.
Fels, L., & Stothers, L. (1996). Academic performance: Between theory and praxis. In J. OToole & K. Donelan (Eds.).
Drama, culture, and education (pp. 225261). Australia: IDEAS.
Lynch, B. (2000). Rethinking assessment from a critical perspective (Conference Paper). AAAL 2000, Vancouver, B.C.
Maturana, H., & Varela, F. (1992). Tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding (Rev. ed.).
Boston: Shambhala.
McGivern, L. (2002). Identity under assault: What do I do with the dirt under my nails? (unpublished paper).
University of British Columbia.
. (2001). Appropriate assessment for young language learners: A case for social responsibility to critical language
testing (conference paper). RACE 2001, Tempe, AZ.
Norton, B. (1995). Social identity, investment, and language learning. TESOL Quarterly 29(1), 931.
Norton, B., and Toohey, K. (2002). Identity and language learning. In R.B. Kaplan (Ed.), Oxford University handbook
of applied linguistics (pp. 115123). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Pennycook, A. (1999). Introduction: Critical approaches to TESOL. TESOL Quarterly 33(3), 329348.
Phelan, P. (1993). Unmarked: The politics of performance. London: Routledge.
Rutherford, J. (1990). The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha. In J. Rutherford, (Ed.), Identity: Community,
culture, difference (pp. 207221). London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Tarlington, C., & Verriour, P. (1991). Role drama . Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Taylor, M., & Saarinen, E. (1994). Imagologies. London: Routledge.
Toohey, K. (2000). Learning English at school: Identity, social relations and classroom practice. Toronto: Multilingual
Matters.
Varela, F. (1987). Laying down a path in walking. In W.I. Thompson, (Ed.), GAIA: A way of knowingpolitical
implications of the new biology (pp. 4864). Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne.
Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1993). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Waldrop, M. (1992). Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos . New York: Simon &
Schuster.
Weedon, C. (1987). Feminist practice and poststructuralist theory. London: Blackwell.

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3
Transcultural Performance in Classroom Learning
Ann Axtmann
Great Spirit. Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.
Native American Indian prayer
Entering the Mexico City airport, we are bombarded with busy chatter as several men ask: podemos llevar las
maletas? necesitan algo, ustedes? or los puedo ayudar? Rapid and chaotic sights, smells, and sounds surround
us. Its the1970s. We have just arrived from New York City in order to take part in the formation of a new dance
company at the National Autonomous University of Mexico or U.N.A.M. None of us speaks Spanish.
In the next days and weeks, with dictionaries in hand, we grapple with the complexity of learning a language as we
ride the bus to work, buy groceries, and, in general, adapt to a new environment. Making friends and speaking only
Spanish facilitate the learning process. Every weekend we take off to distant places. Around the country we ride
second-class buses that bumble along winding mountain roads packed with men, women, and children carrying bags
of frijoles and maz, flowers, and live chickens. By necessity, we

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surrender to the process of sensory experience, socialization, and mobilization; our bodies, minds, and spirits are
jolted, activated, and transformed. No American-style hotels for us, no hot water or streamlined air-conditioned
vehicles. This shared experience was my first course in personal transculturation.
Cross-cultural exchange, whether in our daily lives or in pedagogy, is a sensorial and somatic experience that
challenges us in new and exciting ways. In Mexico, my colleagues and I were thrown into a language and cultural
learning process that was filtered through the senses. Our trips in the evening to the panadara to select, buy, and
consume delicious pastry were part of the experience. Within a few months, we were all fluent Spanish language
speakers. Several years later, as founder/director of a dance department at the State University of Puebla, I further
developed my own reading and writing skills. Within the context of intercultural learning situations in which the
verbal and the nonverbal mutually inform one another, the body is a primary site where difference and universality
can be sorted out. Through experience, we deepen our awareness of self and others. In the classroom, the multiple
intelligences, personal and collective narrative, and interdisciplinary art practices support this process.
This chapter offers an analysis of how what I call transcultural performance stimulates and facilitates the
pedagogical moment and, more specifically, second-language classroom learning. Framed by Howard Gardners
theory of multiple intelligences (1993, 1999) and an analysis of the terms transculturation, culture, performance, and
transcultural performance, I will suggest practical exercises in which identity, time, and space can be explored across
cultures. These activities were developed with two radically different student populations in the United States:
classroom teachers (K12) from the Appalachian region of southern Ohio engaged in a Masters Program in the arts
and students in a private, urban liberal arts college in New York City. I propose that an understanding of
transculturation can contribute to a more effective and transdisciplinary teaching practice.
TRANSCULTURATION
I first discovered the concept of transculturation during my fieldwork, archival research, and writing on Native
American intertribal powwows. As a former dancer/choreographer, I wanted to appreciate what was for me a
foreign dance language: powwow dancing. Transculturation best describes the mobile interrelationships that
occur at powwows as well as my own ethnographic process of looking at and moving across cultural borders. At
powwows, people from the Americas, Europe, and elsewhere speak English, Spanish, and many indigenous
languages; they also represent different socioeconomic classes, genders, ages, ethnicities, and geographical regions.
Within an inclusive environment of welcoming hospitality, powwow participants socialize, dance, eat, and celebrate
together. North American powwows

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are ongoing, increasingly popular, and ever-changing; they are transcultural performances. In general, transcultural
performances can be examined as case studies that perform culture across diversity and represent cultural
difference, conflict, and transformation. Therefore, transcultural performance is a useful tool with which to teach
across cultures.
In the 1940s, in his book Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz first defined
transcultural as an alternative to acculturation. In an introduction to Ortizs text, Bronislaw Malinowski explains:
Every change of culture . . . every transculturation, is a process in which something is always given in return for
what one receives, a system of give and take. It is a process in which both parts of the equation are modified, a
process from which a new reality emerges, transformed and complex, a reality that is not a mechanical
agglomeration of traits, nor even a mosaic, but a new phenomenon, original and independent. (Ortiz, 1995, p. xi)
Thus, as people interact in mutual give-and-take through the transcultural performances of Native American
intertribal powwows, they produce, together, a new phenomenon, original and independent (Ortiz, 1995, p. xi).
In learning a second or third language we necessarily go through some kind of transculturation in which both our
native language and our new language are transformed. Within the context of that transformation, Gardners (1993,
1999) theory on multiple intelligences has influenced me to shape the activities proposed in this chapter. Though
most people are familiar with Gardners theoretical premise, we have yet to fully utilize his ideas within classroom
practice; I venture to say that though the multiple intelligences and interdisciplinary arts are often used on K12
levels, they are less prevalent in colleges and universities.
Moreover, in discussing transdisciplinary education we often speak of crossing over and in-between disciplines; yet,
how often do we dare to move our students from their seats in order to integrate the body into the theory and
practice of interdisciplinarity? Because second-language learning IS so much about sensory input and the relationship
between a particular foreign language, the culture(s) from which it emerges, and our own native language/culture,
we must activate the body as well as the mind. Many educators, philosophers, psychologists, artists, and cultural
theorists have contributed to this debate. In order to more fully involve the body, Gardners theory in particular
provides a vast array of possibilities.
Multiple Intelligence
Gardner, a developmental psychologist, offers an alternative to the notion of monolithic intelligence in which cultural
context plays a role. Thus, he

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states that an intelligence [is] a biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural
setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture (Gardner, 1999, pp. 3435). He further
asserts:
I regard MI theory as a ringing endorsement of three propositions: We are not the same; we do not all have the
same kinds of minds (that is, we are not all distinct points on a single bell curve); and education works most
effectively if these differences are taken into account rather than denied or ignored. Taking human differences
seriously lies at the heart of the MI perspective. At the theoretical level, this means that all individuals cannot be
profitably arrayed on a single intellectual dimension. At the practical level, it suggests that any uniform educational
approach is likely to serve only a small percentage of children optimally. (Gardner, 1999, p. 91)
Moreover, each individual learns differently through linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodilykinesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, or a combination thereof. Recently, Gardner has also
introduced the possibility of three new intelligences: a naturalist intelligence, a spiritual intelligence, and an
existential intelligence (for further discussion, see Gardner, 1999, pp. 4766).
Though all the intelligences are often separately conceived, if grouped in clusters, we can develop an infinite variety
of learning experiences that will enhance our students reception and assimilation of didactic material. In secondlanguage learning, pedagogical practices that incorporate multiple intelligences as well as the interdisciplinary arts
are both somatic and sensorial. These practices, juxtaposed by a general understanding and clarification of the term
culture, facilitate personal and social intercultural learning.
CULTURE
We have come a long way since 1952 when Alfred L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn published their seminal text on
the definition of culture, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions . Since then, many uses of the word
have emerged. For instance, Edward T. Hall, an anthropologist, Raymond Williams, a sociologist, and Ngugi wa
Thiongo, an African playwright, novelist, and cultural theorist from Kenya (who writes in English and his native
language of Gikuyu), offer us many constructive ideas. In reference to the vast diverse and multiple layers of
cultural production, these three scholars point to a more accessible use of the word culture within pedagogical
applications. Hall, who worked for many years in the corporate world as a consultant in cross-cultural behavior, is my
first example.

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CultureBodily Motion in Time and Space
Ahead of his time, Hall (1973, 1982, 1983, 1989) articulated new ways to look at society through nonverbal
communication, and contributed to what Williams would call a converging of disciplines that include both
anthropology and sociology as well as artistic practices, theory, criticism, history, and political science (Williams,
1982). Hall suggests innovative ways to think about culture through bodily movement, time, space, and the senses.
His emphasis on the body and bodily movement relates directly to performance and pedagogy. Hall focuses on what
people do, not what they say. For him, cultural expressions, in response to what one is surrounded by, are in
continual transformation.
Hall suggests that culture is the way of life of a people [or] the sum of their learned behavior patterns, attitudes,
and material things (1973, p. 20). He adds that it is crucial for each one of us to grasp our own individual notion of
culture. Nevertheless, Hall (1989) proposes that most anthropologists agree that culture has three general
characteristics:
It is not innate, but learned; the various facets of culture are interrelatedyou touch a culture in one place and
everything else is affected; it is shared and in effect defines the boundaries of different groups. . . . Culture is mans
medium; there is not one aspect of human life that is not touched and altered by culture. (p.16).
It has been my experience that when students explore this expansive view of culture, they become more aware of
the infinite variety of culture within themselves as individuals, in their communities, and throughout the globe.
In order to facilitate our examination of WHAT culture IS, I share two exercises that I have incorporated into courses
in both Appalachia and New York City: one, a collective free-writing exercise on the blackboard; two, a small group
activity.
Practice (1): At the blackboard, chalk in hand, I ask students, What is culture for you? Thus, we begin to produce
together a rather messy, open-ended diagram that might include categories such as social structures, religion,
fashion, gender, race, class, ethnicity, food, health, ideology, morals, geography, transportation, and so forth.
In my several years of doing this, each class names and organizes cultural categories differently; discussions ensue,
confusion reigns, and people are usually amazed by how broad culture really is; and, how interrelated. In examining
the blackboard diagram, we also discuss commonly used terms such as multicultural, cross-cultural, intercultural,
intracultural, and transcultural in order to analyze the many ways in which cultural aspects relate, connect, blend,
and transform.

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Multicultural refers to a kind of mosaic or salad bowl of cultural aspects that appear as places in space; these rarely
touch, intersect, or overlap. In second-language learning, multicultural allows us to observe differences but not
necessarily to make the embodied transition from one language to another. Cross-cultural initiates some movement
between categories as they cross over, this way and that, to the other side or side(s); yet, crossing over does
not imply that those elements mix in any way.
In contrast, intercultural and intracultural point to relationships, motion, and mediation. Intracultural indicates those
cultural elements that are shared between a peoplefor example, a marriage between two persons from the same
cultural background or traditional theater forms such as Japanese Kabuki or Indian Bharata Natyam that reflect a
particular group of people, their language, and customs. Intercultural would imply that there are two or more
aspects coming together, not necessarily in any particular way, but, nevertheless, connecting. Transcultural takes us
one step further as cultural elements mesh in modification into something new.
Practice (2): In the second exercise, students cluster in threes or fours. Using large paper, crayons, scissors, and
cellophane tape, each group creates a three-dimensional, visual representation of culture. Before working on their
object, each group converses amongst themselves about what culture is.
As students engage in this transcultural process, the results can be astounding. Materials transform into myriad
representations of culture. Chains are built; globes constructed with the categories etched along the outside;
elaborate sculptural forms are produced with paper cut-out shapes; and three-dimensional maps that might include
homes, libraries, and gardens are constructed.
In both of these exercises, students are challenged to conceptualize, to incorporate their bodies into the learning
process, and to work together. In addition, they collaborate intellectually and artistically through a linguistic definition
of terms and a joint creative and visual arts project. Collaboration is key to both exercises.
CultureCultivation and Mediation
Defining culture a bit differently than Hall, Williams begins, in his first chapter of The Sociology of Culture , by noting
that culture is a cultivation of sorts, a process of what he describes as the informing spirit (Williams, 1982, p. 10).
In distinguishing between idealist and materialist culture, Williams discusses how these two seemingly disparate
elements intersect through mediation, a central concept within intercultural learning situations that incorporate the
body and transcultural performance. He proposes:

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At its most complex, the analysis of social material in art extends into the study of social relations. This is especially
so when the idea of reflectionin which art works directly embody pre-existing social materialis modified or
replaced by the idea of mediation. (p. 24)
Thus, mediation becomes an important component of transcultural experience and learning as we shift between
languages and across cultures. Williams takes this a step further when he addresses the issue of ideology or belief
systems. He adds:
What the cultural sociologist or the cultural historian studies are the social practices and social relations which
produce not only a culture or an ideology but, more significantly, those dynamic actual states and works within
which there are not only continuities and persistent determinations but also tensions, conflicts, resolutions and
irresolutions, innovations and actual changes. (Williams, 1982, p. 29)
In other words, society performs, as culture, the spiritual, ideological, social, and material aspects of individuals,
communities, and nations. In linking the ideal and the material, Williams emphasizes a wide-ranging vision of culture
that includes the body, mind, and spirit in relation to the social.
CultureChange Through Social Relations
Also emphasizing the social, Ngugi proposes that culture is very much a product of a peoples history and embodies
a whole set of values by which a people view themselves and their place in time and space (Ngugi, 1993, p. 42).
When contemplating culture, Ngugi further underlines the crucial notion of change when he writes:
[I]t is important to see phenomena in nature, society, and even in academia, not in its isolation but in its dynamic
connections with other phenomena. It is important to remember that social and intellectual processes, even
academic disciplines, act and react on each other not against a spatial and temporal ground of stillness but of
constant struggle, of movement, and change which brings about more struggle, more movement, and change, and
even in human thought. (pp. 2829)
As someone who experiences on a daily basis the difficulty of living, teaching, and writing across languages, he
suggests that cultural contact can therefore play a great part in bringing about mutual understanding between
peoples of different nations (p. 42). This visceral cultural contact leads us to the myriad ways in which culture is
performed through relationships not only in our local community, nation, and global travels but in our classrooms.

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I find that as my students are able to share aspects of their own culture(s), they grow and develop skills in crosscultural communication and learning. By performing personal narratives, they draw upon the linguistic, musical,
spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal intelligences. In the last decade I have been including the
autobiographical collage in my classes in Transcultural Performance (NYC) and Multicultural Arts (Ohio). Collage
making and the subsequent presentation of the collages have been a powerful, poignant, and revelatory experience
for all participants, myself included.
Practice (3): Collages are usually made with large, white poster boards. To prepare, I ask students to think about
themselves as cultural beings: who they are, where they come from, their families and friends, their heritage, and
their identities in relation to race, class, ethnicity, gender, and age; they also collect all kinds of objects,
photographs, magazine and newspaper cutouts, and the like, and bring them to class. (If time permits, collages are
created together in class, but may also be assigned as an outside activity.) As an in-class activity, I suggest that
people bring in music that reflects their own culture(s) so that while they work they listen and share yet another
aspect of themselves. They are also invited to use crayons, glue sticks, and scissors. In the process, it is important
that each person be allowed the time she or he needs to complete the task. Completed collages are placed on the
wall and around the room. Each individual shares, others ask questions, and a lively discussion develops.
Consequently, the classroom becomes a site of sharing. While students share their cultural memories amongst
themselves, they are also, using Williamss concept of mediation, negotiating their differences. The experience
becomes both intrapersonal and interpersonal (Gardner, 1993).
In Appalachia, I observed a rich reservoir of distinctive voices come forth. A student who hadnt faced up to her
Native American ancestry is encouraged to do so; others look at issues such as farm loss, alcoholism, and everchanging family values. With tears in their eyes, some students feel compelled to share painful memories. Some of
my younger students in New York City suddenly discover that, indeed, they do have a rich cultural heritageeven if
they are only 18 or 19 years old. Groups in both Appalachia and NYC discover differences and universality between
themselves. Moreover, their sense of one another changes through performed, visceral cultural knowledge of self
and others.
By listening to one anothers stories, students also learn to accept others by shifting their own cultural viewpoints in
another aspect of give-and-take. As Ngugi (1993) has suggested, we must mobilize our centers of perception in
order to develop multiple perspectives from which to understand the world. He further elaborates on this idea as he
explains, Moving the centre in the two sensesbetween nations and within nationswill contribute to the freeing of
world cultures from the restrictive walls of nationalism, class, race, and gender (p. xvii).

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Besides the creation and sharing of collages, another way to experience multiple perspectives is illustrated by a
fourth classroom exercise that mobilizes the body in spacean experience that happens naturally when we travel
geographically from place to place. In classroom learning (and life) we often sit in the same seat day after day, the
same job, or repeat old habits just because they feel safe and secure. The following sequence pushes students to
confront stasis and mobilize both the bodily-kinesthetic and spatial intelligences.
Practice (4): Students get up from their chairs and walk around the room; as they examine details such as windows,
exit signs, chairs, and so on, I also ask them to notice their own breathing, the motion of their walk, and how it
feels TO BE in the space. Then, each person stands still and from that vantage point surveys all that she or he sees
in the space. Again, everybody goes to an entirely different spot (this can be on top of a chair, in the corner, under
the table); from this new perspective they look again at the size, shape, and contents of the room. This is repeated
several times. Throughout I encourage people to enjoy the process and be creative as they choose different vantage
points. This is a wonderful way to experience how it feels to look at the world from multiple perspectives.
As illustrated in this exercise, and by my own experience in Mexico, when we enter a new cultural world, our senses
of both time and space are transformed through the body. Our center(s) of perception alter; culture shock often
occurs. In other words, the more completely and intensely we experience cultural nuance, the deeper the transition
from one world to another. Likewise, when we learn a new language, we must constantly shift our centers of
perception through notions of time and space. These bodily experiences and expressions produce performance.
PERFORMANCE
Performance, as historian Joseph Roach (1996) suggests, might refer to the completion of a purpose, the execution
of an often effervescent act and restored behavior related to personal and collective memory (p. 3). For instance,
everyday activitiessuch as a busy street at rush hour, a conversation between two people in a caf, or children
romping around a playgroundmight be considered performance. The fine and performing arts, public and popular
festivals, parades, and rituals as well as media events and television programs are performance. Performance also
implies some kind of communication between the reciprocal and ever-changing interrelationships of all participants
engaged in dialogic conversation; even if in performing for others, that other is oneself (Carlson, 1996, pp. 56).
Furthermore, the ephemeral quality of performance itself produces a fleeting temporal quality not unlike the
immediate pedagogical moment. In both,

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continually changing interactions occur between people as they learn through the verbal, nonverbal, the individual
and social, and the body, mind, and spirit. As we engage the body in learning about the multiple and varied aspects
of culturelanguage being just one of thesediffering notions of time and space offer many opportunities for
understanding culture through performance.
Time
As Hall (1982, 1983, 1989) proposes, time in the United States and most Western cultures is monochronic; that
means it is linear, goal orienteda progressive road that looks ahead to the future and demands schedules,
segmentation, and promptness. On the other hand, in polychronic time several things happen at once; what is
important is not the goal but the process; an event begins when the moment is ripe, not prescribed. Without leaving
the United States, we can experience these differences as our diverse populations mix and mingle; the common
expression CPT time refers to Colored Peoples Timeindicating more leisurely temporal practices; and, at Native
American intertribal powwow celebrations, the Master of Ceremonies often says, Okay, today were going to start
on time, on white peoples timenot Indian time. Gender, age, class, and individual personality issues are also
played out in monochronic and polychronic time. How many times have we waited in the grocery line as an elderly
person slowly and carefully pulls out the exact change from her or his purse? The following exercise embodies these
time distinctions.
Practice (5): I invite students to stand, choose a distant spot in the room, and focus intensely on it. At the clap or
drum beat, each person walks quickly, without running, as directly and urgently as possible to the place of choice; I
instruct people to move as if it were a matter of life or death. The activity is repeated several times. After several
rounds, the room fills with a sensation almost of anxiety. To demonstrate the polychronic, once again everybody
chooses a spot, a goal; now, they have all day to get there; they can chat along the way, dream, plan their
dinners.
In this fifth exercise, students learn that there are many ways to reach a destination through time and space. Often
cultural preferences are defined by how particular peoples mesh time and spacefor example, Native American
cultures generally think in terms of blending time and space in relation to the land (Deloria, 1994), whereas
Euroamericans usually conceive of them as separate entities. Other differences emerge from how people feel about
their personal space.
Space
The notion of personal space has been articulated by numerous scholars: for example, Irmgard Bartenieff (1980),
Hall (1982, 1989), and movement

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theorist Rudolf Laban (1971). Basically, personal space surrounds each one of us like an enormous balloon; within
that space, we have three layers of closeness: near, mid, and far. The close, near-reach area is where we groom as
well as touch ourselves and others intimately. In the mid-reach space, we gesture in conversation and perform work
activities such as typing and caring for a baby. Finally, stretching our bodies outward as far as possible, we touch
the edge of an invisible spatial globe that spirals and circles around us. How we use our personal space and distance
ourselves from one another are largely affected by cultural distinctions. Latinos frequently touch one another as they
converse, whereas other people may be offended or uncomfortable with physical proximity. In the following
sequence, students become familiar with their own preferences.
Practice (6): In an open space, I tell students to explore the space closest to their bodies. Simultaneously, they say
aloud and do (perform) movements such as combing their hair, applying lipstick, or dressing. As they move outward
to the mid-reach, people enlarge their gestures with moves commonly used in conversation, manual tasks like
computer work, washing dishes, and so forth. When they reach the outer edge of their personal balloons, or farreach, they enact activities that require the body to extend itself out into space as in sports, dance, or actions such
as hailing a cab or window washing. In each reach space, I encourage a full consciousness of the body and its
surrounding areafor example, the space behind the body and close to the ground. As students move around the
room, they meet othersget close or keep their distance.
After doing the exercise, questions might be asked: What does personal space mean to you? In general, how close
do you want to get to other people? Does gender play a role in all this? Age? Ethnicity? How does the use of
personal space manifest in different cultures? My students have varied responses to their own comfort zones;
generalizations cannot be drawn; some people feel better when interacting at a distance, whereas others like the
security of closeness; many agree that mid-reach is the most commonly used area in social interactions.
By embodying notions of time and space, we are performing culture and developing ways in which to contemplate
cultural difference. The body comes alive through movement in time and space just as our blackboard diagram and
visual representations of culture involved the students in a broad, inclusive mode of thinking.
CONCLUSION
In this chapter, I have suggested six exercises that incorporate transcultural performance: (1) a collective analysis of
the term culture on the blackboard; (2) the creation/production of visual art renditions of culture;

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(3) the creation/production and sharing of personal collages; (4) moving in the classroom space from multiple
perspectives; (5) moving urgently or slowly to different spots in the room to experience different senses of time; (6)
moving through the three levels of personal space in relation to ones self and ones classmates.
From one semester to another, students have responded in surprising ways to these activities. Each group of
individuals relates differently to the collective definition of culture as well as the creation/production of personal
collages. As people activate their bodies in time and space, they stimulate sensory and somatic channels. In
addition, because students work as a group, these exercises reinforce a social experience of culture. The depth of
personal and collective transculturation depends a great deal on the chemistry of each class. When sharing, listening
to one another, and moving together, people dare to explore multiple perspectives and mediate their views of
themselves and others. Thus, transformation happens on a transcultural level through performance.
With my graduate students in rural Appalachia and undergraduates in urban New York City, I have observed distinct
responses from these populations. The graduate students, mostly seasoned classroom teachers, older women who
are mothers and grandmothers, bring issues of family into their personal collages. Often, these are people who have
never traveled out of southern Ohio or West Virginia. They are intrigued with how their own newly learned insights
about different languages, peoples, and cultures can feed into their own class plans; students tell us that a deeper
transculturation happens for them as they return to their own schools and apply their knowledge. The
undergraduates in NYC are more preoccupied with forming an identity of their own and often come away from class
with a greater capacity for understanding the complexity of culture and language. Frequently, the students of color
in both Appalachia and New York City take the lead; by contributing views of culture that may be new to their
classmates, they open eyes, ears, and hearts.
In general, motion, mediation, and multiple perspectives are key to a transcultural pedagogical experience as two or
more elements meet, negotiate, and transform into something new. Performing identity, time, and space through
multiple intelligences and the interdisciplinary arts can facilitate the learning of a new language. Thus, as we learn
words, pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, grammar, spelling, accent, and so forth, the entire cultural context and
history of that language also comes alive as we speak, read, write, and relate to others. Likewise, our native
languagewhich influences how we speak, write, act, and understand the newly learned languageshifts and is,
perhaps, forever transformed by a circular process of transculturation.
Acknowledging that change is paramount in all cultural manifestations, Ngugi brings us back to the corporeal by
comparing transformation in human society to the body. He states that society is like a human body which

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develops as a result of the internal working out of all its cells and biological processesthose dying and those being
born and their different combinationsand also in the external context of the air and other environmental factors
(Ngugi, 1993, pp. xv). By linking visceral bodily experience, as both sensorial and somatic, we as teachers guide our
students in the complexity of transcultural learning.
Almost thirty years after my first trip to Mexico, as I return time and again through the Mexico City airport, the
Benito Juarez, I am reminded of my first experience: the shock, but also the challenge and excitement of entering a
new and unknown world. Shock can disorient. It can also give us that extra push as we delve into another culture
and a new language.
REFERENCES
Bartenieff, Irmgard (with Dori Lewis). (1980). Body movement: Coping with the environment . New York: Gordon &
Breach Science Publishers.
Carlson, Martin. (1996). Performance: A critical introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
Deloria, Vine, Jr. (1994). God is red: A native view of religion . Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub.
Gardner, Howard. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. (10th anniversary edition). With a
new introduction by Howard Gardner. New York: Basic Books. (Original work published in 1983).
Gardner, Howard. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books.
Hall, Edward T. (1973). The silent language. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. (Original work published in 1959).
Hall, Edward T. (1982). The hidden dimension . New York: Doubleday. (Original work published in 1966).
Hall, Edward T. (1983). The dance of life: The other dimension of time. New York: Doubleday.
Hall, Edward T. (1989). Beyond culture. New York: Doubleday. (Original work published in 1976).
Kroeber, A. L., & Clyde Kluckhohn. (1952). Culture: a critical review of concepts and definitions. New York: Vintage
Books
Laban, Rudolf. (1971). The mastery of movement. Revised by Lisa Ullmann. Third Edition. Boston: Plays, Inc.
(Original work published 1950).
Ngugi wa Thiongo. (1993). Moving the centre: The struggle for cultural freedoms . Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Ortiz, Fernando. (1995). Cuban counterpoint: Tobacco and sugar . Introduction by Bronislaw Malinowski. With a new
introduction by Fernando Coronil. Durham & London: Duke University Press. (Original work published in 1947).
Roach, Joseph. (1996). Cities of the dead. Circum-Atlantic performance. New York: Columbia University Press.
Williams, Raymond. (1982). The sociology of culture. New York: Schocken Books. (Original work published in 1981).

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4
Process Drama in Second-and Foreign-Language Classrooms
Jun Liu
In the field of second-/foreign-language teaching, there is a need for us to reflect on what we have accomplished so
far in language teaching methods over the last century. Ever since Anthony (1963) proposed to distinguish between
approach (something akin to a theory), method (a curriculum, program, or procedure), and technique (any action in
the classroom to implement the method), there have been many refinements in terminology and other ways of
describing what we do in second-/foreign-language classrooms. A fine-grained, historical analysis has been offered
by Strain (1986), in which such terms as Method, method, and methodology are distinguished in subtle ways along
with method-procedure, method-technique, design, procedure, presentation, implementation, activity, syllabus,
materials, evaluation, tactics, strategies, curriculum, and so forth. All these terms and various arrangements were
used in one way or another by Anthony and Norris (1969), Rivers and Temerley (1978), Strevens (1980), Richards
(1983), Richards and Rodgers (1986), Strain (1986), Nunan (1991), and Brown (1994).

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Despite the general disagreement in terminology for what teachers use to teach a second/foreign languagean
approach, method, technique, procedure, or otherwisethere is consensus in identifying the following ways of
language teaching, based on a historical perspective: Grammar-Translation (e.g., Darian, 1972; Howatt, 1984),
Direct Method (e.g., Hornby, 1950; Jespersen, 1933; Palmer, 1923, 1940), the Audiolingual Method (e.g., Fries,
1945; Lado, 1957, 1977), Total Physical Response (e.g., Asher, 1969, 1977), the Silent Way (Gattegno, 1972, 1976),
Community Language Learning (e.g., Curran 1972, 1976; Rardin & Tranel, 1988), Suggestopedia (e.g., Bancroft,
1978; Lozanov, 1978), the Natural Approach (e.g., Krashen, 1981, 1982; Terrell, 1977, 1982), and Communicative
Language Teaching (e.g., Brumfit & Johnson, 1979; Canale & Swain, 1980; Widdowson, 1978). Although none of
these methods seems to be applicable to all situations given the diverse backgrounds of language learners, different
learner needs and various learning contexts, the place effective teaching methods play in language classrooms is
undeniable. In fact, language teachers are constantly searching for effective teaching methods to use in their daily
classes.
In second-/foreign-language classrooms, there are generally two options in teaching. One option is Focus on Forms,
and the other is Focus on Meaning. Focus on Forms is considered a traditional approach in which course design
starts with the language to be taught. The teacher and the textbook writer divide the second language into
segments (e.g., phonemes, words, collocations, morphemes, or patterns), which are presented in models, initially
one item at a time, in a sequence determined by frequency, or difficulty. Learners are to synthesize the parts for use
in communication. Synthetic techniques often used include explicit grammar rules, repetition of models,
memorization of short dialogues, linguistically simplified texts, transformation exercises, or explicit negative
feedback. When the primary focus of teaching a language is on forms, lessons tend to be rather dry, consisting
principally of work on linguistic items, which students are expected to master, often to native speaker levels, with
anything less treated as error, and little if any communicative second-language use.
Unlike Focus on Forms, the starting point of Focus on Meaning is not the language but the learner and learning
processes. It is the learner, not the teacher or the textbook writer, who must analyze the second or foreign
language. Advocates (Krashen, 1981, 1982) believe that much first- and second-language learning is not intentional
but incidental (i.e., while doing something else) and implicit (i.e., without awareness). Therefore, grammar is
considered to be learned incidentally and implicitly. Second- or foreign-language learning is thought to be essentially
similar to first-language acquisition, so that reestablishing of something similar to the conditions for first-language
acquisition, which is widely successful, should be necessary and sufficient for learning a second or foreign language.
Lessons with focus on meaning, which are often interesting, relevant, and relatively successful,

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are purely communicative, and learners are presented with gestalt, comprehensible samples of communicative
second-language use.
There are, however, a number of problems with each option. In the first option, Focus on Forms, for instance, there
is no needs analysis to identify a particular learners or group of learners communicative needs, and no means
analysis to ascertain their learning styles and preferences. Second, linguistic grading, both lexical and grammatical,
tends to result in pedagogic materials of the basal reader variety, textbook dialogues and classroom language use
being artificial and stilted. Moreover, Focus on Forms tends to produce boring lessons, with resulting declines in
motivation, attention, and student enrollment despite the best efforts even of highly skilled teachers and textbook
writers. Although considerable progress in a second or foreign language is clearly achieved in the second option,
Focus on Meaning, studies also show that even after many years of classroom immersion, students productive skills
remain far from native-like, particularly with respect to grammatical competence (Swain, 1991), exhibiting, for
example, a failure to mark articles for gender. Such items have been in the input all the time, but perhaps not with
sufficient salience, and with inadequate sanction (e.g., negative feedback) on their accurate suppliance. Similar
findings of premature stabilization have been reported in studies of adult learners with prolonged natural exposure
by Pavesi (1986), Schmidt (1983), and others. Therefore, a pure focus on meaning is also insufficient.
In order to overcome the pitfalls of both options, a third option, Focus on Form, has been recently advocated
(Doughty & Williams, 1998; Long & Robinson, 1998), referring to how attentional resources are allocated. The
expression could be interpreted as focus on meaningful form; the study of the form is based on meaningful
contexts rather than a predetermined and decontextualized linguistic form It involves briefly drawing students
attention to linguistic elements (words, collocations, grammatical structures, pragmatic patterns, and so forth), in
context, as they arise incidentally in lessons whose overriding focus is on meaning, or communication, the temporary
shifts in focal attention being triggered by students comprehension or production problems (Long & Robinson,
1998). The purpose of Focus on Form is to induce what Schmidt (1983) calls noticingregistering forms in the input
so as to store them in memory. In other words, to deal with the limitations of a pure focus on meaning, systematic
provision is made in Focus on Form for attention to language as object. Focus on Form is learner-centered, and it
respects the learners internal syllabus and is under learner control.
Although Focus on Form, as a compromising approach between accuracy and fluency in language teaching, is sound
in theory, its implementation in second-/foreign-language classrooms is not an easy task. We need effective teaching
methods with concrete techniques and strategies that engage language learners in a variety of communicative
activities through which learners communicative competence is acquired (Savignon, 1983; Ellis,

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1985, 1994). Among those environment-enhancing activities, drama has shown itself through many years of
research and practice a useful tool in engaging learners in constructing their own language growth, reflecting
meaning in the fullest sense of personal and cultural relevance, matching individual levels of ability, and supporting
self-initiated activity (Maley & Duff, 1978; Di Pietro 1982; Kao, 1994; Kao & ONeill, 1998). Though using drama for
educational purposes has been widely practiced for years, studies on using drama for second- or foreign-language
learners seem to be relatively scarce. From short stories to role-plays, and from simulations to scenarios, the
dramatic activities in language classrooms tend to remain exercise-based, short-term, and teacher-oriented (Kao &
ONeill, 1998, p. 3). Part of the reason is that language learners, especially those at lower proficiency levels, are still
at the stage of developing their basic language skills and are thus limited in expressing their ideas and thoughts in
the second language. Another reason is that some language teachers, pressured by school-administered proficiency
tests and exams, tend to emphasize too much on the accuracy of the students output, and jump in too quickly for
correction of students errors in speaking, thus inhibiting their students from entering into dramatic worlds (ONeill,
1995) free of anxiety.
Needless to say, drama worlds uncover a broad spectrum of drama activities useful in classrooms. In fact, dramatic
worlds exist anywhere and at any level. Kao and ONeill (1998) presented available drama activities on a continuum
from totally controlled language exercises and scripted role-plays through the semicontrolled activity of the scenario,
to the kind of open communication of Process Drama. Although this continuum resembles the first two options in
second-/foreign-language teaching discussed earlier with Focus on Forms at one end and Focus on Meaning at the
other, Process Drama that starts with communicative activities and ends with reflections on experiences and
linguistic expressions serves the purpose of the third optionFocus on Formattaining to both accuracy and fluency
in language learning. In the following sections of this chapter, I am going to explore the meaning of Process Drama,
discuss its conceptual framework, synthesize its characteristics, demonstrate its classroom procedures, and speculate
on the challenges language teachers often face in using this method.
PROCESS DRAMA: ITS NATURE AND FUNCTIONS
Process Drama, a term widely used in North America (but originally from Australia) and synonymous to educational
drama or drama in education in Britain, is concerned with the development of a dramatic world created by both
the teacher and the students working together. Through the exploration of this dramatic world in which active
identification with the exploration of fictional roles and situations by the group is the key characteristic, second- and
foreign-

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language learners are able to build their language skills and develop their insights and abilities to understand
themselves in the target language. Like theater, it is possible for Process Drama at its best to provide a sustained,
intensive, and profoundly satisfying encounter with the dramatic medium and for participants to apprehend the
world in a different way (ONeill, 1995). A fundamental theoretical basis of Process Drama is Strategic Interaction (Di
Pietro, 1987), which recognizes that language learning is both a personal and a social behavior. Strategic Interaction
includes such essential elements as the ability of language to create and engage students in new roles, situations,
and worlds; dynamic tension; the motivating and challenging power of the unexpected; the tactical quality of
language acquired under the stress of achieving a goal; the linguistic and psychological ambiguity of human
interaction; the group nature of enterprise; and the significance of context. Though all these elements in Strategic
Interaction become the core characteristics of Process Drama, Process Drama tends to incorporate these aspects in a
more complex, immediate, and flexible format. Process Drama puts more emphasis on immediacy, involvement,
student autonomy, and teacher functions. Rather than merely a series of brief exercises, explorations and
encounters in Process Drama include a variety of strategies and modes of organization (ONeill & Lambert, 1982;
ONeill, 1995). As Kao and ONeill (1998) posit, Process Drama involves careful sequencing and layering of dramatic
units or episodes, often in a non-linear way, to cumulatively extend and enrich the fictional context (p. 13). The
intense series of episodes or scenes bring about the tension of drama, the motivation to overcome obstacles, and
the fluency and accuracy necessary to accomplish the task with both the support and challenge of the teacher who
is also a participant in the dramatic world.
According to Kao and ONeill (1998), Process Drama requires language to be used in meaningful, authentic
situations, where the focus is on posing questions and seeking answers to those questions. Teachers and students
cocreate the dramatic elsewhere, a fictional world, for experiences, insights, interpretations, and understandings to
occur. Process Drama in language classrooms usually starts with a pre-text to set a theme or situation that will
engage and challenge the participants, and then gradually a series of episodes will be improvised or composed and
rehearsed over a time span for elaboration. Everyone in class is involved in such an activity, and there is no external
audience. While engaging in a role in the event, the teacher will be able to diagnose the students language skills
and understanding, support their communicative efforts, model appropriate behaviors and linguistic expressions
within the situation, question their thinking, and extend and challenge their responses in the entire process. Recent
research asserts that Process Drama has at least three functions in a language classroomnamely, cognitive, social
and affective (ONeill & Lambert 1982; Di Pietro, 1987; Wagner, 1988; ONeill, 1992, 1994, 1995; Kao, 1994).

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Cognitive Function
All classroom learning can be located along two independent dimensions: the rote-meaningful dimension and the
reception-discovering dimension (Ausubel et al., 1978). Although meaningful/discovery learning is believed to be
more effective and active than rote/reception learning, it is not synonymous with the learning of meaningful
material. First, the learning material is only potentially meaningful. Second, a meaningful learning set must be
present. It is the lack of the lattermeaningful setthat accounts for many a failure in language learning and places
the language teacher in a situation to search for a better solution. Process Drama, however, can turn such a
situation to an advantage by bringing into the language classroom a dramatic world and building pedagogy around
it. In order to enhance communicative competence in language learning, Process Drama allows students to work
together in large groups, small groups, and in pairs to discuss and improvise possible scenarios or dramatic
situations, and construct and explore images, roles, ideas, and situations while developing their language skills. As
such, Process Drama not only strengthens the creativity in the students meaningful learning set but also helps
enable students to be actively involved in acquiring the language skills in a meaningful context. Language instruction
is more desirable if language is regarded as a creative process. The cognitive function of Process Drama hence
serves this purpose.
Social Function
Process Drama seeks to build communicative competence and confidence among participants through working with
others. The social function lies in the cooperative, supportive interaction among peers that eventually prepares them
for real-life communication (Nunan, 1992). Moreover, Process Drama can also provide the key to unlock the potential
for human expression and communication in a broader social context and thus can serve that purpose in the
language learning context (Anderson, 1989). The pragmatic use of language learned through Process Drama over a
variety of activities, such as scenarios, improvisations, and meaning-negotiation practiced in the classroom prepares
students for better communication in real life. Furthermore, through Process Drama, students from diverse linguistic
and cultural backgrounds can build social skills and become more sensitive listeners and more apt and mature
conversationalists. They also grow in their capacity to send and receive increasingly complex and mature verbal
messages effectively, independently, creatively, and symbolically (Wagner, 1990).
Affective Function
Second- and foreign-language learning is a humanistic understanding (Stevick, 1982). Students who are learning a
new language through Process Drama are usually given the opportunity to discuss their options and plan their

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strategies in group before they act out. Therefore, students are highly motivated and actively involved in
participation through risk-taking and practice. One of the unique characteristics of Process Drama is the tension
resulting from requiring that the players determine the outcome. This tension allows the players to concentrate on
using the target language as strategically as possible as they decide on a position and then act it out. In an
important way, the students are playing themselves in exercising their roles. They are free to make decisions
through trial and error, and, in doing so, to find the language needed to express themselves. Through a series of
challenging and rewarding activities, Process Drama helps break down inhibition and form a group support network.
Students will not feel ridiculous or funny in doing drama, because all of them are active participants, including the
teacher.
IMPLEMENTING PROCESS DRAMA IN LANGUAGE CLASSROOMS
Although Process Drama takes a variety of forms and is determined by a large number of factors, such as the
learners language proficiency levels, the content of teaching, time constraints, and the syllabus, there are a number
of techniques/strategies for language teachers that are believed to be essential in characterizing what Process
Drama is and how it works. According to the sequence in teaching, these techniques/strategies are:
1. Determine the context in which themes and topics suit the learners linguistic abilities as well as sociocultural
backgrounds, and create a pre-text as a starting point.
2. Identify and utilize a variety of roles for students and the teacher.
3. Build different levels of tension to sustain dramatic activities.
4. Utilize body and language in developing communicative competence through both verbal (e.g., questioning,
probing, meaning negotiation) and nonverbal channels (e.g., tableau) to express what is beyond their linguistic
repertoire to maximize learners linguistic output in authentic and improvised context.
5. Reflect on the experiences and introduce, reinforce, and explain linguistic expressions, usage, and pragmatics
necessitated in the given scenarios.
Pre-Text in Context
Although Process Drama proceeds without a script, and its outcome is unpredictable, it starts with a pre-text in a
chosen context. Choosing the right context is therefore the very first step language teachers should take in using
Process Drama in their classrooms. The contexts vary from realistic situations (e.g., forest fire, summer camp), to
aspirational themes (e.g., NBA players, TV shows such as Survivor and Who Wants to be a Millionaire ), to imaginary
scenes (e.g., the return of a lost friend, a trip to Mars). The teacher will

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determine the context based on the learners linguistic abilities, sociocultural backgrounds and skills, as well as their
age levels. As Kao and ONeill (1998) posit, a context that is obviously far removed from everyday concerns can
offer a light-hearted, playful atmosphere, in which exploration and enjoyment are the primary purposes and the lack
of pressure to produce a correct speech promotes confidence and fluency (p. 24). Once the context is decided, the
teacher will give the class a pre-text to unfold the dramatic world. Pre-text, a term coined by ONeill (1995), refers
to the source or impulse for the drama process, and it also carries the meaning of a text that exists before the
event. A pre-text gives a linguistically clear and emotionally engaging starting point for students to unfold the
dramatic world. For instance, in the context of the return of a former school principal, the pre-text, told by the
teacher who serves in the role of the current principal of the school, could be like this: My friends, our former
principal, Mr. Smith, who disappeared five years ago, is coming back to our school tomorrow. He has lost his ability
to speak, but he will be in charge of our school. This pre-text will soon arouse a dozen questions about Mr. Smith
over the past five years, his ability to run the school, his intention to return to school, and what would happen to the
current principal when Mr. Smith takes her place. As seen, the pre-text immediately plunges the students into in
imagined world, the details of which will emerge as the participants contribute to the development of the scene. The
pre-text will determine the initial moments of action, establishing location, atmosphere, roles, and situations,
providing the arc from which the full circle of action can be anticipated. The students linguistic output triggered by
curiosity and imagination will start from here.
As seen, a pre-text can be initiated by a word, a gesture, a location, a story, an idea, an object, or an image, as
well as by a character or a play script (ONeill, 1995, p. 19). As an effective starting point, pre-text will launch the
dramatic world in such a way that students will initiate and identify their roles and be responsible for what is going
to happen in the development of the drama. Unlike a mere stimulus, pre-text has its function to activate the weaving
of the text well before it takes its shape. Functioning as the source of the text generated by the process, pre-text
defines the nature and limits of the dramatic world, implies roles for the participants, and switches on expectation
and binds the group together in anticipation. In fact, an effective pre-text serves as a preliminary frame for Process
Drama, and carries clearly accessible intentions for the roles it suggestsa will to be read, a task to be undertaken,
a decision to be made, a puzzle to be solved, a wrong-doer to be discovered, and a haunted house to be explored
(ONeill, 1995, p. 20).
Roles in Role
Once the pre-text is given, students will be engaged in different roles from working as a big group, to small groups,
and then perhaps to pair work to

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explore the dramatic world from different perspectives, and to develop their linguistic potentialities. Such roles are
spontaneous (Johnson & ONeill, 1984) and coconstructed as the result of meaning negotiation and dramatic
creativity. Moreno (1959) differentiates role-taking from role-creating. The former means the enactment of a
situation predetermined by the teacher, which is common in traditional language classrooms; the latter, which is
more creative and spontaneous in nature, encourages students to use their own imagination by utilizing both
linguistic and nonlinguistic expressions. Once a pre-text is given, the students in a class usually start questioning, as
a whole group, until a broad picture is clear to everyone. Then they will form small groups and try to negotiate their
own dramatic approach to unfold the situation from their own perspectives. Finally, small groups can be broken
down into pairs to offer minisegments of the large picture. The initial purpose of using role is to invite participants to
enter the fictional world. Once this invitation has been accepted, participants can respond actively, begin to ask or
answer questions, and oppose or transform what is taking place. Meanwhile, the role presented by the teacher is
available to be read by the whole class, and like spectators at a play, the participants are entangled in a web of
contemplation, speculation, and anticipation. The formation of group cohesion and identity is assured as interest,
commitment, and appropriate responses to what is being presented are generated.
To illustrate this process, lets return to the example of the return of the former principal. Once the pre-text is
given, all the students will be curious about this person and start asking questions, such as Where did he go for the
past five years? How come he is unable to speak? Why should we let someone who is unable to speak be in
charge of our school? In small group activities, some possibilities exist. One group might act out a scene as a news
conference in which group members will play the role of news reporters asking questions about the former principal
who is assisted by an interpreter. Another group might act out a scene of the former principals daily life in the past
five years, perhaps in the hospital, or another place. And another group might choose to use a tableau, a series of
frozen pictures, to depict how he was before, how he lost his speaking ability, and what made him return to the
school. In pair work, students can choose one-on-one conversation between two school kids, a teacher and a
student, a seasoned teacher who used to work with the principal and a newly hired teacher who has not met the
former principal before, two neighbors in the school district, the current school principal and her superintendent, and
so forth, to reflect various sorts of reactions toward the return of the former school principal.
It needs to be pointed out that in the entire process of these dramatic activities, the teacher is always in role. Rather
than being an external facilitator, or a side coach, the teacher takes on a role and enters the developing action of
the drama together with the students. In this way, the traditional teacher-student power relationship is broken, and
the students are empowered

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to enter the dramatic world to maximize their linguistic output through creative dramatic activities. As Kao and
ONeill (1998) state, when the teacher takes on a role in the interaction, it is an act of conscious self-presentation,
and one that invites the students to respond actively, to join in and to extend, oppose or transform what is
happening (p. 26). When the teacher takes a role, the students are immediately drawn together in listening,
thinking, and building the event with speculation and anticipation as they look for clues to the emerging dramatic
world in which they participate.
To revisit our example of the return of the former principal, the teacher can play the role of a news reporter, the
former principals relative or close friend, or the superintendent. Thus, the teacher in role will be able to give enough
information to answer dozens of questions from the students to get the ball rolling. As a leader or a character in the
soon-to-happen event, the teacher in role can initiate a piece of work through a dramatic and economic pre-text,
establish atmosphere, model appropriate behaviors, move the action forward, and challenge the participants from
within (ONeill, 1995). Indeed, the teacher in role has a double function. The teacher in role is to attack and yield,
provoke and withdraw (Brook, 1968, p. 122) from inside. From outside, the leader seems to be in complete control
of the action although the developing logic of the piece needs to be obeyed, and arbitrary and individual decisions
need to be avoided. The role of the teacher in role is, after all, participant facilitator.
Tension in Extension
The key element that sustains Process Drama at various stages is tension originated by the pre-text and developed
throughout the entire dramatic process. Tension can be interpreted as mental excitement and intellectual and
emotional engagement" (Morgan & Saxton, 1987), conflict (Spolin, 1963), or essential aesthetic element, and
essential structural principle in generating dramatic worlds (Kao & ONeill, 1998). Tension exists within the situation
and between situations across time. It is the result between what is known and what is unknown, between what is
anticipated and what actually happens. For example, we know that the former principal is to return, but we do not
know what has happened to him over the past five years. We know that he is going to be in charge of the school,
but we do not know whether he is capable of doing so as he has lost his ability to speak. We anticipate that the
school will continue under the current administrative system, but the return of the former principal might change the
course of action. As seen, the very topic chosen for the Process Drama is full of tension. The initial tension is
triggered by the teachers pre-text creating a knowledge gap for the students, and the initial tension is extended to
lead to subsequent tensions as the drama unfolds. Effective questioning from both the teacher in role and the
students will lead to the emergence of different levels of tension depending on the

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context and the teachers purposes. These levels of tension include direct confrontation, dilemma, or time pressure.
Students need to work out the solutions through obtaining information, exchanging ideas, argumentation and
persuasion, and rapid response as the drama extends through the entire learning process.
Body and Language
While Process Drama maximizes learners linguistic output through tension, it also encourages learners to utilize their
nonverbal communication strategies to compensate for their linguistic deficiencies. As language learners are learning
the language through dramatic activities, it is assumed that their creative ideas and thoughts are sometimes inhibited
by their lack of linguistic expressions, and therefore, utilizing their body language stretches their imagination out of
their linguistic boundaries. In traditional language classrooms, learners are often challenged with a lot of questions
from the teacher, and their speaking abilities tend to focus on answering questions. As communication is a two-way
interaction, students are greatly encouraged to ask questions prompted by the pre-text at the initial stage of Process
Drama. Practicing questioning strategies can immediately benefit our students as they will rely on questioning to
obtain information in the real world. Skillful questioning within Process Drama can strengthen students commitment
to their roles, supply information indirectly, model the appropriate language register, focus their linguistic efforts,
remodel inaccurate responses, and deepen students thinking about the issues involved in the drama (Kao & ONeill,
1998, p. 31). Through questioning, students can negotiate their meaning and make informed decisions as to what
they will do as a group in unfolding the dramatic world. On the other hand, students, especially those at beginning
or lower-intermediate levels of language proficiency, will need to rely on their body language to express their
thoughts and ideas and also to allow other students opportunities for meaning interpretation. One of the most
common forms of body language in Process Drama is called tableau, or frozen picture, or freeze frame created
by students to show a series of segmentations each of which has a sufficient demonstrative power. Tableau is a very
useful dramatic tool that enables students to strengthen the reflective elements of their work in Process Drama.
According to ONeill (1995), the function of a tableau is to arrest attention, to detain the viewers, to impede their
perception (p. 127). It increases the creativity of the mind and allows the participants in class to perceive, analyze,
and interpret its meaning in the sequential artistic framework. The stillness of tableaux suspends time, causing the
eye to focus on an image and slows down the process of input (Marranca, 1977, p. xii). For instance, in the return
of the former principal, students in a group can perform a scene of an accident suggesting the cause of the speech
loss of the former principal, and a scene of a doctor at a hospital

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showing an X-ray screen to his family members, and a scene of his desire to return to his old school, and so forth.
Tableau is a great body language for open interpretation and meaning negotiation. The group members can also
explain what is intended as compared with what is interpreted by other group members to allow modification to
occur. As a frozen image will compel the observers to come up with informed guesses and multiple possible meaning
interpretations, it encourages students linguistic output to be free from anxiety, and thus allows the teacher to
identify the forms the students have already mastered as well as those they still need to learn in order to convey
their thoughts and ideas appropriately and idiomatically, and to introduce and reinforce these forms based on the
needs of communication.
Reflective Learning
Reflecting on what has happened at different phases of Process Drama in the language classroom is an effective way
of understanding students learning and diagnosing what forms students need to enhance their communication. As
reflection usually takes place immediately after dramatic events, it facilitates meaning negotiation, and form-function
alignment. Reflection can also be used to review progress, understand the thought processes, prepare for the next
stages of drama, and resolve problems. All the students and the teacher in the class are drawn together reflecting
on the event they built together and looking for clues about the imagined world that is unfolding before them, as
well as finding their place within it. They will discover from within the action and the nature of the roles with which
they have been endowed or have adopted, and the relationships of the roles, and communicative competence they
have acquired through their active participation.
In second- or foreign-language classrooms, Process Drama takes two kinds of reflection. One is experience
reflection, and the other is linguistic reflection. However, these two kinds of reflection are not separate and distinct
from one another. They are interrelated and influence each other. In experience reflection, the central purpose is to
give learners the opportunity to focus on themselves and their reactions and feelings in different phases of learning
through Process Drama. In linguistic reflection, the focus is on whether the learner uses appropriate linguistic means
to perform the social functions necessitated in the Process Drama. It is through reflection that much can be learned
about learning. For many language learners, the only source of feedback on their learning is their teacher. Even
though the teachers feedback is a useful source of information about students learning, learners themselves are in
the best position to examine their own learning through self-reflecting, peer-commenting, and discovering what
happens in learning that might be unknown to the learner in the process. Although gaining experiences of learning
through Process Drama is important, deeper learning occurs only when such experiences are critically examined and
reflected.

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Students reflections can also trigger a deeper understanding of teaching. Such reflections involve examining
teaching experiences as a basis for evaluation and decision-making and as a source for change (Bartlett, 1990;
Wallace, 1991). Through reflections, teachers can understand why and how things are the way they are, what value
systems they represent, what alternatives might be available, and what the limitations are of doing things one way
as opposed to another. Reflection enables the teacher to be more confident in leading students to try different things
in the Process Drama and assess their effects on learning, taking into consideration students linguistic abilities and
developmental stages (Pienemann, 1984).
CHALLENGES FOR LANGUAGE TEACHERS
It has been claimed that the use of Process Drama offers new dimensions of learning for students in second- or
foreign-language classrooms. However, there are many challenges that both teachers and students may face when
these active, collaborative, and essentially dialogic approaches are introduced in a previously traditional language
classroom. Language learners, on the other hand, who have been accustomed to traditional teaching methods
sometimes find it hard to accept this innovative way of learning. In her teacher-as-researcher study of using
educational drama in an English class to thirty-three Taiwanese college students, Kao (1994) reported that her
students demonstrated high interest in contributing to conversation in terms of speech turn-taking, topic-initiation
and sequencing, effective activation of the previous acquired knowledge, significant progress in communication, and
positive perceptions about language proficiency. However, Kao also pointed out some negative attitudes and peer
pressure among some students in using drama in class. As a language teacher, she encountered constant challenges
in the negotiation of classroom organization, teacher-student and student-student relationships, and varying and
integrating teaching-learning resources (Kao, personal communication). To Kao, drama means much more than
entertaining her students. It requires thorough preparation before, careful observation during, and constant
evaluation after the practice.
Organizing a language classroom while keeping in mind how students learn effectively, what problems they need
and want to solve, and what learning skills produce optimum learning places the management of the classroom into
a collaborative arena. Few would disagree that the use of Process Drama has established itself as a means of
providing such a collaborative language-learning environment in which resources, activities, and behaviors directly
influence the learning outcome. Designing and organizing such a collaborative language-learning environment itself
is a big challenge for the language teacher. The teacher has to not only manage the physical settings of the
classroom in terms of the furniture placement but also control the pace and

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mood of the class in terms of what, when, and how to present the pre-text and guide the students through various
phases of dramatic activities to enhance effective learning. In addition, language teachers often face some other
challenges as follows:
Do We Have Sufficient Time to Use Process Drama in Language Classrooms?
Limited amount of instructional time is always a big concern for teachers in using Process Drama in second-/foreignlanguage classrooms. In many countries, such as China, Taiwan, and Japan, where the centralized educational
system, the college entrance exams, and the textbook-oriented teaching prevails, the use of creative methods and
innovative techniques such as Process Drama have to take into consideration time-effectiveness. Whereas using
Process Drama could be time-consuming both in teacher preparation and classroom organization, in spite of its
effectiveness, many teachers prefer to stay within their safe zone by carefully planning in their language syllabi the
instructional time for the introduction, reinforcement, as well as review of linguistic items. It needs to be pointed out
that Process Drama as an effective teaching tool is not to replace what has already been useful in language
classrooms. As an additive tool for teaching communicative skills, it can work equally well if only part of the phases
are used together with other commonly used teaching procedures. Besides, under time constraints, some of the
phases in Process Dramasuch as pre-text, tableau, or reflectioncan be short, in process, and be used
alternatively.
Is Enjoyable Environment Synonymous to Effective Learning?
Educational drama as a version of communicative language teaching creates an environment for the students to use
the target language communicatively and enjoyably. In a survey of student attitudes toward communicative and
noncommunicative activities, Green and Harker (1988) raised a basic question: Do enjoyment and effectiveness go
together? While activities like using Process Drama in the language classroom are certainly an enjoyable experience
for students, the survey results did not indicate whether or to what extent students believe that enjoyment
contributes to effectiveness, or the extent to which perceived effectiveness helps make activities enjoyable (Green &
Harker, 1988). As Kaos study (1994) indicates, although drama activities can create a nonthreatening and
comfortable environment for language learning to take place, both language teachers and researchers should not
overlook some possible negative effects of a light classroom atmosphere. Students who have extremely weak
confidence in themselves as language learners may feel even more frustrated when other students are

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actively involved in participation (Liu, 2000). Also, some students who show no concern about the course may take
advantage of the flexible and light atmosphere created by Process Drama. This is also a challenge language teachers
will face in creating a lively classroom atmosphere.
Do Language Teachers Need Special Training in Process Drama?
Furthermore, many teachers believe in the effectiveness of using drama in language classrooms, but they have not
received special training and they do not know how to use it appropriately and skillfully. According to Heathcote
(1978), the skills of teaching lie in making time slow enough for inquiry, interesting enough to loiter along the way,
and rigorous enough to bring new thought processes into understanding. Hence the techniques of the proper use of
Process Drama activities are very important. For instance, without proper management of intonation, the pitch of the
sound, proper body language, and the necessary emotion, the pre-text, no matter how intriguing it is, cannot
achieve its most expected result, and therefore the power of Process Drama will be seriously diminished. This
cautions many an ambitious teacher ready to employ Process Drama in their language classrooms that a thorough
understanding of the theory and a reasonable amount of practice is always a welcome preparation to ensure when,
where, and how to maximize the potentials of Process Drama in language classrooms.
Process Drama seems to be able to shorten the distance between the teacher and students in talking but is not
powerful enough to completely break the conversational rules in the traditional classroom (Kao, 1994). This is a big
challenge language teachers should work at with effort. In traditional language classrooms as in China, Japan, and
Korea, the big size of the class as well as the emphasis on grammatical forms in a lecture type of class place the
teacher in a high status with dominating power. Even though using Process Drama techniques in language teaching
can help break this power relationship, the traditional stereotype of the teacher as an authority in the eyes of the
learner is deeply rooted and has always been an obstacle in maximizing the effectiveness of using Process Drama in
language classrooms (Liu, 2000). As Kao (1994) stated in her data analysis, although she tried very hard to create a
more authentic and natural setting for making a conversation, the social rules of making classroom discourse still
dominated the procedures of the students oral interaction most of the time. Therefore, language teachers, in order
to make the best use of Process Drama, should try hard to transact status in dealing with the relationship between
dominance and submission, superiority and inferiority, and being active and passive (Johnstone, 1981). The teacher
should set things in motion by ensuring that the students understand what they are supposed to do and then step
back as far as possible from what is happening, controlling but not directing (Maley & Duff, 1978). It is

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tempting, however, for the teacher to intervene when there is something wrong or there is silence awaiting to be
broken up, but the teacher should learn to withdraw while making it clear that s/he is there only when s/he is
needed (Maley & Duff, 1978). Interestingly, Kao (1994) found in her study that there is a subtle relationship
between the level of the teachers control of the activity and the students involvement. It seemed that the students
could play a more active role in participation when the teacher had less control of the topics and procedures. But the
activity might lose its original purposes and become disorganized when it is out of control. How to encourage the
active participation on the part of the students in dramatic activities without losing control is therefore a great
challenge to the teacher. How to handle unknown elements and find the balance between the teachers and the
students roles in drama are crucial to the students interest and level of participation (Kao, 1994).
How to Select Resources That Are Conducive to Process Drama Activities?
Dramatic worlds that arise in the classroom are not necessarily defined in advance, and they will not always develop
in terms of a linear narrative (ONeill, 1992). Language teachers often encounter difficulties in selecting resources:
the kinds of scenes or episodes during the process to produce the most satisfactory development of the dramatic
world, which will lead to some kind of completion and fulfillment. The important point here is, as ONeill (1992)
posits, that the selection itself is not a question of deciding in advance on a sequence of episodes, so that there is in
effect a fixed scenario within which students improvise. The challenge for the teacher is how to remain genuinely
improvisatory to allow for spontaneity, uncertainty, ingenuity, exploration, and discovery to occur. When the teacher
chooses a pre-text as a starting point, she needs to plan carefully the encounters or episodes that will launch the
dramatic world. But such a dramatic world will be explored and discovered improvisationally along the process
instead of being predetermined. This is a real challenge for the teacher and an inspiring experience for the language
learner.
To remain genuinely improvisatory, however, does not assume that the language teacher has no clear idea of what
to teach and how to teach effectively each time before she enters into the classroom. How to select appropriate
topics and design various dramatic activities compromising linguistic and communicative needs to cater to the
majority of linguistically and culturally diverse students is always a concern for language teachers. The dilemma for
language teachers in using Process Drama is how to strike a balance between the notion that controlling linguistic
elements will hinder students expression on the one hand, and the notion that liberating students responses will
result in the difficulty to organize a clear and orderly structured

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teaching on the other hand. That is to say, teachers in using Process Drama should be able to strike a balance
between meaning and form and between fluency and accuracy to assure students of the effectiveness of learning. In
a two-year research project in French Immersion Programs, ONeill (1994) found that teachers in immersion
classroom face a special difficulty. Where the teacher is the only proficient target language speaker within the childs
world of school, home, and community, the teachers input should be responsible for the childs development of
language learned, for the environment created to reflect the French-speaking world in which the cultural values are
reflected. Likewise, using Process Drama is also challenging for language learners. In language classrooms, students
have to utilize what they have learned, such as vocabulary, grammar, or nonverbal cues, to describe or act with the
events they have seen or heard. Needless to say, concentration and enthusiasm are indispensable in participation in
these activities.
In sum, Process Drama, as a useful activity, will become a welcome method in balancing learners accuracy and
fluency in second-/foreign-language classrooms. Its major power lies in its concordance with communicative
competence as a purpose, and interaction as a focus in language learning and teaching. Though some difficulty still
remains in regard to its integration into the curriculum to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse
students, the advantages of using Process Drama in combining the important elements of linguistic accuracy, cultural
appropriateness, emotional involvement, active, physical participation, and the language class as a community are
obvious as discussed in this chapter. What needs to be done is the joint effort of both researchers and classroom
teachers in designing and implementing more classroom research to substantiate the role and function of Process
Drama in different language classrooms at different levels in different teaching and learning contexts.
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Krashen, S.D. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning . Oxford: Pergamon.
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II
Approaches, Methods, Techniques

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5
Teaching Foreign Language Literature: Tapping the Students Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
Manfred Lukas Schewe
Thinking is not merely taking place in the head. . . , it is a bodily experience.
Robert Wilson
Over the last decade, the focus of my activities as a language teacher, teacher trainer, and researcher/reflective
practitioner has been on the theory and practice of drama as a holistic concept of learning and teaching a foreign
and second language, especially German as a foreign language. In various publications (Schewe & Shaw, 1993;
Schewe, 1993; 1998a; 1998b; 1998c; 2000), I have outlined how language pedagogy can benefit considerably from
practice in drama in education, theater in education, and professional theater. Language teachers can widen their
didactic-methodological repertoire by observing and learning from those who create interactive scenarios and stage
communication in the process of making theater, that is primarily authors, directors, and actors. Their work is
immediately related to our concerns as language teachers, because the ability to interact and to communicate in
efficient ways is, after all, at the heart of language teaching/learning.

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In Schewe (1993) and Schewe and Shaw (1993), drawing primarily on research in drama-in-education and language
pedagogy with its related disciplines, a case was made for a drama-based approach to foreign- and second-language
teaching/learning and a theoretical framework proposed; within this framework a broad range of perspectives were
consideredfor example, neuropsychological, sociopsychological, psycholinguistic, psycho-physiologicalwhich
would lend support to the drama concept of foreign-and second-language teaching/learning. I think it is safe to say
that, at the beginning of the new millennium, the contribution that drama can make toward furthering the subject
debate in language pedagogy has been recognized worldwide by researchers as well as practitioners. Testifying to
this are more recent publications such as those by Kao and ONeill (1998), Bolton and Heathcote (1998), Wagner
(1998), Tselikas (1999), Schlemminger, Brysch, and Schewe (2000), or this present volume. Also, in recent years
drama was and continues to be a topic of interest for many conference organizers in the area of modern
languages.1
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
For this publication I was asked to offer some reflections on the role of the body in language and intercultural
learning. I want to use Howard Gardners (1993) theory of multiple intelligences as a backdrop to my argumentation.
There are two reasons for this: (1) It gives further substance to the theoretical framework that I developed and
proposed in previous publications; and (2) its implications for curriculum and assessment in Ireland have, between
1995 and 1999, been the focus of educational research at University College where I work; the research findings
have recently been documented in Hyland (2000).
In this research report (p. 7, my emphases) reference is made to Gardners eight intelligences as follows:
Linguistic Intelligence allows individuals to communicate and make sense of the world through language
(poets, journalists, writers, orators).
Logical-mathematical Intelligence enables individuals to use and appreciate abstract relations (scientists,
mathematicians, philosophers).
Musical Intelligence allows people to create, communicate, and understand meanings made out of sound
(singers, musicians, composers).
Spatial Intelligence makes it possible for people to perceive visual or spatial information, to transform this
information, and to re-create visual images from memory (architects, engineers, sculptors).
Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence allows individuals to use all or part of the body to create products or solve
problems (craftspeople, dancers, surgeons, athletes, choreographers).
Interpersonal Intelligence enables individuals to recognize and make distinctions about others feelings and
intentions (parents, politicians, psychologists, salespeople).

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Intrapersonal Intelligence helps individuals to distinguish among their own feelings, to build accurate mental
models of themselves, and to draw on these models to make decisions about their lives (difficult to observe in
specific occupations, but relevant to most).
Naturalist Intelligence allows people to distinguish among, classify, be sensitive to, and use features of the
environment (farmers, botanists, geologists, archaeologists).
The eight areas represent the range of intelligent human functioning. While each area is identified as a discrete
intelligence, each also interacts with others in complex ways to produce the richness of human behaviour and
achievement. Ordinary human functioning requires such interaction. Many people will exhibit a highly-developed
intelligence, not perhaps in their occupation, but in pastimes, interests, hobbies, in personal projects, or in social and
personal relationships.
The general research findings seem to suggest that if effective learning is to take place in a (language) classroom, a
teacher should ideally create learning opportunities that take into account as many of these intelligences as possible.
There seems to be ample evidence for the fact that greater learner participation and student interaction can result,
responsibility on the parts of the students is likely to increase, more interest in the subject is created, and improved
learning outcomes can be achieved. This would suggest that language teachers who would naturally emphasize
linguistic intelligence in their work consider also other intelligencesfor example the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
and become more aware of the language opportunities that can be created, as it were, by bringing the body into
play.
One glance at the intelligences list will suffice in order to realize that a drama-based concept of teaching and
learning deserves to be called holistic. Certainly six of the intelligences are heavily drawn upon in day-to-day drama
work, and even the remaining twological-mathematical and naturalistcould be addressed in specifically designed
drama projects.
The discussion on multiple intelligences rekindles the subject debate in language pedagogy revolving around the
notion of different learner types. However, even if research in German as a foreign language (e.g., Aguado, 2001)
and applied linguistics (e.g., Ellis, 1994, 471527) has kept on highlighting the fact that learners learn in different
ways, these differences have as yet not been too clearly defined and there are relatively few examples regarding the
practical implementation of tasks that would accommodate different learner types. The more recent interest in taskbased language pedagogy (Ellis, 2000) might help to spark off more interest in pursuing further research on how
tasks ought best be designed in order to facilitate learning for different learner types; meanwhile, however, language
pedagogy could yet benefit more from ideas put forward by proponents from general education. In this context, I
want to revert back to the (UCC) research report

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mentioned previously (Hyland, 2000), which, among other things, evaluates action research projects carried out by
teachers and student teachers. In one section of the report (p. 125), a student teacher who used drama in the
teaching of Irish and also other subjects is quoted and has this to say:
Drama in Education has worked really well for me in CSPE, Geography and even Irish . . . . Since beginning this
project the classroom had become a very interesting, creative place for both the pupils and myself, a place where
learning takes place for everyone. Use of the Multiple Intelligences in class is slowly but surely becoming second
nature to me and the more creative I am, the more involved and enthusiastic the students are. In fact our class has
become noted in the staffroom and by other students for its creativity and displaysa concept quite exciting for
many in the group since they are classed as a lower stream. For me as a teacher, Drama in Education and Multiple
Intelligences theory have worked wonders.
Based on the notion that drama is an effective tool in the teaching and learning of foreign and second languages
because of its capacity to gainfully utilize multiple intelligences, in the following I offer some thoughts on how
especially bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can be tapped in a drama-based language classroom.
We do not necessarily need words in order to communicate, but can express joy, sadness, love, hateindeed the
whole range of human experiencewith our bodies. This shows especially in the art forms of dance and theater for
which the body and its capacity to create meaning through movement and/or stillness are of central importance.
That the signaling possibilities of our bodies are endless is, for example, demonstrated in performances of
contemporary Austrian playwright Peter Handkes Die Stunde, in der wir nichts voneinander wussten, directed in
the 1990s by Luc Bondy at the Schaubhne, Berlin. Although words are not spoken during this more than two-hourlong performance, the audiences seem to enjoy what is unfolding before their eyes and to be fascinated by what the
actors say through (the interplay of) movement and stillness. Note in this context also the fairly recent production of
Krper (bodies) choreographed by Sasha Waltz at the Schaubhne, Berlin, or indeed many of the plays that
American director Robert Wilson staged successfully in renowned European theaters and elsewhere over the last two
decades. The philosophy underlying his directing style is encapsulated in the words that introduce this chapter and
were translated from Keller (1997, 106).
Drama in the (language) classroom naturally cannot compete artistically with the work of professional theater
companies; but even if we have to concede that teachers and learners are more limited in their expressive repertoire
and simply have not got the skills a professional actor or director

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has, they can still gainfully experiment with methods that are used in the professional theater.
One of these styles is pantomime, a form of dramatic art that immediately calls to mind names like Samy Molcho,
Marcel Marceau, and the like. Although for the teacher it might be helpful to know a little about these icons and/or
to have participated in a pantomime training workshop, it is generally speaking not necessary to have developed
pantomime into a high art before one applies it in a classroom setting. In fact, any teacher and any learner is in a
position to express with his/her body, for example, what a specific object looks like (a guitar, a gun, etc.), that a
person is sad, a couple are quarrelling about something, and so on. Pantomime work in the classroom sensitizes
learners to nonverbal aspects of communication. They train the ability to recognize nonverbal signs, including
culturally embedded gestures, and learn to communicate despite lacking certain language skills. Pantomime work
offers the opportunity to physically connect academic endeavor with a students individual experience. What is shown
in a pantomime can become a starting and reference point for further classroom activities that involve speaking,
listening, writing, and reading.
The teacher (of German) can find a useful introduction to pantomime-related basic terminology, principles, and
exercises in an article by Kaftan, published in a theater pedagogical volume edited by Vaen/Koch/Neumann (1998)
that contains several contributions focusing on the interrelationship of body and theater, including a foreign
languagerelated article by Bruer.
UNIVERSAL AND CULTURALLY SPECIFIC BODY LANGUAGE
Even if the idea of doing pantomime work in the classroom initially might seem to be daunting and even paradoxical,
there are good reasons for using this resource, as I demonstrate further. That it is by no means a novel idea can be
shown by a few lines from the introduction of a small booklet Instant Greek. A teacher of German who had
participated in my drama workshop at the Goethe Institute in Athens some years ago had seen it in a bookshop and
gave it to me, because she was intrigued by the direct connection to some of the pantomime-based exercises we
had experienced in the workshop:
Greek is a difficult, complicated language. It can take from a year to ten years to learn and most tourists do not
generally have that sort of time. There is firstly the problem of a different alphabet, then an intricate grammar,
difficult pronunciation, dialects . . . the list is endless. True, it is always possible to find in the big centres a Greek
who can speak English, French or German but for those who venture into the villages, the small tavernas, the
problem remains . . . how to communicate?

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Now for the first time you can learn to communicate in a way that is probably older than language itself. With the
help of one of the master exponents of this method, Professor Barba Yanni A.M.C., D.G., H.P.H., you will be able to
converse easily on the most essential subjects of Greek daily life.
Follow the Professor carefully, study his movements, watch his facial expressions, the slight lift of an eye-brow, the
shrug of a shoulder, a twinkle in his eye, his stance . . . and you too will be able to speak Greek in a flash. (Papas,
1985, p. 4)
It is quite amusing to study the drawings in this booklet, each of which shows a man expressing something with his
body. What he intends to express and how he does it is explained on the page opposite the picture. For example:
What : I am telling the truth.
How : Look awful, cross your index fingers, kiss them and bring them apart.
or:
What : You can put a hole in my nose.
How : This is a very Greek expression and implies you can do what you like but I still wont do what you want.
Screw up your face, place one forefinger against your nose and twist.
The underlying assumption in this booklet is that there is a specific Greek body language that the reader can learn
in a flash and, according to the author, is far more effective and simpler than learning the words. Thumbing
through this booklet, which is apparently written for fast-track tourists, one soon realizes that the author might be
going a bit far here and there. Some of his clich drawings and corresponding explanations have more entertainment
value than anything else. Although tourists with little or no knowledge of the language might encounter serious
communication problems in certain situations and have no other option but to resort to body language, it is
important to note that nonverbal communication cannot be restricted to culturally specific conventionalized gestures.
This becomes clearer when I refer to Baurs reflections (1990, 3336), which introduce readers to Suggestopedia,
an alternative method of language teaching/learning that draws heavily on the use of gestures and therefore is
immediately related to a drama concept of foreign- and second-language teaching and learning. On the basis of
research findings in semiotics he states that the number of culturally specific gestures and the role they play in
intercultural communication are rather limited. (Examples for such gestures: Germans would not necessarily
understand the gesture Ill keep my fingers crossed for you used in English-

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speaking countries; native speakers of English would not necessarily understand the equivalent German gesture Ich
drcke dir die Daumen which translates as I press my thumbs for you.). He emphasizes that our interest as
language teachers should preferably be in the universal aspect of body languagefor example, in deictic gestures,
which are used to point at/locate something (here, there, above me, etc.); pictographs, which are gestures
used in order to illustrate the image of a reference object (e.g., a guitar, a glass); and all those gestures that
accompany our speech and serve, for example, to sequence what we say, regulate the course of the interaction,
accentuate specific meanings, or express our feelings.
NONVERBAL ACTIVITIES: SOME EXAMPLES
In order to make learners aware of the possibilities and also limitations of nonverbal expression, I often give them
the following instruction: Think of all the different countries that exist in this world. Focus on three of these, the
first of which should geographically be quite near to your own country, the second at a further distance, and the
third the most remote. In this order, write your choices on a slip of paper. The students, who are seated in a circle,
put their slips of paper on the floor. Then I ask them to get themselves a slip that is not their own, adding that they
not show it to their neighbor on the right or left. The students are then paired off, and all pairs simultaneously carry
out the following task:
Begin with the first country on your list, taking turns with your partner to explain what countries you have on your
list. Note, however, that you are not allowed to use words, but are restricted to a non-verbal form of explanation .
This may include the making of sounds.
This usually generates a lot of fun and makes for a very lively class. During the feedback session immediately after
the exercise, the students will, for example, become aware of the following:
Culturally specific conventionalized gestures/movements (a student who has to explain Spain might choose to
raise his/her arms above his/her head and, while turning round, might snap his/her fingers in order to imitate
Flamenco)
Clich images of a country (a student who has Australia on his list might decide to hop like a kangaroo)
Strategies they apply when giving a nonverbal explanation (hum the national anthem of a country; indicate
geographical location by drawing on a piece of paper or black-/white board; use movement and gestures to hint
at a countrys typical products/activities (for example, in the case of Italy, eating spaghetti)

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The difficulty of expressing something that is not related in any way to ones own first-hand or mediated
experience. For a student who has never been in or even heard of a particular country, there is really no point of
departure.
I deliberately ask the students to do this exercise simultaneously. This puts them at ease, especially those students
who have no previous experience in expressing themselves nonverbally and/or might have reservations about it.
While the students are involved in this activity, I observe carefully how each pair is coping and have those pairs who
come up with interesting solutions and seem confident enough with the task show one of their nonverbal
explanations to the rest of the class so that the learners have a focus and can exchange views on what they have
seen. Especially in the case of a new class, the teacher needs to be very sensitive and must not ask the students to
perform before they are ready for it.
A simple exercise like this could, especially in the case of a multicultural learner group, lead on to further work on
culturally specific gesturesbearing in mind, of course, as we noted earlier, that the number of these is rather
limited and that learners might therefore find it difficult to retrieve and show such gestures. In that case the teacher
could, if she/he is in a position to do so, supply appropriate examples here.
The benefit of using pantomime in foreign- and second-language teaching/learning has been touched upon
occasionally in the past (e.g., Long & Castanos, 1976; Carels, 1981; Mariani, 1981). In the area of German as a
foreign language, Wolf (1990; 1993) has put forward what to date appears to be the most convincing rationale for
pantomime as a means of triggering speech. She offers a four-phase model of pantomime work that is based on
universal themes like time, space, people, objects, dreams, and so on. Her video documentation and accompanying
booklet give a good impression of how, in the first phase, learners are introduced to the topic. In the second, they
collect as many topic-related scenes as possible, and, in the third, they work toward connecting these scenes and
creating a story, before in the fourth phase a longer spoken scene evolves in which gestures and miming and speech
interact together to make a whole. With regard to the topics she chooses for working with multicultural learner
groups, Wolf (1993) points out: The topics as a whole are conceived to incorporate the various dimensions of life in
general, thus encouraging the student to venture into using his personal experiences based on the individual cultural
background (203204). However, in the practical example that I describe in what follows, my starting point is not a
general, universal topic, but a concrete extract from a literary text. It will be shown how this can be made
dramatically serviceable, by employing pantomimic action and by means of the production technique of shadowing,
that is, the re-creation of an action by a second group immediately after the first group has performed it.

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Nevertheless, what Wolf (1993, 202) has to say on the purpose of pantomime might serve as a backdrop:
to make visible a fictional reality through movement. The miming performer selects, outlines, exaggerates in order to
get across his own ideas. The activation of the imagination is essential just as much for the process of performing as
it is for the act of beholding, guessing at the meaning of and recognizing an act or a scene.
A NONVERBAL APPROACH TO A LITERARY TEXT
Id like to show an example of how I would see the opening phase of a teaching unit on the subject of Intercultural
Encounter, and particularly how pantomime-based activities can form an integral part of classroom work centered on
the study of a literary text with the goal of arriving at a deeper understanding of a sensitive and complex
intercultural issue: asylum seeking. I chose to work on this topic because several European countries, including
Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland, have to cope with a growing number of asylum seekers. Especially for Ireland,
this is a relatively new phenomenon and, accordingly, the reactions of the Irish population are very mixed.2
In order to illustrate a particular point I am making, I at times refer to my teaching experiences in a group of
second-year students of German whom I presently (February 2001) teach at University College Cork.
The Text (Extract) to Be Used
The basic idea comes from the 1990 story About the Concealment of a Guest by the Swiss writer Linus Reichlin. It
takes as its theme an extreme form of intercultural meeting, namely, the existential problems of people who have to
seek asylum and are thereby dependent on assistance from their fellowmen and women. A translation of a short
review by Martin Kraft (1990) gives further details:
A Kurd from Turkey, whose father and brother were shot dead, and who has himself endured prison and torture,
flees to Switzerland. There, after his application for asylum has been turned down, he finds refuge in a
Wohngemeinschaft, illegally, needless to say. This is a very typical personal fate, which Linus Reichlin presents
with documentary-style credibility combined with narrative verve.
This is a book not only about asylum seekers but also perhaps even more about the Swiss and their difficulties with
them. Although the book is not impartial, it is ideologically not clearly one-sided in that also the lack of solidarity
among the Turks themselves becomes evident.
The facts, although appearing to be credibly researched and documented, are, however, only the point of departure
for a lively investigation into the emotions

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of the Kurd, who is suddenly confronted with a strange world, as his presence knocks the unthinking everyday
routine of the Swiss out of kilter. The story is at times sad and touching; at others, in spite of the tragic background,
it demonstrates grotesquely comic graphicness. An example of the latter is the scene in which the hungry Kurd finds
himself in the presence of a woman, who, as she consumes a huge breakfast, delivers a reproachful harangue about
the social conditions in his country.
I thought it would be very interesting to work pantomimically with the course participants on the following extract
from the story. The narrator describes an event using a minimum of words, and this treatment of the extract will
be instantly familiar to learners of a foreign language. It goes like this: One person tries to communicate with
anotherin the mother tongue, in the foreign tongue, and, if necessary, with hands and feet.
(1)
On the 18th of April the carpet weaver moved into the workroom upstairs. He placed his two plastic sacks beside the
bed. Pauleveryone else being out of the house that Saturday afternoonshowed the guest the bath and toilet and
took him downstairs to the kitchen and living room. Paul was surprised that, contrary to his expectations, he was not
dealing with an intellectual. Having quickly established that the worker spoke no foreign language, the tour of the
house was carried out with a minimum of words.
(2)
Then they stood silent in the living room. Paul invited the guest to sit down. The carpet weaver offered him a
Marlboro. Paul was a non-smoker. In return he asked the guest if he wanted something to drink. Paul took a glass
from the shelf and put it several times to his mouth. Smiling, the carpet weaver declined, although he was thirsty.
Pauls embarrassment grew.
After ten minutes of silence, spent smiling at each other, Paul excused himself, saying he had things to do.
(3)
Now, for the first time the carpet weaver sat alone in his hosts living room. He saw that he was visible from outside.
He changed his seat and sat in the corner, where he was safe from prying eyes. He had good reason to be cautious:
on the way to this house he had seen two men in grey-blue uniform getting into a car outside the house opposite.
One of them had been wearing a leather jacket. . . . They could just as well have been harmless night watchmen as
a special unit of the police.
For about two hours he sat alone in the living room. His concept of hospitality, and the conduct this concept
expected of a guest, prevented him from drinking from the tap in the kitchen. He saw bread, but didnt touch it. As
he saw no sign of an ashtray, and felt too apprehensive to look for one, he didnt smoke. The room was markedly
different from that of his former hostess by virtue of the condition of its furniture: the stuff here seemed older and
more used. He waited.

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(4)
Vreni saw that he had nothing to drink. She asked him if he wanted a beer, some mineral water or milk, and the
carpet weaver put his hand on his stomach and shook his head. He had not yet learned that in this, her country, it
was the custom first to ask the guest if he was hungry and thereafter to give him food. He hoped the woman would
now give him something to drink and something to eat, for he was hungry. Instead of which, she sat down next to
him and leafed through a dictionary. After searching for a long time she bade him welcome, in Turkish.
I would now like to outline a procedure that is definitely transferable to other literary textsinsofar as these texts
contain interactive situations that the course participants can act out by means of gestures and mime. Even if the
organization of the sequences to be acted out by the class is quite complex, the basic idea is simple: The teacher
presents the literary text extract as a puzzle, which in the course of the class is assembled by the students.
Planning the Class
For the following teaching steps, I would foresee a double class (two forty-fiveminute sessions) and a group of
sixteen to twenty intermediate standard learners of German. Every step begins with an impulse that triggers the
participants learning actions. In each step, it is indicated by (a) which means these actions are carried out, that is, if
the students work individually, in pairs, or in small groups; (b) how the working space is organized; (c) which props
and aids are needed; and (d) the production techniques employed. (Full details on the planning of dramapedagogical classes can be found in Schewe 1993, 275300).
Teaching Steps
Teaching Step 1
Impulse: The teacher explains that the class will be devoted to working on a new literary text and explains the
procedure: We need seven actors who will perform the mime. Then we need another seven actors who will recreate the mime performance. All the other participants are spectators/audience who will observe the actions in both
performances. But, like the actors, they will have a written task to fulfill.
The teacher divides the participants into the aforementioned groups.
Learning Actions: Seated in a circle, participants listen and consider to which group they wish to belong.
Teaching Step 2
Impulse: The teacher organizes the dividing up of the participants and makes clear:

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a. which participants will be first to perform the mime;
b. which participants will afterwards attempt to accurately re-create the mime, using words;
c. which participants will act as audience/observers of the two staged actions.
The teacher then allots specific written instructions and explains that each group of performers will get different text
extracts, which they are not to show to the other groups.
Learning Actions: The participants get into their chosen groups, read their work assignment, discuss it, and decide
among themselves who does what.
Props/Aids: Extract from the literary text; written instructions (see the appendix at the end of the chapter).
Teaching Step 3
Impulse: The teacher tells the first group of actors to begin rehearsals for their performance and asks the second
group (the re-creators/shadowers) and the third group (the audience/observers) to closely observe the rehearsal
work.
Learning Actions: On the acting area, actors try out pantomimic actions until they find a form on which they agree.
In the audience/observer area, the participants watch closely and try to understand the main points of what is being
shown in the pantomimic action.
Props/Aids: Extract from literary text.
Production technique: Pantomime
Teaching Step 4
Impulse: The teacher organizes the sequence of the four performances. The performing duo A/B commence their
performance. Immediately after they have finished, their shadow group A1/B1 re-create the action, this time with
words. The teacher asks all the observing participants:
1. to take notes during and/or after each of the four scenes;
2. to note down how they understand the scene (Where does the action take place? What are the people in the
scene doing? What are they reacting to? How are they reacting? What are they saying to each other or to
themselves?).
Before moving on to the next scene, the audience/observers give feedback on what they have seen, before the
performers themselves report back on the scene they have played.
Learning Actions: The participants on the acting area perform. The other participants, seated in a semicircle
(audience area) pay close attention, attempt to find meaningful connections, and write down their thoughts and
compare notes on their interpretation of each scene.
Props/Aids: Paper/marker

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Production Technique: Pantomimic performance/re-creation of performance by the first group by the shadowing
second group.
Teaching Step 5
Impulse: After all the scenes have been performed, the teacher asks the actors and audience/observers to
1. Form mini groups (3 or 4 persons per group), and, once again, using their notes, recall what happened in the
four scenes.
2. Agree on (a) a meaningful running order for the scenes; and (b) uniting the four scenes under a suitable title.
(The chosen title is then written on the board for all to see.)
3. Justify why theyve chosen that particular running order and that particular title.
First, each of the minigroups in turn gives its chosen title, and then, again in turn, each minigroup gives reasons for
its choice.
Learning Actions: participants in minigroups, reading, negotiating with each other, formulating, writing, speaking,
listening.
Props/Aids: Black-/Whiteboard
Production Technique: Reflection
Teaching Step 6
Impulse: The teacher distributes the text extract from Linus Reichlins Concerning the Concealment of a Guest to
the participants. S/he asks them to note the details of the text, particularly the sequences of the action. S/he asks
them to decide which of the enacted scenes and suggested titles of the previous learning steps best fit the text.
Learning Actions: Participants in minigroups listen, read silently, agree on the content and details of the text. They
identify connections between the new text and the scenes they have played. They voice their views on this subject.
Props/Aids: Text extract
Production Technique: Reflection
Didactic Notes
In intercultural encounters, like those described by Linus Reichlin in his docu-story, words have their limitations; a
point that becomes clear in later sections of the story, as can be seen from this example:
The man asked him a question. The carpet weaver couldnt understand it. So, smiling, the carpet weaver told the
man, in Turkish, that he couldnt understand him. The man, in turn, couldnt understand what the carpet weaver had
said, and made a resigned gesture with his hands and shook his head regretfully. (pp. 3839)
Clearly, text material like this is an inducement to test the limitations and possibilities of nonverbal communication in
the classroom, and it provides a

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ready-made subject for a teaching unit devoted to intercultural encounters. The drama-pedagogical point of
departure described here aims at making the participants curious about the text. At first they may well feel confused
by the pantomimic performances, and they may have questions concerning elements of these, but gradually the
connections between the scenes performed become clearer.
This type of treatment of literature is based on the techniques employed by professional creators of literature.
Throwing up questions and not revealing connections is a popular literary technique which has two functions: one,
it makes the reader curious, and, two, it creates tension3 (Ehlers, 1992, p.16).
As has become clear in teaching steps 4 and 5, I usually ask the students who are observers/audience to practice
their writing skills by noting down what they have seen. Sabrina, a second-year student of German, wrote in
response to the mimed action based on part three of the text extract (see earlier list):
Er guckt durch ein Fenster an. Er ist total erschrocken, neugierig. Er schwiet, ist nervs. Er hat Hunger. Vielleicht
wartet er auf jemand. Er denkt immer an, dass vielleicht etwas Schlimmes passieren knnte, oder jemand kommen
knnte, der gefhrlich ist. Er kann nicht ruhig sitzen, der Fu macht immer Bewegung. Er macht etwas mit die
Rolladen. Er denkt immer an die Zeit, hat sie viel Zeit? Oder hat sie nur kurze Zeit?
What she attempts to express in German is this:
He looks through a window, is completely terrified, curious; he is perspiring, nervous. Hes hungry. Perhaps he is
waiting for somebody, he keeps thinking that something terrible might happen, that somebody dangerous might turn
up. He does something to the shutters. He keeps thinking about the time. Has he got a lot of time or just a little?
When held against the original text, this example shows that students at this level are well able to (a) make a
fictional reality visible through movement and (b) recognize and interpret what they saw performed. By comparing
their written versions with each other, the students become aware of details, get a good overall sense of the essence
of the four scenes, and form opinions on how these interconnect. Rhona, for example, suggests the following scenetitles in this order: 1. The new tenant; 2. An awkward situation; 3. At the window; 4. The interview.
Although I think that the proposed procedure of leading the students into a literary text via mime and having them
piece together a nonverbal puzzle certainly will arouse interest on the part of the students and result in a lively
language class, during which the students practice their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, the following
needs to be taken into consideration:

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It is important that non-verbal approaches do not turn into mere guessing games, where the group expends its
energies on trying to decipher what is happening in the tableau or mime, rather than interrogating the images or
sequence of gestures for the meanings they contain. (Kao & ONeill, 1998, 31)
Still Image: A Basic Drama Technique
In light of space limitations I can only sketch briefly how I would propose to continue the work on meanings at a
deeper level. This could be done by asking the students, after they received and carefully read the text extract, to
form still images ,4 which capture key moments of the story in the text. This could, for example, be done in pairs (A
is working on B as the statue) or small groups of three (A as the director gives instructions to B, the sculptor, who
models C into a statue). It is important that students take their time for this task and bear in mind that every detail
of a gesture and/or facial expression carries meaning. The ensuing discussion arising from a comparison of text and
images could then feed into more text-independent work. The students at this stage would bring their own
(mediated) experiences and knowledge regarding the life situation of asylum seekers into play, and this could be
looked at from two perspectives: the asylum seekers own perspective, and the perspective of native people (social
workers, police, people in the street, etc.) who come into contact with them. I asked second-year students of
German at University College Cork to form still images encapsulating these different perspectives and to respond to
those images in writing. A few (translated) examples of their written work might suffice here to show how the
students engaged with the task and give the impression of the kind of images that were created:
1.
Still images under the title: How we see ourselves:
We are victims of bureaucracy. We are forced to queue, are regarded as statistics rather than people. (Jeremiah)
We find it difficult to make a living. She is selling magazines and really has to push for a sale. He is playing the
accordion and thinking of home while playing familiar melodies. (Ellen)
2.
Still images under the title: How others see them:
They ignore the asylum seeker and try not to look at him. They look everywhere else except at him. One person
tries to help him and the man with her disapproves. He is beneath them not just physically but metaphorically.
People see him as a hindrance and seem to be annoyed by him. They try to avoid him as he begs. One person is
very hostile to him, calls him a parasite. (Elaine)
Many walk past him. Few give him money. They feel intimidated or else they are quite unfeeling towards him.
Everybody looks away from him, ignores him, only one really notices him. (Clare)

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Focus on a Critical Incident
In a further step students could be asked to invent a critical incident that involves an asylum seeker and other
people. This incident would become the focus of further work that would draw on techniques described by Bertolt
Brecht in The Street Scene. A Basic Model for an Epic Theatre. The following gives a sense of the kind of classroom
activities that might arise when re-enacting the invented incidents:
It is comparatively easy to set up a basic model for epic theater. For practical experiments I usually picked as my
example of completely simple, natural epic theater an incident such as can be seen at any street corner: an
eyewitness demonstrating to a collection of people how a traffic accident took place. The bystanders may not have
observed what happened, or they may simply not agree with him, may see things a different way; the point is that
the demonstrator acts the behaviour of driver or victim or both in such a way that the bystanders are able to form
an opinion about the accident. (Willet, 1994, 121)
Students would take on the role of witnesses and relate to the incident from various points of view. This of course
needs preparation and puts considerable demands on the students ability to express themselves in a foreign
language. However, at the intermediate level of my students, this seemed to be appropriate.
A group of students (Barry, Ellen, Elaine, Gordon) chose a busy street as a setting for the incident:
It is Christmas and the streets are busy. A Romanian man is hungry and looking for some money for food.
(Christmas music in the background adds to his feeling of aloneness and alienation.) He gets verbal abuse from a
rowdy drunken youngster. He gets up to try and chase the young kid, but trips and winds up falling flat on his face
thereby adding to his shame and embarrassment. Hes even worse off than at the start!
Various aspects can be looked at when this incident is enacted and possibly re-enacted by different students: Who
observed this happening? How did those who observed this respond? Did they do anything? If not, what did they
think? What was going on in the youngsters head? What did he actually do? How did he actually do it? What words
did the asylum seeker use? How did he say them? What will he do next? And so on.
Questions such as these make clear that every detail is meaningful and counts in order to come to a fuller
understanding of the incident. The demonstrators task isnt easy, because s/he has to find a way of showing and
simultaneously narrating from his/her perspective as a witness how the incident happened, what exactly happened,
and what effect it had on those who were involved in it and/or witnessed it. Nevertheless, for the language teacher
and learner it comes as some relief that Brecht emphasizes: The

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demonstrator need not be an artist and need not imitate every aspect of his characters behaviour, but only so
much as gives a picture (Willet, 1994, 122123).
The Broader Intercultural Perspective
A final step in this teaching unit would be to look at the issue of asylum seeking from culturally specific perspectives.
Reverting back to our text extract, this would throw up the question: What experiences have the Swiss had with
asylum seekers/immigrants over the last decades? And, in comparison, lead on to the question: How do the Irish, in
times of an unprecedented economic boom, deal with a rapidly increasing number of asylum seekers coming into the
country?5
At this stage it would seem appropriate to refer to further text and film material from different sources (statistics,
newspaper articles, TV documentaries, etc.). It is likely that this information now can be absorbed better by the
students, because they can link it to the concrete images that evolved during the activities outlined here. These
required that they tap primarily (but not only) their bodily-kinesthetic and linguistic intelligences, but also their
spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences.
I wish to conclude by proposing that my following contention be discussed further in language pedagogy: The more
intelligences come into play and interconnect when dealing with language, literature, or culture-related issues, the
deeper will be the understanding that can be achieved and the more likely it is that foreign language students, as
potential mediators between cultures, will be in a position to take a stand, indeed to take action with regard to these
issues.
Foreign- and second-language education, after all, consists of more than learning how to speak, listen, read, and
write. In Europe, for example, language teaching and learning needs to be seen within the broader context of an
Education for European Citizenshipa central goal of which is to use language in order to get access to
knowledge at social, cultural, administrative and political levels and participate actively in transnational concerns
(Wringe, 1996, 77).
Within a holistic drama concept of teaching and learning a foreign and second language, the two goals can be
achieved: to systematically further the students language skills and to explore and address issues that will, even if in
varying degrees, affect all our lives, be it here in Europe or on a more global scale.
NOTES
1. Note in this context the 12th International Conference for Teachers of German in Lucerne (July/August, 2001),
which devotes a whole section to the discussion and practical

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exploration of how drama/theater can facilitate the teaching and learning of literature in a German as a foreign
language class.
2. In this context, note two headlines in the Irish Times (February 3, 2001, p. 3): Immigrants turned back by ferry
staff ; Prefabs to house asylum seekers.
3. I have given concrete examples in other works of how the conscious employment of the tension factor plays an
important role in the preparation and presentation of drama-pedagogical teaching units in the foreign-language
classroom. One example would be the adaptation of a novel (Schewe & Wilms, 1995; Schewe, 1998a), another
example would be an extended teaching unit on the subject of Youth in Germany, for which a photograph and
a short newspaper report supply the initial trigger (Schewe, 2000).
4. A still image or tableau is a visual representation of a state or action that occurred, occurs, or will occur at a
particular moment. As in a photograph, the people in a still image show specific postures, gestures, and facial
expressions. How this basic drama technique can be gainfully utilized in the language classroom is described in
more detail in Schewe (2000, 8790).
5. When I recently used this material with the group of second-year students whom I referred to in my chapter, it
also happened that Oonagh Kearneys play Urban Angels was being performed in the local university Granary
Theater (January 2327, 2001). It is a new Irish play that, among other things, deals with the life circumstances
of Davor, a young man who had to flee war-stricken Macedonia. It highlights the difficulties he encounters in
Irish society. I saw a welcome opportunity to compare the text extract used in my German class, which
accentuates the plight of a Kurdish carpet weaver looking for asylum in Switzerland, and passages from this new
Irish literary text.
APPENDIX
Task I: For the three performer duos A/B, C/D, E/F and solo performer G:
Read the following paragraph attentively and find answers to the following questions:
Which persons in the text are named? What image do you have of these persons?
What are these persons doing? What direction are they moving in, and how are they moving?
What are they expressing through mime and gesture?
Each person decides on the role s/he is going to play. Rehearse a pantomimic performance that shows as precisely
as possible what is described in the section of text. Act out your scene when asked to by the teacher.
Tip: As part of their production task, each performer receives a text extract. Depending on the previous dramapedagogical experience of the participants, the teacher decides whether the different paragraphs of the text should
be played in accordance with their sequence in the text, or whether this sequence should be broken, as in the
following suggestion: Performer duo A/B (passage 4); performer duo C/D (passage 1); performer duo E/F (passage
2), and Performer G (passage 3).

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Task II: For the shadowing duos A1/B1, C1/D1, E1/F1, and the solo shadower G1:
Observe carefully what the performer duo X/Y are showing in their pantomimic performance:

What movements are the persons making?

What are they showing by gestures and mimicry?


Consider: What is happening in this scene? What sense does it make? Try to imagine what the people in the scene
are saying and thinking! You should not only imitate nonverbally what the performer duo X/Y have shown physically
but also express verbally what they might have said and thought.
Task III: For the rest of the participants, who perform the function of audience/observers:
1. In the first part you will see a play without wordsthat is, pantomime. What does each of the four scenes show?
What are the persons doing? What connection is there between the four scenes?
2. In the second part you will see a repeat of the four scenes. This time the actions will be accompanied by words.
Judge how well the scenes have been re-created by the shadowers (Which details were once again evident?
Which details were not so clear this time? What new details were added in this performance of the scene?) Note
also whether what the persons say is appropriate to their actions.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
My thanks to the Arts Faculty of the National University of Ireland, University College Cork for financial support and
to my colleague Kevin Power for translating passages from German into English.
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Carels, P.E. (1981). Pantomime in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals 14, 407411.
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Kaftan, Jiri. (1998). Bemerkungen eines Lehrers der Pantomime. In F. Vaen, G. Koch, G. Naumann (Eds.):
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Kao, Shin-Mei, & ONeill, Cecily. (1998). Words into worlds. Learning a second language through process drama.
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Papas, William. (1985). Instant Greek. Athens: A. Samouhos.
Reichlin, Linus. (1990). Vom Verstecken eines Gastes. Bern: Zytglogge Verlag.
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6
Coping with Obstacles in Drama-Based ESL Teaching: A Nonverbal Approach
Cameron R. Culham
INTRODUCTION
After several years as an ESL teacher, I became aware of a barrier that, at times, prevented clear communication in
my classes. A particular situation made me realize that misunderstandings arose because we had different
perceptions of one anothers nonverbal language. Not only did I speak a different verbal language from my students,
we also related quite differently in the area of nonverbal communication. I recall very clearly the incident that first
brought this to my attention. I mention it here as it is symbolic of many intercultural misunderstandings that arise in
second-language work.
We gathered as a class at a downtown shopping mall to begin an activity in which the students would take pictures
of local people and buildings. The students did not arrive all at once. The group, as it grew, began spreading out to
the point where local merchants in our meeting area were concerned that we would block access to their shops. I
noticed peoples growing annoyance and I began to feel anxious, no doubt giving off signs of tension to my group.
In an effort to diffuse a potentially difficult situation, I began gesturing to the

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group (a direct pushing motion) to move back and allow a passage way for shoppers. My students paid little
attention to me.
Many of the students I teach come from Japan, Mexico, and other densely populated countries; what I and the
others had perceived to be an overcrowded gathering area was perhaps not so to them. In fact, it was only later
that term, when the group became more articulate, that I discovered that the gesture I had so fixedly been
employing in my efforts to move them back was all the while being misread by them as saying either Stay where
you are or Keep quiet! No matter how animated I became with this gesture that I perceived to signify Move
back, their cultural reading of my sign was telling them a different story. This kind of misunderstanding happens
quite often in the second-language classroom where nonverbal language is a key means of communication.
THE IMPORTANCE OF NONVERBAL LANGUAGE
I have become intrigued by the sorts of dialogues that take place in the silent interactions: the shifts, the glances,
and the nods of the diverse groups of people with whom I have been working so closely these past ten years.
Through my research at the Department of Theatre, I have been studying how drama in ESL (DIESL) might be
helpful in foregrounding this nonverbal aspect of human interrelation. At the same time, I have become aware of
how drama activities enhance language learning and promote intercultural awareness.
This chapter details aspects of my research and cites current findings. An important resource that prompted my
research is the curriculum for the English Language Centre, where I have been teaching for seven years. In the
course objectives, the curriculum requires that students should have an awareness of nonverbal communication
(ELPI Level 410 Curriculum, 2000, p. 7). This goal is one of a wide variety of benchmarks that include such
objectives as the student can begin to use the present perfect (p. 3) and the student is able to instruct others to
do something (p. 22). Whereas most of the benchmarks are easy enough to address, identify, and teach, the
nonverbal curriculum goal has troubled me for some time, and it, too, has played a part in driving my research.
Many current ESL textbooks affirm the importance of nonverbal awareness in the language learning process, yet only
go part way in examining this topic. For example, this question is posed in a chapter entitled Body Language
(Naber, 1998) in a text intended for student use: Can body language sometimes create communication problems for
newcomers? Explain with examples (p. 95). Such a discussion, although important, is difficult to approach without
real-life examples. In my studies, therefore, I have been investigating how drama in ESL might provide a method for
such discovery and discussion.
The art of gesture lies at the very core of human existence and plays a part in every face-to-face human interaction.
Canadian Jean Vanier, founder of

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LArche, a caregiving organization for people with special needs, speaks of the significance of gesture when he
writes:
I have in some small way learned to inhabit my body and to see it not just as a channel for therapy but as a way of
revealing my heart and being in communion with others. . . . This communion demands respectful listening to the
nonverbal language of the other person. In the world of friendship and relationship, gestures normally precede the
word. The word is there to confirm the gesture and give it its signification. (1998, pp. 7879)
Another author who is conscious of the power of the nonverbal in human relating is Tom Harpur (1994):
From something as near-universal as the simple act of shaking hands to the pat of encouragement or congratulation
on the shoulder . . . touch is obviously much more than a meaningless or impotent gesture. It is a means of
communication, an expression of solidarity, a bonding of persons and communities, and a profound visual symbol of
an unseen transmission of healing energy and power . . . an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible
grace. (p. 42)
ELEMENTS OF THE NONVERBAL IN DIESL
Gestures, or manual symbols (McNeill, 1985), are defined as more than physical movements; they are referential
acts [that] convey meaning, depict events, and represent ideas. They specify and often clarify verbal references and
they can denote meanings that may not be in the accompanying words (Bavelas, Chovil, et al., 1992, pp. 470471).
Researchers speak of such terms as mirroring to describe the listeners behavior as he mirror images the
expression of the speaker or motor mimicry as a phenomenon of expression observed by Bavelas, Black, et al.
(1988). Both observations are of particular interest to me as they can be explored through drama activities.
Theater practitioners are aware of the importance of gesture in conveying messages. Peter Brook has been stirring
the intercultural pot in his remarkable theatrical productions since the 1970s, demonstrating how drama holds rich
and promising opportunities for our journeys of understanding. Teachers in intercultural and interlinguistic education
have a great deal to infuse into their work from Brooks developments and others theatrical explorations. Russian
director Vsevolod Meyerhold was an early innovator in intercultural theater. Meyerhold used the nonverbal as a
transformation mediumthat is to say, he used the theatrical style of one culture (for example, Noh theater from
Japan) as a way to open up new meanings for a western European audience. Meyerhold wrote of provoking an
effective reflex in the spectator which is not necessarily conveyed through intellectual channels, but which relies on

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sensorial sensitivity, on kinaesthetics. . . . The essence of human relationships, he reminds us, is determined by
gestures, poses, glances and silences. Words alone cannot say everything (Braun, 1969, p.155).
Finally, in terms of drama in education research, Betty Jane Wagner (1998a) discusses the role of gesture in
language learning:
Our first experiences both before and after birth were centered in our bodies. As a newborn, we knew when we
were hungry, dry, comfortable, held in strong and calm arms. Even then, we were aware of languagenot as a
system that encodes meanings, but as a phenomenon of consummate interest. As an infant, every part of our body
was engaged in making sense of our worldin constructing meaning. Words surrounded us, but they were not a
predominant way of knowing. Before we could talk, we used gestures to communicate. (p. 63)
Wagner (1998a; see also in this book) describes how childrens understanding depends on enactive knowing or
kinesthetic experience. According to Wagner, Dramatic play and drawing are ways children enter imaginatively into
their worlds. In both, they are engaging in symbolism (p. 66). This symbolic play is readily employed by students in
the workshops that will be described in this chapter, and it is as crucial to their explorations in their new language as
it is to children learning their first language (Bolton, 1984; Anning, 1994; Brown, 1994).
THE NONVERBAL DRAMA WORKSHOP
Prior to my graduate studies, I had explored the possibility of introducing drama to the ESL classroom but
experienced only limited success. One of the reasons for my lack of success was that I was inviting the students to
engage primarily in information-sharing activities. Kao and ONeill (1998) explain that many ESL teachers who
attempt drama in their classrooms restrict their efforts to the simplest and least motivating and enriching
approaches, such as asking students to recite prepared scripts for role play. The emphasis has tended to be on the
accuracy of the language . . . rather than on the meaning that is being conveyed (p. 3).
Recent innovations, such as role (or process) drama (see also Liu in this book), offer alternative drama strategies
that have a task orientation. Employing a variety of drama techniques, the participants in a process drama are
collectively telling a story that is shaped in an unfolding and organic way by the participants. Language acquisition,
Kao and ONeill (1998) explain, arises from the urge to do things with words, and this need becomes paramount in
process drama, when participants are required to manipulate the dramatic circumstances to achieve their own goals
(p. 4).
In general, when I lead groups I have not met before, the host teacher is present and, in most cases, takes part. In
this way, that teacher may become

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an advocate for drama strategies. Most often, I teach beginner or intermediate students in these workshops, and the
introductory activities I choose are dependent on their level of language ability. With the upper-level groups, I
usually conduct a short discussion. This takes the language focus away from me and puts it on them as they talk
about their observations. I follow this with a physical warm-up such as Follow the Leader with musical
accompaniment and plenty of group movement. With the beginner-level students, I begin with a simple physical
warm-up activity, and the reflection on how we communicate through gesture follows.
Introduction: A Group Discussion
Running 10 minutes.
time:
Activity: Pair discussion; whole group discussion.
Focus:
To get students thinking about the relevance of the work to their own language learning experience.
Questions:In what ways do people communicate gesturally? and Have you noticed ways that people in Canada
gesture differently from people in your country?
Activity 1: Group Warm-up
Running time:
10 minutes.
Activity:
Follow the Leader; whole group.
Focus:
To introduce physical work to help make students comfortable with one another.
Questions:
What sorts of things do we have to think about when we lead?
Activity 2: Physical Name Game
Running 15 minutes.
time:
Activity: Standing as a group in a circle, one person introduces him/herself and adds one action that describes
him/herself. Everyone repeats that action and name.
Focus: To give them words with which they are familiar (their names) and invite them to add a movement that
helps them to remember classmates. To have students play physically with familiar language and at the
same time provide an ice-breaker that helps them learn each others names.
Question:What sorts of things have we learned about each other?
Activity 3: Passing the Claps
Running
15 minutes.
time:
Activity:
A clap is passed sequentially around the circle; the clap is then passed between A and B who must now
clap together,

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then B and C clap together, and so on around the circle. Once a rhythm is established, extra claps can be
introduced by the leader.
Focus: To work on group rhythm and establish eye contact with classmates.
Question:In what ways did you communicate to your partner that you were making a connection? and What were
some of the difficulties you had with this game?
Activity 4: Circle Cross
Running 12 minutes.
time:
Activity: Students are still in a circle and must negotiate by eye contact only their exchange of places. Only one
pair of students may exchange places at any given time.
Focus:
To encourage participants to take a risk using only nonverbal communication.
Questions:What sorts of risks were involved in your deciding to make a move? and Can you think of some reasons
that prevent us from going?
Activity 5: What are you doing?
Running 15 minutes.
time:
Activity: Person steps into the middle of circle and mimes an action. Whole group supports that player by mirroring
his/her action. When students in circle have discovered the name for that action, they turn to a neighbor
and name it. Person miming action says the action out loud, which is the cue for another student to step in
and quickly begin to mime a new action. Game continues until all have taken a turn in the middle.
Focus: Students develop improvisational skills and learn to listen and react in a spontaneous way. New vocabulary
is given a context.
Question:How is this game similar to learning a language?
Activity 6: Group Mirrors
Running 15 minutes.
time:
Activity: First the students work in pairs mirroring each other. A leads and B follows. Reverse. Next the whole group
is in a circle mirroring together. A classmate leaves the room, and the circle selects a leader and begins
mirroring. The classmate returns to guess the leader. Repeat.
Focus: Connecting and helping a disparate group of students engage with each other safely, while freeing them to
interact physically.

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Questions:When was it easy to tell who we were following and when was it more difficult? and What kinds of
clues helped you to discover the leader?
Although these activities are primarily nonverbal, the instructions introduce students to new words and the reflective
questions provide expanded language opportunities for the participants (Morgan & Saxton, 1991). The importance of
establishing shared experiences through the reflective questions and subsequent storytelling allows the focus to be
on making meaning (Kao & ONeill,1998, p. 3). For example, in activity 2 the actions students choose to share often
provide a glimpse into their cultures, personalities, and interests. In one class alone we discovered, in this activity, a
Thai dance step, Tae Kwon Do techniques, and how fishing in Japan is different from that in Canada.
Clown Workshop, Part One
I have invited several guests into my classroom to work with my students in the theatrical frame: mask makers,
puppeteers, and actors from plays we have seen. The guest who elicited the most enthusiastic response was one
who said few words at all, yet managed to engage the group thoroughly. Shannan Calcutts award winning onewoman show Burnt Tongue was performed at the Phoenix Theatre at the University of Victoria (October 1999). My
ESL students attended her performance, then she came into our classroom the following day, with a workshop
lasting an hour and a half.
Physicality is key to working in the role of a clown. Since the 1980s, ESL educators have been actively aware of the
importance of movement for language acquisition. Ashers Total Physical Response theory (TPR), for example,
examines physical aspects of language learning and how ESL students can develop language without engaging in
oral practice (Lightbown & Spada, 1993). Drama educators have always been conscious of the role physicality has on
learners. Not only do expression and gesture help to fill out the words we are saying but they often express
thoughts and feelings of which we may not be aware (Morgan & Saxton, 2000, p. 10). Contemporary research
supports the claim that students can learn to develop their kinesthetic intelligence (Gardner, 1983). The latest brain
research, Brown and Pleydell (1999) remind us, presents strong evidence that movement (lots of it) plays an
essential role in thinking, learning, and sensory integration. A young child is most likely to recall a new word,
concept, or sequence of information when movement has been part of the learning experience. ESL students can, in
the same way, maximize their learning through movement.
Activity 1: Jacques a dit (a variation of Simon Says)
Running
10 minutes.
time:
Activity:
Students move about while leader provides rhythm by shaking a tambourine. While moving, students are
invited to do

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an action. They are instructed not to partake if the action is not preceded by the words Jacques a dit. If
students made a mistake, they are gently tapped with a stick and they sit down.
Focus:To get the students loosened up through movement, to explore the concept of impulse, and to build
vocabulary (reach for the sky, etc.).
Activity 2: Emotional Range
Running 15 minutes.
time:
Activity: Leader writes an emotion on the board, then has the class add many more. Students are invited, through
movement, to explore all together, and in their own time, the different levels of intensity of each listed
emotion.
Focus: Students observe one another and interact as a group, without being in performance mode. Together they
explore how emotion is physicalized, how emotion shifts physical interpretation, and they explore the
meaning of words used to express emotions. Students can relate to the emotions, body language, and
expression, all representing a sort of international language.
Activity 3: Crossing the Stage
Running 15 minutes.
time:
Activity: Students are invited to walk, one at a time, across the room, having decided in advance what emotion and
what intensity to convey. Audience responds by saying the feeling words that the performance generates.
Focus: A gentle introduction to performance and risk-taking, with an opportunity to comment through feedback and
learn to describe and interpret physical gestures in the target language.
Activity 4: Clown Turns
Running 3 minutes each.
time:
Activity: One student is invited to go in front of the group, and he/she puts on the clown nose and a hat of his/her
choice and enters. The student is asked to establish contact with each member of the audience in an
honest way. Then, as he/she leaves, to look back at the group once more.
Focus: Both audience and performer are expected to commit to the interaction and support one another in order to
expand the possibilities for communication. The goal is to create a meaningful conversation without using
any words at all.

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The clown workshop sets up a safe environment, allowing students to take risks in front of others. At the same time,
it demands support from classmates. Although there was minimal reflection, these activities generated new language
that was noticeable in later classes. The observation of the workshop leader:
The amazing thing for me is how the language limits [the ESL students], and in clown, we no longer needed the
language. They said so much without using words at all. In fact, the entire room seemed to shift focus. In clown,
immediately, they understood, it wasnt work anymore, they were connected, all part of the same world. (Calcutt,
1999)
Clown Workshop, Part Two
A year later I accompanied Shannan on her visit to another ESL class in our program, one led by a colleague. This
group, like mine the year before, was limited in terms of verbal language competence. They were, as their teacher
described them, an extraordinarily outgoing group, full of imagination and experience, and, like the earlier class,
they represented a variety of nationalities: Turkish, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, and Mexican. For the teacher, it
was important that her students saw the benefit of the workshop on their language acquisition process. For the first
ten minutes, we talked about acting as an expression of feelings, about taking risks when an impulse was felt, and
how the clowns goal is to take this impulse to the extreme. We reminded the students that this work was about
observing body language in ourselves and others. Unlike the previous workshop, my role this time was as an
observer.
Our objectives for this workshop were the same as for the last: to use clown techniques to explore the physicality of
language (Morgan & Saxton, 2000) and to help students converse on an empathic or feeling level (Wagner, 1998b;
Arnold, 1999) where social learning is seen to be concurrent with language learning. Through the introduction of
simple drama/clown techniques, we were hoping to draw the attention of the students to the nonverbal ways in
which they convey a great amount of meaning. Morgan and Saxton (2000) remind us that about 80 percent of
meaning in our communications is paralinguisticconveyed by such things as tone, pitch, pace, emphasis and body
languagefacial expression, gesture, body stance and movement (p. 8).
In this second workshop, it was interesting but not surprising to see that, from the outset, the students had
arranged themselves by ethnic group. This is often the case with groups at the start of the work, and it is, in fact, a
primary reason for getting them moving, circulating, and interacting, actions that serve to break through those ethnic
barriers. The activities not only stressed the importance of the clown being committed to the work but reminded us

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that as audience members we needed to return that attention. This raised the stakes for the student performing in
clown and for those observing.
As the activities progressed, Shannan made noticeable efforts to hold the students to their end of the bargain: to
support their classmates in role. For example, when one of the students in the clown mask made an effort to look
at another but this was not honored by the recipient, Shannan firmly reminded the student audience of their
responsibility. She was equally demanding of the student in role as clown: that he/she be honest and committed to
the interchange. This was to create a tension that fueled the interactions and held the interest. It was interesting to
observe how the pressure of the theatrical rules held their attention.
The gentle tapping of Jacques a dit allowed Shannan to establish her role as director for the work that was to
come. To be asked to do something over again, she assured the students, would not be perceived as failure. The
Emotional Range activity reinforced this valuing of varying levels of success; students learn to trust their work and
subsequently commit to it more readily. I also noticed that in Emotional Range students are sharing something
every culture understandsthat is to say, the universality of feeling.
The final exercise, Clown Turns, was the most challenging. It provided the opportunity for students to have a
deeper and longer nonverbal interchange. The demanding attention to both the message given and its reception
gave the work the seriousness it needed. Two instructions from Shannan that seemed to aid the students were Do
not do, just be . . . do not act! and The mask is not to hide behind but to reveal yourself through.
Two examples of this work: Jos from Latin America, and Grace a Korean woman (names are pseudonyms in the
interest of confidentiality), took part in the Clown Turns activity. There was a palpable tension among those of us
seated on the floor as Jos prepared backstage. A reliable framework for the task was securely in place, and this
seemed to reassure the participants on both sides. When Jos appeared, wearing a hat and the red nose, he looked
completely different, and our students reacted with audible surprise. How he had been transported! Instantly a hush
fell on the whole room, and I had the sense that this reaction surprised him. Shannan insisted on his looking at her
(she was the only one to speak) and once she could see his commitment, she invited him to begin his turns. Jos
made a deep connection with each of his classmates. With some he laughed, and with others his expression became
serious. For the most part, the students were as engaged as he. One student shied away from his gaze, and
Shannan reminded everyone of the rules, which heightened the tension even more. When Jos left the stage area, a
sigh of relief was breathed by the group, followed by laughter. It was as if they had been holding their collective
breath throughout. When Jos reentered out of role, Shannan immediately went up to him and they embraced, a
natural reaction to the intensity of his contribution. Her hug spoke for us all. For some time afterwards, the
students responded to the

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experience by talking about what had taken place in pairs, and then in the wider group. This pair talk (in English)
allows students to debrief and to test out their vocabulary before committing themselves to speaking in the public
forum. The importance of a certain amount of side chat is a key technique to the development of individual
confidence.
Grace was outgoing and had entertained the group by her antics in the previous exercise. However, Shannan did not
allow her to resort to clich acting even for an instant. From the moment Grace appeared, we could all sense her
discomfort in her role. Shannan held her stare for a much longer period of time than she had with Jos. Grace was
overly concerned with making all of us laugh. I sensed that the groups refusal to join in meant that they had come
to expect a deeper connection, like the one they had just experienced with Jos. Then, in an almost magical
moment, Grace allowed herself a true expression, and there was no turning back. This time the group sigh
happened with the actor facing us. People sensed that Grace was having difficulty holding the role, and so they
supported her by giving her serious looks in return. By the time she had gone around the circle, a conversation of a
completely different sort had transpired. It had shifted to a meaningful and deeper level, free of clich. Again, when
Grace returned, Shannan embraced her.
In a post-workshop interview, Shannan explained, The goal is not to make the audience laugh, which, of course, is
the immediate thought when putting on a clown nose and standing in front of people. When Grace got past the
show, she was completely beautiful to watch. The audience feels what the clown is feeling. We want to see the
clowns struggle, see the clown thinking on the outside, sharing her feelings of inadequacy. Its a two-way mirror
there is no fourth wall; we are engaged in the same world (Calcutt, 2001). Grace was able to use her English to
articulate how difficult the experience had been, and yet how satisfied she was with her achievement. Powerful
emotional experiences often release a competency in English of which neither the teacher nor the student has been
previously aware. It is the need to talk about what has happened that gives students the capacity to find the words.
These approaches to ESL teaching through silent drama are significant. Kao and ONeill (1998) speak of entry level
ESL students and the importance of accessing their nonverbal language in drama work. Beginning level L2 (second
language) learners, the authors note, have very limited proficiency, and thus verbal communication is almost
impossible in drama . . . linguistic items presented to the learners prior to the drama and an emphasis on nonverbal
responses in the activities, become very important (p.127). My investigation into nonverbal communication,
paradoxical as that may seem for a language teacher, has provided me with new possibilities for the problems that I
have encountered in working with adult students in DIESL (Drama in English as a Second Language).

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GENERAL PROBLEMS WITH USING DRAMA IN ESL
I have identified a number of principal problems encountered when using drama in language learning. I base these
conclusions on my experience as well as that of my colleagues, and from my own experiences as a language learner.
The first problem is that classes typically have a diverse blend of cultures and language groups. Students come from
Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, and Brazil and often are all together in a class.
Hall (1982) notes the diversities of comfort levels in different cultures with regard to areas such as spatial
awareness, privacy, social status, and utterance. ESL teacher interviews confirm that students from certain cultures
may interact in a demonstrative manner, whereas others have a tendency to internalize. Creating a balance when
faced with such a potpourri of cultural diversities is no small undertaking and often a cause for concern for those
who teach in the ESL environment.
Secondly, the students are adults who bring a diversity of experiences with them; many are already graduates of
postsecondary programs in their own countries, and many are on temporary professional development leave from
careers. Therefore, in my classroom, there exists considerable life experience, and this creates a certain imbalance in
many activities that we do. Some are comfortable with an interactive approach, others not at all. It has been my
experience that such cultural and biographical diversity, rich as it can be, at times creates a certain degree of
tension in the ESL classroom.
The third problem is that with such sophisticated backgrounds, students are not always readily tolerant of what they
initially perceive to be childs play. Problem four is that many of my students come from education systems where
arts in the classroom have little place, and this adds to the difficulties. It is my understanding that although students
have often been audience to performances, they have rarely been creators of them. The fifth problem is that
students from many of our cultural groups see theater as something that is done only by professionals and they do
not see how they can acquire (or already possess) such skills. A sixth problem is that drama is too often seen by my
students as frill, something to do after class or with the few remaining moments in class, rather than as a valid
learning event that can be introduced at the core of the work. As a result of these perceptions, students initial work
in drama is often superficial and clichd.
The penultimate problem I identify here concerns performance expectations. When inviting students to work in our
art form in the ESL classroom, the perception on their part is that doing theater or drama means creating a
performance and being onstage. The mere thought of such a requirement can send shudders down student spines!
The inevitable tension that ensues can destroy any quality in the students work. I have found that with lower-level
learners in particular, creativity can be choked once the work becomes

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performance-driven. With the correct approach, there is undoubtedly a place for theater with advanced ESL groups.
In fact, my colleague Jane Leavitt successfully demonstrated this in her graduate work where her research (1997)
shows the linguistic merits to be found in presenting plays: memorization, group work, pronunciation, and cultural
awareness, to name a few. However, my research focus has a process orientation for the less accomplished English
language speaker.
Lastly, our students are generally more comfortable with teacher-driven classes because of their own education
experiences prior to arriving at our language school. Of course, drama negates this approach. In fact it lies at the
very heart of classroom drama that the teacher becomes cocreator with his/her students. Arriving in an already
foreign learning environment, our students are initially reluctant to become engaged when invited to do so. This final
problem is common for many ESL teachers who attempt to teach with a communicative methodology. In ESL
pedagogy in recent years there has been a documented shift toward both affective learning and communicative
strategies because the evidence shows teacher-driven teaching methodology to be much less effective (Nunan &
Richards, 1990). Nevertheless, the students ingrained behavior and learning styles from their first language culture
are firmly set. My interviews show that to almost all these students, the teacher-dominated language classroom
still feels the most comfortable.
Just as teacher-driven methodologies in ESL can have limited success, so too is drama teaching that is teachercentered equally unsuccessful. Kao and ONeill (1998) point out that the kind of teaching where the teacher instructs
and watches the students do (such as the restaurant menu/waiter scene that ESL teachers know all too well),
prevents learners from actively participating in the classroom conversation (p. 109). In essence, there is nothing
there that comes from the students themselves. When the work is student-centered, the difference is clear. This was
certainly the case in Shannans workshops. Perhaps the reactions to the work is best summed up in the words of a
Taiwanese student: I could not always understand but I could read the body and I understand (Student journal,
1999).
ESL teachers I have been interviewing share the students enthusiasm, saying that they feel closer to their students
when engaged with them in the dramatic frame. They appreciate the openness and caring such an awareness brings
to their classes. The host teacher for Shannans workshop noted that the workshop went far deeper than she had
expected it to go. She commented on how this work gave her the opportunity to see her students differently,
allowing them to cross cultural lines and connect emotionally. This particular teacher also commented on the spirit of
trust that this workshop helped build in her classroom. She observed that you need human competence and
sensitivity to work this way because classroom safety is the most important issue.

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BENEFITS OF DIESL
My research has helped me to identify a number of ways that nonverbal drama activities may benefit the ESL
classroom (though this is by no means an exhaustive list), and the reader may see these as a viable way of
addressing the problems I have previously discussed.
1. Students are able to express themselves in ways other than through words. When words do not come easily,
nonverbal opportunities allow students to reveal themselves and learn about others in more direct and intuitive
ways. The sign (gesture or facial expression or posture) is often less abstract than the word.
2. Teachers are also able to use nonverbal cues to demonstrate caring and concern for students in a way that
language does not.
3. Nonverbal activities provide an excellent means of releasing the stress of language learning. The atmosphere of
play prevails, and yet important learning is going on (Bolton, 1984).
4. Students, often hesitant to speak out, can become confident when the language expectation is removed. They
will take an initial step (in its most literal sense) more readily than they will utter an initial word.
5. Total Physical Response, an established tool in ESL methodology, is enhanced through drama activities. The
body is as much a part of thinking as is the mind, and nonverbal activities force everyone, teacher included, to
listen in a different way. All become more astute readers of sign and readers of the body (Morgan & Saxton,
2000).
6. Power dynamics shift in all drama work as the teacher becomes a participant alongside the students. This shift
enables teachers to be seen in ways that mitigate the sense of authority that can intimidate students. As well,
students can reveal expertise previously hidden by verbal (or sometimes cultural) domination of other less
inhibited members of the class.
7. Nonverbal drama activities transfer directly to verbal ones, and subsequent verbal interchanges are triggered by
these nonverbal activities. ESL teachers need to be reminded that all words begin as impulses that are stimulated
by attitudes and feelings that demand to be expressed (Brook, 1968).
Current ESL research points to the benefit of creating a communicative learning environment for students, one in
which all aspects of language are experienced (Nunan, 1999). Lightbown and Spada (1993) describe Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT) as:
based on the premise that successful language learning involves not only a knowledge of the structures and forms of
a language, but also the functions and

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purposes that a language serves in different communicative settings. This approach to teaching emphasizes the
communication of meaning over the practice and manipulation of grammatical forms. (pp. 119120)
Drama is by nature social, communicative, interactive, and gestural. Ongoing educational research demonstrates that
ours is a world of multiple perspectives (Wagner, 1998a), and drama in ESL allows for an examination of those
diverse perspectives. As educators, we need to concern ourselves with building nurturing learning environments for
our students, always mindful that language mastery involves more than learning a series of words or grammar
functions.
My research illustrates how students are able to learn about one another through interactive drama activities. A
natural curiosity exists with any group newly formed, but this is heightened in the globally diverse groups described
here. Once a spark of interest is ignited by introducing activities like the ones described in the workshops, a genuine
caring begins to emerge in the class, a concern for one another and a desire for deeper connecting. Nonverbal
activities allow for this exploration in an accessible, unthreatening, and uncomplicated way. They make visible the
invisible, in the words of the great mime, Marcel Marceau (1998). As a natural progression, the shared explorative
environment leads to increased language use. It is not as contradictory as it may first appear to suggest that, in
order to arrive at language proficiency, ESL teachers should consider the other dimensions of language that surround
all spoken text, especially when the dramatic process can address such a broad range of learning styles.
When sharing this work with teachers of ESL, I often sense that although they enjoy drama activities and see their
value as group ice breakers, they question the benefits of the activities in terms of language enhancement or
enrichment. As well, many say they are lacking in the flair it takes to carry these off effectively, dismissing
themselves as just not dramatic enough. These are certainly viable concerns, and they are also, not surprisingly,
expressed initially by the students. Teachers and ESL students clearly value activities that have strong and clear
language outcomes. As an ESL teacher myself, I certainly appreciate the priority we give to explicit language
learning, but I also see its limitations when practiced exclusively. I have shown here that language involves much
more than verbal mastery. As ESL programs are becoming more communicative in nature, as our pedagogy is
shifting its focus, drama offers new opportunities for learning.
In the same way that Wagner (1998a) found her students to be more inspired to write once they had been engaged
in the dramatic frame, so my students are keen to discuss what they have experienced and they are rarely at a loss
for words. Although they often do not speak when directly involved in the activities, they certainly speak
enthusiastically in the reflection time. Day (1990) points to the importance of student motivation in language
learning, Coping with Obstacles in Drama-Based ESL Teaching 109

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stating that among the most widely discussed topics in second language learning is the role of motivation in the
successful acquisition of the target language (Day, 1990, p. 53). Not only are students self-motivated through
drama work, but the social climate of the class is warmed significantly by their involvement with one another, and
bridges are built for future exercises and classwork.
A further research project could be to compare a drama ESL class with a non-drama ESL class to determine which
communicates more freely and develops a more supportive and communicative classroom environment. In his Hope
is Vital project, Michael Rohd (1998) describes such an environment as a safe space, a working environment
where participants feel comfortable playing and honestly sharing their thoughts and feelings (p. 5). It has been my
experience that when students no longer feel pressured to speak the language and when the focus is placed on
nonverbal relating rather than on sentence mastery, an environment of safety and trust is created. A universal
feature of all of the Arts is that mistakes are readily accepted (and expected) as an essential part of the creative
process. The culturally imposed expectation to always be right is lifted and the mood lightens noticeably. With the
fear of failure gone, the brain naturally absorbs more efficiently (Hart, 1983). Consequently, the language that is
generated comes from the students desire to speak rather than the requirement to do so.
Psychologist Herbert Clark (cited in Bruner, 1990) employs the term folk psychology to describe the examination of
all that is public and communal in human interaction, a process that he equates with being performers in a play.
When we enter human life, it is as if we walk onstage into a play whose enactment is already in progressa play
whose somewhat open plot determines what parts we may play and toward what dnouements we may be heading.
Others on stage already have a sense of what the play is about, enough of a sense to make negotiation with a
newcomer possible. (pp. 3334)
In a sense, our ESL students are newcomers who have all stepped onto that stage together. As their teachers, we
already have a sense of what the play is about. It is our responsibility to make the negotiations and the
conversations possible.
REFERENCES
Anning, Anne. (1994). Play and the legislated curriculum. In J. Moyles (Ed.), The excellence of play (pp. 6775).
Buckingham: Open University Press.
Arnold, Jane. (1999). Affect in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University.
Bavelas, Janet B., A. Black, N. Chovil, C.R. Lemery, & J. Mullett (1988). Form and function in motor mimicry:
Topographic evidence that the primary function is communicative. Human Communication Research 14, 275299.

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Bavelas, Janet B., N. Chovil, D.A. Lawrie, & A. Wade. (1992). Interactive gestures. Discourse Processes 15, 469489.
Bolton, Gavin. (1984). Drama as education. London: Longman.
Bolton, Gavin. (1992). New perspectives on classroom drama. London: Simon & Schuster.
Braun, Edward. (1969). Meyerhold on theatre. London: Methuen.
Brook, Peter. (1968). The empty space. London: Penguin Books.
Brown, Donald. (1994). Play, the playground and the culture of childhood. In J. Moyles (Ed.), The Excellence of play
(pp. 4964). Buckingham: Open University Press.
Brown, Victoria, & Sarah Pleydell. (1999). The dramatic difference. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Bruner, Jerome. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Calcutt, Shannan. (1999). E-mail interview.
Calcutt, Shannan. (2001). E-mail interview.
Clark, Herbert H. (1977). Psychology and language. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
Day, Richard R. (1990). Teacher observation in second language teacher education. In David Nunan and Jack
Richards (Eds.), Second language teacher education (pp.4361). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Gardner, Howard (1983). Multiple Intelligences: The theory into practice. New York: Basic Books.
Hall, Edward T. (1982). Beyond culture. New York: Anchor Books.
Hall, Edward T. (1966). The hidden dimension . New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc.
Hall, Edward T. (1973). The silent language. New York: Anchor Books.
Harpur, Tom. (1994). The Uncommon touch: An investigation of spiritual healing. Toronto: McLelland & Stewart Inc.
Hart, Leslie. (1983). Human brain and human learning. White Plains: Longmann Inc.
Kao, Shin-Mei, & Cecily ONeill. (1998). Words into Worlds: Learning a Second Language through Process Drama.
Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Knapp, Mark L., & Judith A. Hall. (1997). Nonverbal communication in human interaction, 4th ed. Fort Worth:
Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
Leavitt, Catherine J. (1997). Second language acquisition in cultural understanding through theatrical metaphor.
Unpublished masters thesis, University of Victoria.
Lightbown, Patsy, & Nina Spada. (1993). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Little, Graham. (1982). Language Analysis Handbook. Hobart: Education Department of Tasmania.
Marceau, Marcel. (1998). Introductory Lecture at the University of Victoria. May 1998.
McNeill, D. (1985). So you think gestures are nonverbal? Psychological Bulletin, 92, 350371.
Morgan, Norah, and Juliana Saxton. (2000). 1998 ODEE Keynote Address: Influences around the word. In Drama
Matters 4 (720). Columbus: The Ohio Drama Education Exchange.
Morgan, Norah, & Juliana Saxton. (1991). Asking better questions: Models, techniques and classroom activities for
engaging students in learning. Markham, ON: Pembroke Publishers.
Naber, Vra Tophil. (1998). Lets talk, lets listen. Scarborough, ON: International Thomson Publishing Company
(ITP Nelson).
Nunan, David. (1999). Second language teaching and learning. Boston: Heinle and Heinle Publishers.

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Nunan, David, & Jack C. Richards (Eds.). (1990). Second language teacher education. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge
University Press.
Parsons, Beth, Megan Schaffner, & Graham Little. (1984). NADIE Papers No. 1: Drama, language and learning.
Sydney: National Association for Drama in Education (Australia).
Rohd, Michael. (1998). Theatre for community, conflict and dialogue: The hope is vital training manual. Portsmouth,
NH: Heinemann.
University of Victoria. English Language Centre ELPI Curriculum (level 410). 2000.
Vanier, Jean. (1998). Becoming human. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, Ltd.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1998a). Drama as a way of knowing. In Carole Miller & Juliana Saxton (Eds.), The research of
practice, the practice of research (pp. 5772). Brisbane: IDEA Publications.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1998b). Educational drama and language arts: What research shows. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann.

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7
Video Recording and Playback Equipment
Timothy Collins
Many exciting technologies, such as computers, DVD players, and video recording and playback equipment, have
become more widely available to language teachers in recent years. These technologies offer tremendous benefits to
language learners and teachers. Teachers can use these technologies for purposes such as providing access to
authentic material and native speaker models, providing visual reinforcement, and offering learners immediate
feedback. Video recording and playback equipment, in particular, let teachers and students do many activities that in
the past were difficult, if not impossible, such as watching movies on videotape, viewing programs taped off the air,
and taping the students performing in their new language. Yet using this technology effectively presents many
challenges to both learners and teachers. It requires planning, involves hard work, and demands new skills from
both teachers and students. As a result, teachers wonder whether the benefits are worth the extra effort. This
chapter reports on one of the authors successful experiences using video recording and playback equipment in a
beginning college Spanish class at a major university in the midwestern United States.

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As teacher of this class, I used a video camera to record and play back role-plays my students prepared and acted
out. The students and I agreed that the project was very beneficial, both in improving their Spanish skills and in
increasing their motivation to continue learning the new language. The students gained self-confidence, developed
teamwork skills, and had fun. In this chapter, I first detail the steps I followed with my class. I then discuss the
benefits of the project, including the positive impact it had on my learners and my own views of teaching and
learning a new language. Third, I give suggestions on how teachers can set up successful projects of their own.
Finally, I discuss ways that using the medium of television transformed the drama techniques I employed with my
students.
THE SETTING
My class was one section of Spanish 101, the first of a sequence of four Spanish courses designed to satisfy the
universitys foreign language requirement. Though students had no choice but to study a foreign language, they had
the option to select a particular language. Students had numerous options, including French, Italian, Portuguese,
German, Russian, Arabic, modern and ancient Greek, Polish, and several others, in addition to Spanish. As is the
case at most U.S. colleges and universities, Spanish was the most common choice. When asked to explain their
choice of Spanish, learners usually said that they selected it because they anticipated using it in the future when
traveling outside the United States. The students also commonly stated that they chose Spanish because they
believed that Spanish was easier to learn than other languages. The students approached the course with mixed
feelings. Most students admitted that they would not take Spanish if it were not a foreign language requirement.
Nevertheless, many students were motivated to get good grades for reasons such as maintaining financial aid,
getting into a graduate school, or achieving personal goals.
I was one of nearly twenty teaching assistants teaching Spanish 101 that semester. The departments director of
lower-division courses oversaw the course. Each TA used the same book, Habla Espaol? (Allen et al., 1981),
followed the same syllabus, and gave the same exams. In this course, each TA was responsible for creating and
giving eight to ten quizzes. The textbook and the class followed a grammar-based syllabus, and the book included
activities for listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and numerous grammar exercises.
THE PROJECT
I chose to have my section of Spanish 101 do a video project for several reasons. First, I wanted to enliven my class
and provide some variety for the learners. Creating scripts and acting them out before a TV camera would be a real
change of pace from the usual routine of my classroom. In addition, I

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wanted to give them the opportunity to see themselves using Spanish in order to gain a sense that they could use
Spanish successfully. Nevertheless, I did not want the project to stray too far from the materials in the textbook that
learners would be tested on. Therefore, I chose to have learners work from one of the dialogues in the textbook. To
meet students expressed desire to develop language skills that would be useful while traveling, I tried to choose a
dialogue that would allow for the development of social language students might use when in an Hispanic country. I
also tried to select a dialogue that would allow the students to expand their knowledge of Hispanic culture.
In the dialogue I finally selected, two female American college students explore the Ramblas of Barcelona (a wide
pedestrian boulevard with many cafs, pet shops, and news stands) with a Spanish friend who is showing them
around the city. At the caf, they drink sangra, hear a tuna (a group of strolling madrigal singers), and have an
encounter with another Spanish male, Omar. Omar is fascinated by women and cannot stop himself from saying
piropos, a kind of flirtatious sexual compliment some Hispanic men direct toward women. (An example of a common
piropo is a man saying the word guapa [beautiful] to a woman he perceives as attractive as they pass in the
street.)
Preparation
To get started on the project, I approached the director of lower-division courses to gain her approval. I explained
the advantages of the project and told her that I expected to divide the class into three groups and have each group
prepare a role-play on one of these topics: what happened before the dialogue in the book, an expanded version of
the dialogue in the book, and what happened after the dialogue in the book. My supervisor stated that I had to get
the agreement of my class, that students could not use class time preparing for the project, and that the activity
could not interfere with completing any material in the syllabus. She agreed that I could count the activity as four
quiz grades, in order that the students be rewarded appropriately for their hard work on the project.
To gain my classs agreement, I presented an overview of the project and informed the class that rehearsals and all
other preparations had to take place outside of class and indicated that the project would count as four quiz grades.
I also let them know that the activity was not a requirement, and the decision to complete it was contingent upon
their unanimous agreement to participate. I allowed the students to discuss the project among themselves, and in a
few days, the students informed me that they had agreed that they would do the project. They said that the project
appealed to them because it offered a change from our normal activities. They also said the video project sounded
like an effective way to improve their grades because they believed that they could earn higher grades on the
project than on the quizzes.
Once I had the students agreement, I prepared an assignment sheet. A copy of the assignment sheet is in Appendix
A. The assignment sheet lists the roles

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for group members (director, scriptwriters, actors, and actresses) and gives due dates for scripts, rehearsals, and
meetings with me. The teams had to assign themselves roles and then prepare three written products in Spanish: a
script treatment (a brief prose plot summary) and first and final drafts of the script. I used the treatments to make
sure that the completed scripts would make sense individually and within the larger group. I had students meet with
me twice to discuss scripts, hold two rehearsals, complete a report form after each rehearsal, and hold a dress
rehearsal with me. A copy of the rehearsal report form is in Appendix A.
The students completed scripts expanded on the original dialogue in imaginative ways. The first groups script
dramatized what happened as the first three characters in the dialogue walked down the Ramblas to the caf. The
Spaniard explained the Ramblas to the Americans as the visitors listened and asked questions. The friends chatted,
visited one of the open-air pet shops, and picked out a caf. The second groups script focused on the characters
conversation in the caf. The script expanded the dialogue in the textbook, particularly the part of the flirtatious
Spaniard and one of the American females. In my students version, this young woman responded more positively to
Omars overtures than in the original: When her more demure compatriot warned that Omar is a Don Juan, the
more brazen female responded, Im a Doa Juana. This group also included musical sound effects, replacing the
original versions madrigal singers with a flamenco guitarist, added a part for a waiter, and included details on
ordering and paying. The final group concluded the encounter with information on how the females finally rebuffed
Omar, returned to their car, and made plans for meeting the next day.
The students completed dialogues contained a lot of valuable cultural information not part of the original, such as
detail on the Ramblas, Spanish music, the social meaning of piropos in Hispanic culture, culturally appropriate ways
of responding to piropos , ordering and paying in a caf, greetings, and leave-takings. The second groups decision to
have one of the characters respond more positively to Omars flirtation was particularly interesting, because it gave
the students an opportunity to reflect on different ways one might behave when trying to get to know a person from
a different culture and to evaluate their own values. (The students version of the dialogue was also certainly an
example of students using the Spanish they knew creatively in order to achieve their own intents and purposes!)
The Taping
Because of all the preparation, the taping went smoothly. The recording session took place in a special classroom
large enough to accommodate my class and the television equipment and lasted an entire fifty-minute class period.
We had a single camera mounted on a rolling tripod and two monitors,

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one for the director and one for students to see themselves. I acted as director; a student operated the camera. The
students all knew their parts, had all the props and sound effects they needed, and acted their parts with aplomb.
Students had to watch each group tape its role-play and applauded vigorously after each groups performance. One
female student felt nervous because she was afraid she would not perform well in Spanish, and students in her and
the other groups gave her a lot of encouragement at the taping.
The Follow-Up
The follow-up consisted of two parts. First the class viewed the tape, and then we discussed it. I used a list of
questions to guide the discussion. Then students completed an evaluation form as homework. This form asked
learners to summarize the aspects of their individual and group performances that were best and those that needed
improvement. A copy of the discussion questions and the self-evaluation form are in Appendix B.
I scheduled the playback and discussion for the day following the taping. Though I usually conducted the class in
Spanish, I chose to have the discussion in English so that students could express themselves fully. The students
were clearly agitated about seeing themselves on TV. One male student made a mask out of a large paper grocery
bag and put it over his head at the start of class. The female student who felt nervous about the taping appeared
mortified at the idea of seeing herself on television. To calm the students, I decided to abandon my original plan of
viewing the tape right away, and instead began class with a discussion of their feelings about making the tape. I
reassured the students by saying that I had seen all of the role-plays as the students performed them and that I
thought they were very good. I also reminded the class that they had rehearsed their role-plays extensively, and
asked them to reflect on whether they thought that students in the other groups had performed well. The students
all agreed that the performances they had seen the day before were quite good, thus reassuring one another and
themselves that they all had no reason to feel embarrassed about their work and making themselves feel more
secure about viewing the tape. We then watched the role-plays and discussed each one using the questions in
Appendix B to guide the discussion. The discussion questions focused on students language skills, their knowledge
of Hispanic culture, and the value of rehearsal in language acquisition. Then we watched all three role-plays again
without pausing, and we talked more. I last distributed the self-evaluation form for the class to complete as
homework. Several themes emerged from the students comments in the discussion and on the evaluation forms.
Students agreed that their language skills had improved. All the students remarked that they felt surprised about
how comfortable they looked speaking Spanish on the tape. They and I noted that they spoke fluently

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and without pauses. In the class sessions after the taping, I noted that the gains in fluency continued. Students
felt more confident about their ability to use Spanish, so they spoke up more willingly in class. Because they felt
less anxious, they performed better, speaking with more ease and expressiveness. The students also learned a lot
of important social language, language that would be key to having social encounters in an Hispanic country. In
general, this activity represented a real breakthrough for the students because previously they had considered
Spanish as a struggle, an academic requirement that had few tangible results. For many of them, the most
significant result of this activity was the realization that success in learning their new language was within their
reach.
Students learned about Hispanic culture. To write their scripts, the students carried out research on Barcelona, the
Ramblas, Spanish cafs, Spanish music, piropos, and male-female relations in Hispanic culture. In the course of
their investigation, the learners found out that tunas were not a normal part of the culture in Barcelona, but were
more common in other parts of Spain, especially Castile. For that reason, the group changed the music from a
tuna to a flamenco guitarist. Though they knew that flamenco was more typical of southern Spain, they found out
that this type of music was performed on the Ramblas for tourists and therefore included it in their scripts. The
students also were curious about piropos, because they found this custom different and surprising. They were
amazed to learn that piropos were not considered socially incorrect and were also glad to find out the appropriate
way a woman should deal with piropos (usually, by ignoring them).
Students learned that culture, body language, and communicative competence are as important as vocabulary and
grammar. In order to write and act out their role-plays, students had to use proper intonation, gestures and other
body language, and cultural information. In addition, as mentioned previously, they had to use proper greetings,
leave-takings, and other social language. Students comments demonstrated that their appreciation and
awareness of the skills they needed in order to be communicative, including sociolinguistic competence, had
increased.
Students learned the value of rehearsal. In the course of the discussion, the students at first remarked that they
found the amount of rehearsal unrealistic. They felt that in real life they could never be as successful as they had
been on the tape because they would not be able to rehearse as much. This comment launched a discussion of
rehearsal, including the amount of rehearsal we do in our L1, such as going over what we are going to say before
an important or stressful conversation. The discussion made students realize that they rehearsed in English much
more than they had ever thought and concluded that they could transfer this strategy to Spanish.

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Students self-esteem increased. After viewing the tape the students felt more confident and in charge of their
learning. Several students indicated that seeing themselves speaking Spanish helped them believe for the first
time that they could become successful speakers of Spanish. They felt that they could make sense of the new
cultural information and use a foreign language with success to achieve real-world outcomes.
Students anxiety levels went down. Though students had a lot of anxiety before, during, and after the taping,
their anxiety about performing in a foreign language declined significantly after viewing the tape. For example, the
female student who had expressed so much anxiety about the taping told me that she felt much better after
seeing the tape. She said that the activity had been very hard for her, but she was glad we had done it. I also
noticed that after the project she participated in class more freely and had more self-confidence. I also noticed
that the other students also felt more secure about their abilities in Spanish and participated more confidently in
classroom activities in the weeks following the taping.
Students teamwork skills increased. Because the students had to work together to create the scripts and
rehearse, they developed valuable teamwork skills.
Students noticed that they could enjoy learning and speaking Spanish. The students obviously enjoyed watching
the tapes they had made. The dialogues were fun and engaging, and the students all agreed that though the
project had involved a lot of hard work, the end result provided a lot of satisfaction.
Students rated themselves on their self-evaluation forms and gave themselves letter grades and percentage grades
on a 90/80/70 scale. Most grades were As, but only a few students gave themselves 100 percent. When I probed as
to why students rated their work in this way, students answers indicated a certain amount of self-effacement. They
seemed reluctant to acknowledge the outstanding nature of their work out of a concern of appearing self-important
or, in the words of one student, stuck up. I, however, was convinced that everyones performance had been
outstanding and gave everyone 100 percent for both individual and group effort. In addition, in this course, TAs
were allowed to raise students final grades if they were between two letter grades. In order to do so, the TA had to
present evidence of the students outstanding work to the supervisor. I used students work in this project to justify
the higher grades, which my supervisor approved without question.
DISCUSSION
This activity had a number of benefits for my class. Learners language skills, self-confidence, and cultural knowledge
all increased. Because the

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students had to dramatize specific aspects of Hispanic culture, they delved into the cultural information much more
deeply than if they had merely read, for example, a text about piropos. Learners agreed unanimously that seeing the
tape made them feel that they could succeed. As a consequence, they became more relaxed, self-confident, and
successful in subsequent classes, though their anxiety levels went up during the preparations. This was clearly a
case of seeing is believing, and the improvements in classroom atmosphere, learner participation, and fluency
throughout the rest of the course were remarkable. The students also commented very favorably on the activity in
the end-of-course instructor evaluations. In addition, the students discovered that they knew enough Spanish to
accomplish many of their own intents and purposes, including socializing with peers from different cultures. They
realized that Spanish is not merely an academic exercise involving grammar and vocabulary but rather a
communication system that they could use successfully to accomplish real-world goals.
The activity also provided a number of benefits for me as a teacher. I really liked seeing my students enjoying
themselves speaking Spanish. It made me feel that even a required course could become interesting and engaging
instead of being experienced as a chore. It also let me prove to myself that I was able to organize lessons that
incorporated new technologies in ways that benefited learners. The activity also provided real-world verification of
many beliefs I was forming about language acquisition. For example, the results provided concrete proof that
increased self-esteem facilitated language acquisition. The project also demonstrated to me that it was possible to
teach students effective communicative skills and provide them with vivid cross-cultural experiences even in a foreign
language classroom in an isolated university town in the Midwest. The project also helped me increase my selfconfidence as a language teacher. I realized that I had the ability to implement innovative teaching methods in my
class, thus making me feel empowered to continue taking risks with other innovative teaching practices. In
subsequent semesters, I brought in music, helped students prepare Hispanic foods, had students act out dialogues
and conversations more regularly, and had classes videotape panel discussions and debates.
This project also helped me develop a list of tips for organizing successful projects of this sort. I believe that my
class project was successful for several reasons.
1. The project was related to the goals of the course. The dialogue came from the book and students knew that the
material was relevant to what would be on the courses tests
2. I got the support of my supervisor and kept her posted. I made sure that she understood what I wanted to do,
honored the conditions she placed on the project, and gave her updates as work progressed.

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3. I got the agreement of my class. I presented the project to them, including the amount of work and the benefits,
and let them decide as a class whether they would participate. This was especially critical in a course that had
many sections taught by different TAs. The students could not complain that they were being singled out for
extra work but were rather agreeing to an optional bonus.
4. I built in success by breaking the project into manageable tasks and including checkpoints to make sure that the
students did not go too far in a wrong direction without feedback.
5. I included plenty of follow-up, such as a discussion and a written self-evaluation, in addition to viewing the tapes.
The discussion and questions elicited students reaction on their language skills, knowledge of culture, and
language acquisition issues. This way, I kept learners attention focused on issues broader than just the dialogues
they created, and learners were able to focus on the learning strategies they used and the educational outcomes
they achieved.
6. I built in rewards commensurate to the amount of work and learner achievement by weighting the grade
appropriately and giving high grades to reward students hard work and outstanding achievement.
7. My students anxiety showed me that monitoring feelings and emotions was very important and something I
should have done better. I was sorry I did not find out about the students fear earlier, and I resolved that in
future projects I would informally speak with all of the students individually to make sure they were feeling all
right. I also resolved to let students know that it was OK to feel anxious and to talk to me privately if they felt
intimidated or needed special accommodation.
8. Using technology, especially the first time, was a lot of work. The meetings, rehearsals, and preparation took
extra time and energy. For that reason, anyone who undertakes this sort of project should make sure he or she
has the resources needed to carry it out successfully.
Finally, this project gave a number of indications of ways television as a medium transformed the dramatic
techniques the class used. For example, because the camera only captures a limited amount of detail, students had
to express their emotions and feelings very vividly so that they would be clear to the television audience. The
medium of television also affected proxemics: As the students acted, they had to stand more closely together than
they would normally on stage (or, indeed, in real life) so that they would all fit into the camera shot. Using the
medium of television also introduced the role of camera operator and director as intermediaries. During the taping
session, a student from a different group acted as camera operator, while I took the role of director of photography.
Because neither the camera operator nor I were very familiar with the scripts, we did not always get the best
camera shots. For example, there were moments when close-ups on one of the characters

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were needed, but we did not zoom in quickly enough because we did not immediately realize that that particular
shot was required. If I were to repeat this project with future classes, I would give learners the opportunity to
rehearse with the camera and allow members of their own groups to act as camera operators and directors.
Using television allowed the actors to become their own audience, something that cannot happen on the stage. As a
result, students were able to observe themselves from the outside, which provided them with insight into the
progress they had made in learning Spanish. However, the opportunity for students to observe themselves in this
way resulted in a second, less desirable, result: initial anxiety, or stage fright, especially as students anticipated
taping and viewing their work. However, students anxiety lessened once they were able to watch the tape and
observe their success performing in Spanish firsthand. Another unanticipated consequence of using television was
increased concern relating to body type and self-image, issues that are of particular importance to young adults such
as my students. Many people feel anxious about their weight, and people often appear heavier on TV than they do
on stage or in person. Several of my students had such concerns about their appearance, which caused them
anxiety I had not been aware of until after the taping took place. In retrospect, I should have been more sensitive
to these issues in planning the project.
The experience of having my students create and view videotapes resulted in a number of concrete benefits to my
class, allowed me to reflect on the effectiveness of communicative language teaching and use of technology in the
classroom, gave me the opportunity to develop a number of strategies to make use of video recording equipment
more effective, and gave insights on ways that television transformed the dramatic techniques my students were
using.
APPENDIX A
The students received this assignment sheet.
On Wednesday, April 1, our class will be videotaped performing role-plays based on the dialogue, Las Ramblas in
our textbook. The class will be divided into three groups:
Group 1:
Will write and present a dialogue based on what
they imagine happened before the dialogue in the
book.
Group 2:
Will write and present an expanded,
original version of the dialogue in the
book.
Group 3:
Will write and present a dialogue based on what
they imagine happened after the dialogue in the
book.
Each group should assign one of these jobs to each student:

Director

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Scriptwriter and head script writer

Actors and actresses


Deadlines
March 3: Director informs teacher in writing of each group members job.
March 6: Each head scriptwriter turns in a brief treatment (plot summary) of the dialogue in
Spanish.
March 9: Head scriptwriters meet with the teacher outside of class.
March Scripts due at the end of class.
13:
March Teacher meets with head scriptwriters outside of class.
16:
March Revised scripts due at end of class.
20:
March Two rehearsal reports due at the end of class.
27:
March Dress rehearsal with students outside of class.
30:
March Directors meet with teacher after class.
31:
April 1: Taping takes place in class.
April 2: Class views tape in class.
April 3: Completed self-evaluation forms due at the end of class.
Rehearsal Report
Director Name:
Rehearsal Number:
1
2
(circle one)
Date: _________
Time: _________
Place: _________
Students Present: ____________________________________________________
Students Absent: ____________________________________________________
1. How did the rehearsal go overall?
2. Did the script need any revisions? Explain.
3. Are there any music or special effects needed? Did they work OK?
4. Is your role-play interesting? Fun?
5. Do you feel your group is ready to perform or is more rehearsal needed?
APPENDIX B
Discussion Questions
Before Watching
1. What are your general reactions to this project?
2. Do you feel pleased about your performance? What about your groups performance?

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3.
What went best during the taping?
4.
What would you like to change about the taping?
5.
What do you think the taped role-plays will be like?
After Watching
1. What are your reactions in general?
2. What were the role-plays like? Funny? Interesting? Entertaining?
3. Was there anything you didnt understand? Was the reason linguistic? Cross-cultural? Dramatic?
4. What did you understand best?
5. Did you learn anything new about the Spanish language? Hispanic culture? Your language abilities? Your other
talents?
6. How did you feel seeing yourself and your friends speaking Spanish? What is the value of seeing yourself and
your friends speaking Spanish?
7. The groups all rehearsed. Is rehearsal a part of other kinds of interaction? Do you ever rehearse in English?
When? Why?
8. Did you enjoy this activity? Why?
9. Is viewing an action different from participating in it? Why?
10. Would you recommend that other classes do this activity in the future? Why?
Evaluation Form
Self- and Peer Evaluation
1. What was strongest in your individual performance or contribution? Why?
2. What was strongest in your group performance?
3. What needed the most improvement in your individual performance or contribution? Why?
4. What needed the most improvement in your groups performance? Why?
Self-Rating
Rate your performance and your groups performance. Give grades on a scale of 100.
Yourself: _________ Your group _________
Teacher Evaluation
You: _________ Your group: _________
REFERENCE
Allen et al. (1981). Habla Espaol? 2nd Ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

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8
Designing Artful Reflective Strategies: The Guided Case Study
Philip Taylor
Do teachers ever really understand the students they work with? What concrete attempts do teachers exploit to try
and place themselves on the inside of students learning? We read a great deal in the professional literature about
the power and efficacy of drama in education, but there is little written on the ongoing daily experiences of students
in the drama classroom. What evidence is there that drama can help students understand the truths about
themselves and the world in which they live? How have students reported on the relationship between drama
activity and their learning? Like many of my colleagues, I have tried to uncover more about the teaching and
learning process through my encounters with students (Taylor, 1998, 2000). I am especially interested in the specific
processes that help students engage with material in fresh and innovative ways. This interest has prompted two
questions: What strategies can I marshal in the classroom so that I am a more reflective teacher? How do students
describe their experience of these strategies?
In this chapter, I propose to describe one strategy I have found to be useful in uncovering how my students are
responding to the class work. I call this

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strategy the Guided Case Study. In the Guided Case Study, students are reflecting about an issue, incident, or event
through the guise of role. The Guided Case Study presents students with an immediate ongoing fictional dilemma
that demands their urgent attention. This dilemma, although presented as an imagined case, resonates with a
familiar classroom experience. Through the process of reflecting on the case, students are challenged to probe and
share their understanding of an educational event.
This strategy can illuminate for the teacher insights into how to construct rich learning environments. The Guided
Case Study can provide immediate feedback for the teacher on ways in which a teaching approach or procedure
might be modified. The students observations through the Guided Case Study can support the immediate and
sustained reflective practice of teachers. It would be valuable to illustrate the features of the Guided Case Study
through an example.
ABOUT ALBERT
I first met Albert in New York City where I was employed to be his seventh-grade social studies teacher. I was
working at the time in the United States while completing my doctoral research at New York University. I was
immediately drawn to Albert as he would often engage me in discussions about my Australian background. He
seemed especially interested in my homeland and intrigued as to why I had left Australia to work in America. Albert
was an exceptionally intelligent student for his thirteen years and seemed self-satisfied with the high grades he
would regularly receive.
The parochial school Albert attended was located in a densely-packed urban neighborhood on the lower east side of
New York City. The school, in a lower socioeconomic section of the city, was conservative in its educational outlook.
The students would sit in rows of desks, for instance, and typically look toward the teacher who would be busily
engaged in formal instruction.
Albert, like the majority of his classmates, was a second generation Chinese-American. He lived in a housing
commission apartment in the immediate neighborhood, an environment renowned for its violence and drug-pushing.
I was to learn from Albert that he had considerable domestic responsibilities. As both of his parents worked in a
restaurant, he would have to rush home after school in order to tend to his younger siblings. I often wondered when
he would find time to attend to his school assignments given his home duties. Yet Albert seemed committed to his
study and would always submit quality work by a given deadline.
Midway into the year I asked Albert whether he would be interested in helping me understand more about the
learning that takes place in school. I explained that I was keeping a logbook describing our sessions and I was
especially eager to learn from students observations of my classes. I introduced him to the Guided Case Study
strategy: I would present him with an

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imaginary situation and he would be asked to respond to the stated circumstances. Although the situation would
have parallels to practices that we might currently have been engaged in, I explained that he was not to construe
the case as an exact replication of our own classroom situation. Albert agreed to participate in the Guided Case
Study.
BACKGROUND TO ALBERTS GUIDED CASE STUDY
Albert was presented with a number of different situations over a period of three months. Three of these situations
focused on the fictitious character Mr. Gibbs, who was attempting to experiment with drama in the classroom. At the
time, Albert and his own seventh-grade class were encountering drama activity in their social studies curriculum. The
students had not experienced drama before in the curriculum, and for many it was both a challenging and a
confronting experience. The Guided Case Study would be, I hoped, a useful protective forum to access the students
responses to drama. These responses would directly impact upon my own planning and structuring of the classroom
experience.
I propose to examine three situations Albert was presented with. I intend to isolate the main features of Alberts
written reflections in his role as both the principal of Mr. Gibbs school (situations 1 and 2) and as Mr. Gibbs himself
(situation 3). His written responses that follow are intact. I have not modified or amended Alberts expression or
grammar. The names given to Albert and his classmates are pseudonyms to protect the participants identities.
Situation 1
Mr. Gibbs is a grade seven social studies teacher. Each year he has to cover the American War of Independence. He
likes to teach by having the students read from the textbook and then complete short answer and multiple choice
questions. He always ends his study with a chapter test. Although he sometimes conducts group discussions, Mr.
Gibbs finds that it is always the same students answering the questions. He believes this is because many are shy
and would prefer to write in their notebooks. Mr. Gibbs is about to teach a unit of work on Boston in the late 1700s.
Imagine that you are the new principal of the school in which Mr. Gibbs works. You have seen his style of teaching
in previous units of work and you would like to make some suggestions on how he might approach his Boston study.
Alberts Response
Mr. Gibbs, I value highly acting out scenes from the chapter, especially making them understanding whats going on,
not just words. Make the students able to picture it and interpret it correctly. Do a short session of acting, and a
person reading from the textbook as a narrator. Be sure that the

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students interpret the chapter as concepts (#1 blah, blah, #2 blah, blah, #3 blah, blah) or as a story (First, blah,
afterword, blah, finally, blah). I think that a classroom should have a lighter touch and atmosphere, and to get
people to be more open, center attention on them, let them know that it is not a yes/no question, but a question of
his/her opinion. I think this is why many students dont like to talk, they know they can get away with it. I think a
chapter is easier to understand as a story than as facts so that tests will be easier for them. I think a short session
of writing will help because the writing will calm them and also give them a chance to interpret. School is too much
work and not enough action.
I think my suggestion of play, story, giving shy students more attention and getting not-so-shy students to support,
and writing may not seem to work at the beginning, but as time goes, the people will gradually accept and work by
the new activities. I think the test should be the same. Final suggestionrelate incident to something we
understand.
Teacher Follow-up Questions and Alberts Reply:
What do you mean when you say that the students who dont like to talk can get away with it when they are only
asked a yes/no question?
When I say students dont like to answer because it is a yes/no question because they know, if answer suits you,
then you will forget them and go on. If answer dont suit you, you just pass on and get a correct answer elsewhere.
This makes them feel as if their answer dont count for much. If they answer a correct answer, then show that you
agree by saying something like, I think so too, because, blah, blah, good answer. If wrong, then, Hm, but, blah,
blah, okay? or Dont you think so, Mr.X, please tell us why, blah, blah, do you agree original person?
In what way will writing calm them?
After acting out something, a person is normally flustered and energetic. An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Writing will allow them to interpret the action in words and this might help them think.
Analysis
The Mr. Gibbs scenario in situation 1 developed from my observation that at this school students seemed to be
taught in a traditional manner. I would frequently note classrooms based on Freires banking concept of education,
in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the
deposits of the teacher (1970, p.58). Frequently, the students would describe classes preoccupied with notebooks,
copying from the board, and listening to teacher talk about the textbook.

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The Gibbs situation and Alberts response confirm the dreary scholastic routine that Albert and his classmates
experienced. What is interesting, though, is Alberts understanding that certain teaching strategies such as questions
that require a yes or no response limit students ability to interpret the work. He recognizes the power of conceptual
thinking and how the construct of stories can help deepen and extend student reflections on the social studies
curriculum. Albert implies that a curriculum rooted in discourse, dialogue, action, and interaction should serve as a
classroom model. In this respect, he was sharing a view with educational theorists who have emphasized a shift from
the mastery of information to the growth of skills and intelligences that help students become learners who can
approach knowledge in a variety of ways and struggle with the contradictions (Verhovek, 1991, p. B4).
Alberts recommendation, that acting out scenes is one way to help students struggle with and tolerate the
ambiguities, supports what drama educators have argued for some time. Students do recognize the power of drama
to give them a voice they may not ordinarily have (Arnold, 1991). Drama is well placed both as a discrete disciplinary
area and a methodological framework to highlight and expose complex material in a relevant and real way (Hughes
& Taylor, 1993). Alberts reflective writing in the first guided case study was not only broadening his contemplations
about an art form but also encouraging me to experiment with designing and implementing compelling drama
experiences. Those attempts at experimentation led to the second situation.
Situation 2
Mr. Gibbs has tried to incorporate the principals suggestions into his Boston study. However, all has not gone well.
Gibbs makes an appointment to conference with the principal. He talks about the following: I thought it might be
interesting if the students assumed the roles of journalists working for the Boston Gazette in the 1770s. I enacted
the role of Benjamin Edes, an editor with anti-Royalist sympathies. I thought this situation might help the group
consider what were some of the relevant issues during revolutionary Boston society. In the role of Edes, I proceeded
to inform the journalists that I was concerned about the imminent arrival of many British soldiers. I was hoping the
students, in their role of journalist, would suggest how the Gazette might influence public opinion to resist the
soldiers arrival. But the class seemed confused by my role as they did not speak. They blankly looked at me and
remained unresponsive. I kept commenting about how hard it was living in Boston, but each attempt was met with
silence or a disturbing giggle. I dont know why I bothered to try something different. Where do I go from here?
Alberts Response
I think it didnt work because they werent into it. I presume you told them they were journalists, but that is not
getting deep enough. For example, you

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might list occupations such as head journalist, editorial journalist, mail journalist, celebrity interviewer journalist,
behind the headline journalist, and all kinds of crazy things, and ask them from each field (mail journalist) what type
of mail was received this week. Give them time to think of answers, to prepare, to shine !! Oh yes, you were still the
teacher when you tried to talk and influence them to talk. Figure it this way, be either the boss of the paper or a
hard working journalist too. If I were you, I might change my role of Ben Edes, and let someone take over. Make
sure that the students are comfortable with the replacement, like the replacement has no enemies or is funny and
can handle it. I will become a new staff member that needs to be taught about how each field works (Mr. X. how
does the town feel about lobsters,1 I new at the editorial and need info). I also would not get too close to the
person because then they will be scared and not think well. Dont stand too far because then they will feel that the
answer doesnt matter and not give a good answer. Stand at a reasonable distance.
They didnt contribute because it was different and perhaps too unclear to work with. It was not easy for them to
answer because they dont want to be different from the mob, or just shy. I think you should ask some people you
know could answer so that other people can follow an example.
Analysis
Readers might not be surprised to learn that there was a close parallel between this situation that Gibbs describes
and an in-role drama I had attempted to negotiate with the students. I was interested to learn from my students
how they read teacher in role and what circumstances assisted their active verbal participation. I deliberately layered
into Gibbss reflections on the role-playing his frustration with the students silent responses. In my experience, it is
not uncharacteristic for student groups to experience bafflement or uncertainty when the teacher assumes a role in
the students dramatic play. However, before this guided case study with Albert, I had never attempted to follow up
consciously the possible explanation for such student response.
Alberts acute and insightful perceptions on teacher role-play were to transform my approach toward this strategy.
His observations on the relationship between the leaders clarity in specifying the task and the depth of student
involvement should be a lesson to all those interested in teacher in role. Albert aligns quality of participant response
to the teachers ability to provide a richly colored scaffold. Getting deep enough, he urges, demands assisting the
students storying possibilities. This assistance, he offers, may involve allowing students to assume leadership roles
and drawing on the skills of students who are willing to participate.
Albert is also aware that student engagement is tied into their comfort threshold. I remembered how I often would
walk around the classroom and attempt to engage students with the role-play. However, in Alberts mind, this

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tactic can backfire as shy students will be scared and not think well. Teacher role-play, therefore, may need to be
coupled with a human relations posturing that encourages student participation. Simply assuming a role and asking
for students feedback will not promote a dynamic interaction.
Cecily ONeill, a leading practitioner in educational drama, reminds us that when teachers assume roles they must
invite the student-watchers to respond actively, to join in, to oppose or transform what is happening (1989, p.
535). However, as Albert reminds us and her, this invitation will be accepted only if the situation is of sufficient
motivating interest for them. Teachers need to experiment with different status levels and find the ways and means
of constructing avenues down which students can travel and gain entry to an imaginary world.
Situation 3
Gibbs wonders what his students are learning. He believes they are understanding something about Bostons history,
about what it must have been like to live back then, and why studying the past can help us understand the future
better. Nevertheless, he also thinks they may be learning other things about themselves and one another. What
would you think Gibbs students might be learning?
Alberts Response
I learn that working with others and learned that others arent as gullible as I think. I mean doing everything I say.
Some examples are is when I was with Tom, Meryl, and Nadia, and when I worked with Tom, and Teddy.2 In the
first example, I saw that they really believe what they say and disagreed with me. With Tom and Teddy, they didnt
do all I say. In the film, there were contributing ideas from Tom that made mine better. I used to think my work
was good, but now I see it can be better.
They are more used to teachers and working with others and might not be so shy. Amara, who I think used to be
very shy, seem very brave now since Ive scene [ sic] the bullying scene.
I think the changes in shyness may to some extent better. It may help them in the world and improve their
discussion grade. Others, may become to bold and do bad things because their not shy anymore.
Analysis
In this Guided Case Study, Albert has forgotten about his role of Mr. Gibbs and instead written a personal response
on his own learning. This sometimes happens when students reflect in the third person. The separation between role
and self is not a clear one, nor should it be when participants are bringing their own understandings to their creation
of role.

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It is evident that Albert has been on a significant personal journey in his social studies classroom. He recognizes, for
example, that his classmates are powerful contributors to his own rethinking and revamping of ideas. I used to
think my work was good, he reflects, but now I see it can be better. The Guided Case Study has enabled Albert
to take a long cool look at himself and realize that his peers play a significant role in the shaping and development of
his own thinking. The process itself may have posed a number of challenges for Albert, particularly as to when he
should compromise for the sake of the group or at which moments he should remain committed to a desirable idea.
He also notes with interest the changes that have occurred in some of his peers. Although students may become less
self-conscious through the work, he believes that this could potentially lead to them becoming too bold and do bad
things because their [ sic] not shy anymore. It seems ironic that what a teacher might perceive as a positive
development in a students social behavior is looked upon by the student as a subversive sign with potential deviant
outcomes. Perhaps Albert is highlighting a cultural difference here between Chinese and Anglo-European groups.
Although it is generally believed among drama educators that children must work for autonomy and find resources
within themselves to earn power (Bolton, 1985, p.154), are teachers prepared for the discoveries that students
might make about themselves and others if they finally manage to earn and then wield their own power?
CONCLUSION: AUTHENTIC DIALOGUE
Freire (1970) argues that only when teachers engage in authentic dialogue with their students will the latter
become self-reliant and assume responsibility for their education. Such is achieved when
the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacherstudent with student-teacher. The teacher is no longer merely the one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught
in dialogue with the students, who in their turn, while being taught, also teach. (p. 67)
Reflecting in the third person through the Guided Case Study seems to be one immediate way in which educational
leaders can assist their student groups to engage in empowering reflection.
The Guided Case Study has not only enabled Albert, the student-teacher, to organize and structure his own learning
but has also been an invaluable tool in this writer, the teacher-student, experiencing intensive reflective practice.
Teachers perhaps underestimate the contribution their students can make to facilitating enriching classroom
environments. Strategies like the Guided Case Study that aim to give voice to students observations of classroom

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environments can enlighten and recharge dreary and lifeless pedagogical practices.
The Guided Case Study is an agent that can command teachers and students to explore the fabric of classroom life,
assess its vital elements, and enable them to respond to perceived strengths and weaknesses in teacher-student and
student-teacher relations with authoritative efficacy. I encourage readers to experiment with the guided case study
technique and document their experiences so that a wider dialogue among educators can emerge.
NOTES
1. A reference to the British soldiers, who were also known as redcoats (thus, the reference to lobsters).
2. Readers are reminded that the names of Albert and his classmates are pseudonyms.
REFERENCES
Arnold, R. (1991). Drama in the round: The centrality of drama in learning. In J. Hughes, Drama in education: The
state of the art. Sydney: Educational Drama Association.
Bolton, G. (1985). Changes in thinking about drama in education. Theory into Practice, 24(3), 151157.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Hughes, J., & Taylor, P. (1993). Reflection, action and imagination in the communication process. In Communication
for science, technical and medical professionals: Theory and practice. Victoria: Macmillan.
ONeill, C. (1989). Dialogue and drama: The transformation of events, ideas and teachers. Language Arts , 66(5),
528540.
Taylor, P. (2000). The drama classroom: Action, reflection, transformation. London: RoutledgeFalmer
Taylor, P. (1998). Redcoats and patriots: Reflective practice in drama and social studies. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann.
Verhovek, S.H. (1991, June 21). Plan to emphasize minority cultures ignites a debate. New York Times, B4.

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9
Undergoing a Process and Achieving a Product: A Contradiction in Educational Drama?
Douglas J. Moody
The debate regarding the learning potential of educational drama in foreign language acquisition has often been
polarized between practitioners of drama-based education who use process-oriented approaches and educators who
define their methodology as product-oriented. This chapter considers the correspondent effectiveness of educational
drama in foreign language acquisition from these two distinct, though I argue, complementary perspectives, by
considering two contrasted learning environments. The two educational settings that I describe are very particular,
and the results are not meant to proclaim how one method of drama-based education is more effective than the
other. What I hope to illustrate, however, is that a product-oriented approach, which involves various processes in
the interpretation, rehearsal, and public performance of a text, is a valuable form of educational drama that should
not be excluded from the repertoire that foreign-language teachers have to use in their classrooms.
On the one hand, a process-oriented approach tends to focus on the dramatic medium itself, in which the
negotiation, rehearsal, and preparation for

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a more informal, or improvisational, in-class dramatic representation becomes the focus for language learning. On
the other hand, a product-oriented approach emphasizes the final staging of the students public performance,
wherein the concluding dramatic realization in front of an audience is viewed as one of the primary goals of the
learning experience. This investigation considers the seemingly contradictory nature of these two approaches, briefly
outlines their theoretical frameworks, and presents two recent empirical studies for each of these interrelated
approaches. This research examines the concept and implementation of what I have termed essential play. At the
heart of this notion is the belief that foreign-language learning can be enhanced through creative group activities
that utilize drama through both the process and production of dramatic activities. The constructivist theories of
educators and cognitive psychologists such as Bruner (1996), Gardner (1982), and Vygotsky (1978), and promoters
of drama-based education, including Slade (1995), Boal (1979), and Heathcote (1991), greatly inform my perception
about the ways in which we acquire a first language and can be taught a second/foreign language. In the case of
foreign-language learning, either methodology that makes use of essential play provides many educational
opportunities for rehearsing and enacting characteristic representations of the target language and culture.
I believe that in many cases both approaches overlap in their actual implementation in the classroom and require
elements of play that I consider essential. A process-approach, which involves the evolution of students ideas
into some form of dramatic realization, will not inspire that group of students adequately unless learning goals are
made visible and tangible through small-scale products , which show participants that an actual audience other than
the teacher will ultimately value their efforts. Anyone who has been involved with theater-as-performance
understands that a product-oriented approach is actually a collaborative process , and that many stages, or
miniprocesses, occur when a play is interpreted, rehearsed, and performed. In the foreign-language classroom,
there are certain conditions that are required for essential play to be an effective addition to the curriculum. Finally,
one of the most significant conditions that is integral to essential play is that student motivation is greatly enhanced
through exercises and projects that allow the students to benefit from their freedom to cocreate in enjoyable ways
that is, to play . Doing a play, or improvising a dramatic situation, should also mean having fun.
My research has been conducted in two separate, though interrelated phases, and examines two levels of Spanishas-a-foreign-language (SFL) students and instructors in two educational settings. The study explores how these two
groups of students (one at a secondary school and the other at a liberal arts college) learned about a foreign
language and culture when aspects of essential play were actively encouraged. The goal of drama-based education
in the foreign-language classroom should be to explore how col-

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laborative projects that utilize all kinds of educational drama can enhance foreign language acquisition and become
an essential component of the learning process. As educators who are drawn to these methods, we appreciate how
learners who are engaged in constructing meanings rather than receiving them can benefit from this form of
instruction. Drama-based learning can indeed be very effective for foreign-language learning, and high-caliber
theater productions result from the most disadvantaged or inexperienced actors, provided there is good social
cohesion among the practitioners (Heath, 1993; Courtney, 1999).
There are many worthy activities, methods, strategies and curricular structures for drama-based foreign-language
teaching that are used by language teachers and that are considered in this collection of articles on advances in
foreign- and second-language pedagogy. The two following descriptions of my recent empirical research illustrate the
differences between process- and product-oriented approaches, and reflect on how these pedagogical methods
might be integrated in order to bridge some of the divisions between the practices. In addition, some of the issues
that distinguish between the realities of secondary and postsecondary levels of foreign-language teaching will be
considered. The results from these two concurrent studies were very differentprimarily because of the specific
dynamics of the groups studied, and my original hope to bring the two groups together in an interinstitutional
manner failed to materialize.1 Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that I was an outside investigator who had
proposed to the two cooperating teachers that I would assist them with drama-based techniques and methods. At
the onset of the projects, neither the high school class nor the college class had educational drama as the central
focus of the curriculum. Therefore, I was trying to compel the cooperating teachers and their students to incorporate
my notions of essential play and drama-based pedagogy into curricula that had been pre-established. The degree of
success that I achieved in both settings is described in the following pages.
THE WORKING CONDITIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL DRAMA: PROCESS AND PRODUCT APPROACHES IN
PRAXIS
Communication occurs at many different levels. In second language acquisition it is vital to teach students both
syntax and a lexicon, but how can we teach students of a foreign language about pragmatics and other culturally
imbedded communicative competencies? People also use gesture, movement, intonation, inflection, and less overt
ways of establishing their relationships and positions of power, both in oral communication and with their bodies.
Language is made up of utterances, actions, and reactions, and then of responding to those communicative acts. For
this reason, drama-based peda-

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gogy in foreign-language acquisition presents intriguing possibilities for students to interpret, rehearse, and embody
the target language and culture. Many methods and approaches are available to the teacher of foreign languages,
and in fact, a large majority of language teachers have used role-playing and other forms of improvisation in their
classrooms. It is my contention that both an open learning environment, which uses such process-oriented
approaches, and fully staged theater-based projects offer unique insights into the multiple levels of communication
that comprise the human drama.
There has been very little written about producing foreign language theater as a method for drama-based pedagogy,
though some research exists, and a very small number of teaching publications have explored the benefits of
performing texts (Smith, 1984; Miller, 1986; Gaudart, 1990; and Essif, 1998). The terms product-oriented and
text-based are most often used to describe the method of selecting a script, of interpreting that text during
rehearsals, and then of staging a performance for an audience beyond the classroom walls. Although a growing
number of publications attest to the beneficial outcomes of process approaches to foreign-language teaching, most
often in these works there is very little mention of product-oriented approaches. Some recent publications on
process-oriented research include Wagner (1998 & 1999) and Kao and ONeill (1998), and other long-standing
practitioners such as Heathcote and Bolton (1995) continue to inform the field of process approaches to educational
drama. In addition, in the United Kingdom, Theatre-in-education (TIE) has been evaluated (Redington, 1983), and a
wide variety of publications that explore the use of Drama-in-education methods (DIE) have been in circulation for
several decades (Wagner, 1976; Slade, 1995 [1963]), all of which has been wonderful advocacy for promoting the
potential of process-based educational drama. In the United States and Latin America, various educators,
researchers, and theater practitioners have described the benefits of drama-based education for both language
acquisition and for social change (Heath, 1993; Boal, 1979). However, the fact remains that there are many foreignlanguage departments in the United States and Europe, as well as other parts of the world, where teachers and
students dedicate tremendous time and energy to the production of theater-as-performance projects, and it is a
shame that there has not been more public discussion about the pedagogical and social benefits of these practices.
I would agree unhesitatingly that improvisation and other process approaches are frequently very effective, and that
they allow learners to interpret the world through both their bodies and voices, in order to practice the gestures,
movements, and utterances of the target language and culture in spontaneous and imaginative ways. However,
literacy is also at the core of how human beings communicate and situate themselves in relation to one another and
over time. We also have the texts of our lives, which are not only written upon our bodies in spontaneous oral
communication, but additionally in our classroom assignments, creative writing pieces, and in our great works

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of literature. Powerful aesthetic responses can also spring forth from a preconceived text. Serious reflection is
required to interpret play scripts, and within those texts are the records of a language and culture, and the
memories of past sensibilities and communicative acts. In the social milieu of foreign-language theater, teachers and
students are able to portray these texts for their audiences, and to present the richness of the dramatic art form as
intercultural speakers and performers.
It is my wish, therefore, to expand the definition of the term educational drama to include both process- and
product-oriented approaches. I believe that the process of doing foreign-language theater, which brings together a
variety of methods that I identify as essential play, promotes highly productive opportunities for L2 acquisition.
Process and product approaches are not opposite ends of a spectrum that are mutually exclusive, nor is one
approach superior to the other. A great deal of learning also takes place when the methods of second- or foreignlanguage acquisition through dramatic processes are text-based and product-oriented. I believe that the supposed
dichotomy between process-oriented and text-based approaches should not exist. In my own language classes, I
have often used approaches that fall under the rubrics of creative drama, drama-in-education, theater games,
improvisation, process drama, and the mantle of the expert. (Wagner, 1999; Boal, 1994; Heathcote & Bolton,
1995). In the description of the college-level theater-as-performance phase of the project, which I describe in
greater detail in this chapter, undergraduate students who were involved in a Spanish play production learned not
only about the Spanish language but also about the history of Spain, the aesthetics of Golden Age theater, and the
dramatic tensions of courtly liaisons, in addition to gaining a better understanding of the many other signifiers
inherent in the theater tradition of the target culture. This product-oriented approach and the process that led up to
the performance itself were not only intercultural and reflective, but I argue, transformative in scope. Moreover, the
learning process that unfolded as the play was studied, interpreted, and rehearsed remained a highly democratic one
throughout. A dialogue occurred between the students and professor, among the group of actors, and ultimately,
between the actors and the audience. Finally, educational drama in any incarnation can be transformative if the
participants are willing to take ownership of the dramatic process and embrace its outcome.
My definitions of essential play and educational drama, as well as the two empirical studies that I undertook, were
conceived upon the premise that we are all members of what Hornbrook (1998) describes as the dramatised
society. It was my assumption, therefore, that the students and teachers I worked with would rise to the occasion
when they were presented with drama-based projects in their Spanish classes. It was also my expectation that these
drama-based projects would allow me to explore further my notion of essential play. I expected to work with the
high school students on productions of varying degrees of complexity, and I wanted to investigate the

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effectiveness of process- through product-oriented approaches for foreign-language learning. However, the specific
circumstances of the learning environments and the particular focal groups presented different opportunities for
exploring these aspects of drama methodology. In his book, Hornbrook reflects on how educational drama is a
spectrum of approaches, and his preferred term to describe this range is dramatic art. Dramatic art encompasses a
wide variety of pedagogical and theatrical approaches for students who live in our dramatized society, and
Hornbrooks contention is that drama surrounds us, through the pervasive televised and cinematic performances that
we view on our screens, to the visits to the theater we make as audience members, to the roles in society that we
assume on the streets. As teachers in a dramatized society, it is important for us to take into account how an
intrinsic aesthetic appreciation for drama can be used by students to interpret their world. From open learning
environments to text-based instruction, educators should present opportunities for young people to study the ways
in which drama defines us as human beings and reveals how we make sense of ourselves and our lives (Hornbrook,
1998). Yet Hornbrook also feels that at the heart of dramatic art is the primary significance of presenting the
educational experience to percipients beyond the individual classroomthat is, to share the educational drama with
an audience.
Production, then, is the making and performing (Hornbrooks emphasis) of the dramatic text, by writing, improvising,
acting or role-playing. It has a meaningful application well beyond the school . . . [and] extends as a category from
the construction of make-believe play by infants in the play corner, through the making of more formal
improvisations or scripted performances at primary and then secondary level, to devised productions and
examination assessment pieces. At its most sophisticated, production may also involve a range of non-acting skills
such as lighting, stage-management or administration. (Hornbrook, 1998, 10910)
Consequently, I wanted to explore ways in which the audience, which I also believe is central to educational drama
and my notion of essential play, could be included in the students drama-based projects.
MANZANAS Y NARANJAS: A COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO DRAMA-BASED APPROACHES IN TWO
DISTINCT SPANISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE CLASSROOMS
The metaphor that I use to describe this study is an apples and oranges comparison. It suggests that, although
there are a number of similarities between the two groups, direct correlations between the two phases of the
investigation should not be made. During my research, I had spoken with both the

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high school Spanish teacher and the college professor and joked with them about the way that my investigation was
turning into a study that was looking at manzanas y naranjas, once it became fully evident how different the two
student groups were from one another, and how far apart the degrees of student accomplishment were regarding
the integration of educational drama in the SFL curricula. I knew that the focus of the college-level group would be
product-oriented and that this highly motivated group of undergraduates would most likely respond favorably to a
text-as-performance project. When I first began to observe and interact with the high school group, it was my
strategy to analyze improvisational approaches, though I soon realized I had been overly optimistic that the high
school students would respond positively to drama-based approaches in an open learning environment. Initially, and
perhaps naively, I had assumed that I would be able use techniques from a process-oriented approach with this
group of mostly unmotivated adolescents. Another of my original aspirations was that the highly motivated class of
college students would interact with and inspire the high school students, but unfortunately, the two groups were
never able to find the time to work together on a single project that would allow them to collaborate. Lave and
Wenger (1991) have explored the potential for situated learning, and Vygotsky (1978) has proposed that the Zone
of Proximal Development (ZPD) allows more capable peers to assist relative novices with the development of an
apprehension and fluency in a language and culture. Bruer (2001) has described how a Language Learning Center
(LLC) has the potential for motivating high school foreign language students, in addition to strengthening community
outreach from the college. In the LLCs, postsecondary students, who perform foreign-language plays, collaborate
with secondary-school students, who study the theater-as-performance in tandem with the participants during the
rehearsal process and at the final presentation of the work. It was my hope, therefore, that the apples at the
college would be able to work with the oranges at the high school to present an interschool production of Spanishlanguage theater, but time and scheduling constraints made a face-to-face collaboration impossible at any time
during the five-month study.2
In the first case study, I planned to provide amendments to the SFL curriculum at the high school that would ask the
students to write and then perform their original dramatic representations of their imagined worlds. Early on in the
study, the high school Spanish teacher and I both determined that the purest forms of process drama and a
completely open learning environment were not suitable for the Spanish 2 class that I would assist and observe.
The group that I chose to work with was a class of lower-level beginners, who were placed in that class rather than
the Spanish 2X classes (meaning accelerated), because they had not done as well as their peers in their first
year of Spanish studies. This group of students was composed almost entirely of sophomores, and according to both
the teachers and their own accounts, this Spanish language class was quite low on the students list

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of academic priorities. In general, the students motivation was rather low, and most were taking Spanish only
because they felt that it would look good on their transcript for prospective colleges.
From the onset, I recognized that this group of students would be a challenge to work with, but I had hoped that
the educational drama methods that I wanted to introduce would prove inspirational to the class. Initial exercises
with the students confirmed for the teacher and myself that these beginner-level students did not possess a very
receptive attitude toward a process approach. Most of the students were very resistant to the spontaneous oral
production of Spanish of any kind. Their motivation to form spoken sentences in the target language was low, and
much of their previous SFL experience was based on a curriculum that had emphasized the written form of the
language, and in which a large portion of their instruction was given in English. Students that I observed in other
Spanish classes at the high school were much more willing to speak Spanish than this particular array of students.
Therefore, on the continuum of different drama approaches that are described by Kao and ONeill (1998), it did not
seem viable to use a completely open learning environment and a natural/spontaneous process approach with this
group of adolescents. Improvisation at the beginner level is possible, of course, but when students are reluctant to
take on the risks and the responsibilities involved in the spontaneous production of their second language, the
possibilities for a process approach to language instruction become much more limited. The teacher and I decided to
relinquish the process-oriented approaches that I had originally hoped to introduce into the lessons in order to
provide more closed and controlled drama approaches that were grounded in literacy practices. Instead of
improvisation and open scenarios, the students developed minidramas, which began with the composition of
original scripts that the students were asked to memorize and to present as short scripted role-plays.3
The second case study involved a group of undergraduate students at a liberal arts college who were involved with a
very different kind of drama-based learning experience. The scope of the intervention in the curriculum was, from
the start, designed to be text-based and product-oriented and to culminate in a public performance of scenes from a
classical work of early seventeenth-century Spanish theater. The students were upper-level undergraduates, many of
whom were either majoring or minoring in Spanish. All possessed an ability in the language that ranged from upperintermediate to very advanced. Most importantly, the students were highly motivated and had eagerly enrolled in the
Golden Age theater course to learn about the Spanish language and culture. The professor conducted the classes
entirely in Spanish, and the difficulty of the literature studied and the sophistication of the literary discussions were
very high. Moreover, the focus of the course was the literary text, and specifically Spanish Renaissance drama play
scripts, which pre-

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sented the appealing possibility of rehearsing and staging a performance of one of the plays from the syllabus.
Throughout the entire project, the students remained personally involved in the regular class meetings and were
fully committed to the success of the final production as a collective group of dramatic artists. The staging of the
play, La Dama Duende, by Pedro Caldern de la Barca, became the primary focus of the course. It consumed
everyone involved. It became the heart and soul of what the Spanish literature class evolved into that term. One key
aspect that led to the success of the experience was that the students took ownership of the play during the process
of rehearsals and, to a degree, of the course itself. In the end, the instructor was compelled to share a fair amount
of her power as the director as the time approached to stage the performance. At various times during the rehearsal
process, different members of the ensemble took on the role of director and met with their classmates to rehearse
the difficult scenes that were to be performed. Ultimately, at the very end of the term the professor had to adapt her
original plans for the course syllabus to accommodate the demands of the live performance, which far outweighed
the later reading and writing assignments that the students had originally been asked to complete to fulfill the
requirements of the course. The theater-as-performance experience was product-oriented, but the result of the
Spanish language theater production was that the class became even more democratically organized and energized
because of the rehearsal and staging process of the play.
In the succeeding sections, I consider in greater detail the differences between these two groups and illustrate how
a product-oriented approach was highly successful with the college students, and moderately successful with the
high school students. I also propose some suggestions for ways in which some process approaches might be
integrated into these types of foreign-language classrooms to raise motivation even further. I do not claim that the
lack of success with the high school phase of the study can be solely blamed on the students indifference to their
Spanish studies. There were interventions that I, as the researcher and coinstructor, could have made to improve
the overall performance of the high school students. As a teacher who is concerned about the education of young
people, I constantly strive to reevaluate my methods to find ways to raise the level of motivation of the students I
work with, and specifically, to determine how I might be able to do that with educational drama.
THE UNRAVELING OF A PROCESS: THE FRUSTRATIONS AND DEFICITS OF RESISTANT LEARNERS
One of my key aims of the investigation was to study how educational drama would be perceived and appreciated by
the secondary school students

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and their teacher. Because of my former experiences with the use of educational drama in my own classes at the
postsecondary level with college-aged students, I was confident that the product-oriented approach for the Spanish
literature class at the college would be effectively integrated into the curriculum. However, the high school students
in that particular beginner-level Spanish class were an unknown factor. I was not certain how a process-oriented
approach would work with these adolescents at the secondary level. My disappointment at how halfheartedly the
students responded to drama-based approaches confirmed for me that there is no methodological silver bullet that
can inspire all students at all times.
During the first weeks of my research, I worked primarily as an observer of the educational setting and began to
integrate myself into the class by participating in more conventional classroom activities, such as helping the
students to review for quizzes and exams, to prepare for homework assignments, and to advise them during their inclass compositions. The students had to take a certain number of tests to fulfill the assessment procedures of the
program, and these requirements at the high school presented relatively little flexibility for any significant
educational drama amendments to be added to the Spanish 2 curriculum. The instructor was very enthusiastic about
introducing the minidramas into the curriculum, but there were other more traditional components of the curriculum,
such as fill-in-the-blank quizzes and standardized examinations, that were still considered necessary by the teacher,
and quite surprisingly, by the students also. As I continued my observations, on several occasions students told me
that they preferred taking tests to writing original dialogues and memorizing their lines for their in-class
performances. These students were accustomed to a more passive form of learning, and many did not want to have
the agency that is encouraged through student-centered educational drama. The drama-based approaches to the
Spanish 2 class, therefore, remained partially integrated rather than central to the course design. Fleming (1998)
writes that the purpose of using drama in the language classroom is to exploit its fullest potential. Rather than
remain a contingent method, educational drama has the potential to affect the learning process more profoundly
because learning a foreign language changes to learning a foreign language in a way which focuses on the
richness and complexity of human behaviour or, to put it another way, it is to approach language in its cultural
context (Fleming, 1998, 149). If students are willing to embrace the cultural richness of a foreign language, then
educational drama can serve to become integral to the outcome of language learning in its cultural context.
However, try as we might, the teacher and I had difficulty demonstrating by any means the value of learning a
foreign language to our resistant learners in that specific class.
Process drama can be very effectual in L1 situations, even with participants who are considered highly challenging,
such as disadvantaged inner-city students, incarcerated youth, or sworn political enemies (Wagner, 1976; Boal,

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1979; Kohl, 1998). In addition, students who have a sufficiently advanced proficiency in a second or foreign
language, and whose motivation to participate in the process drama is high, have the potential to benefit greatly
from an open learning environment (Heath, 1993; Snchez, 1993). However, when both proficiency and motivation
are low, the prospect of process-oriented approaches being successful in the L2 classroom seems to become more
remote. Most students in the Spanish 2 class I worked with had very limited lexicons. During in-class grammar
activities, the students would answer the teachers prompts with single words in Spanish, but it was very uncommon
for students to make the effort to construct complete sentences in Spanish. Any conversation between the students
was in English. There were only a few students who were more willing to take occasional risks with their foreign
language. Nevertheless, I hoped that the theater games and improvisational activities that I had used with my older
students in other L2 classes would prove inspirational for the high school students too. However, several attempts at
theater games in Spanish were not well received by the class. I decided that as members of the dramatized society
I must find a way to inspire the students, and one of the resources that exists at the high school seemed to point
toward a likely site for student performances, and one that would allow the minidramas to be viewed by a
prospective audience beyond the classroom walls.
Due to the advent of electronic mass media in this past century, we have become saturated in the dramatic
structures of theater as never before. Young people in the early twenty-first century are enthusiastic spectators of
dramatic fictions. Television presents theatrically-based dramatizations to a voracious audience of consumers, and it
was with this belief in mind that I hoped to tap into the dramatic desires of the students at the high school. The high
school has a cable-access television studio located in the basement of the building, and the staff at the station are
always eager to assist students from the school with projects that can be broadcast to the local community. I hoped
that the Spanish 2 students would be inspired by a series of their own minidramas that would be taped in and then
broadcast from the cable-access television studio. I thought that if these students were able to work together to
generate their original creative texts, that they might experience a process of collective knowledge production that
would allow them to consider perspectives other than their own (Sleeter, 1995). The teacher and I decided that we
would use product-oriented, drama-based approaches in two phases. The first exercise asked the students to work in
pairs to write interview-style dialogues with famous people, and to perform for their peers in the classroom. The
second assignment, scheduled closer to the end of the school year, required the students to collaborate in smallgroup work. These groups were asked to write and rehearse minidramas that would be videotaped and transmitted
to friends and family members via the medium of television.
The teacher and I had decided that the interviews would be appropriate for the class because at that point in the
academic year the grammatical focus

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was on forming questions and utilizing the past tense. There were certain basic structures of the language that the
students had to study and requirements of the curriculum that had to be completed, and it was our desire to find
creative ways for the students to practice these skills. The students also needed to be assessed on their performance
in the dramatized interviews, and the teacher and I designed a rubric that we used to evaluate the students, which
included these categories: fluency and comprehensibility, pronunciation, memorization, and presentation. Our goal
was to make the students successfully use the grammatical and lexical structures that were required at this level of
study in imaginative ways that would allow the participants to become more personally involved in their
assignments. The students were told that the interviewer should not reveal the identity of the interviewee through
the line of questions, so that the listeners would need to listen carefully to guess the identity of that famous person.
An additional part of each students grade was to write a short composition describing one of the interviews that the
student had witnessed as a member of the audience. The teacher had decided that this component of the interview
project was necessary to make certain that the entire class actually paid attention to their classmates performances,
as the tendency was for the listeners attention to drift during any oral presentations. Finally, it was our assumption
that through the memorization of the texts of the scripts, the students would learn the vocabulary and grammar
more thoroughly than through the usual classroom methods of teacher-centered instruction and traditional
examination procedures.
In order to model what we hoped the students would aspire to do in their minidramas, the teacher, myself, and a
student teacher (who was doing her teaching practicum with the cooperating teacher), wrote our own original script,
memorized our lines, and then performed our interview skit in front of the students. We demonstrated how to use
props and basic costumes to enhance the presentation, as well as to articulate the personality of the famous person
who was being interviewed. Part of the reason for this was to make the interview performances more theatrical, but
also to determine which students were willing to put forth more effort. Our performance was also meant to scaffold
for the students the desired results we hoped they would achieve. Clearly, this kind of involvement in the educational
drama is not the teacher-in-role model that Heathcote has advocated for process approaches. We had decided that
we would see how well the students worked in pairs for this first project, and then determine what kind of dramabased project would be appropriate for the television studio.
The results of these first enactments were as follows. As I have described, the ability to improvise Spanish was very
limited for most of the students. The students who were in the role of the interviewers had more responsibility to
memorize their lines. A few of the students who acted as the interviewees did, in fact, react spontaneously to
questions from their partners, but most stuck with their written scripts. Of the twenty-two students, only four pairs

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made the effort to include some basic prop and original costume, which suggested the personality of the well-known
interviewee. More importantly, after nearly two weeks of preparation time, only about half the students had actually
made the effort to memorize their lines. The other half used note cards to varying degrees to remind themselves of
their questions and responses in Spanish. In the final evaluation, the teacher and I concurred that only a small
number of the students had done very well with their short skits, and unfortunately, a majority of the students in the
class had performed rather poorly due to a minimal amount of effort. However, another reason for the weak
showing was that many of the students had never worked closely with their partners before this assignment. Some
of the learners had been placed in pairs with classmates whom they did not know very well, and the social cohesion
that we hoped to establish failed to materialize in many cases.
The second minidrama with the Spanish 2 class did not commence immediately after the first drama-based project,
and it was not until the final three weeks of the school year that the teacher and I were able to get the students to
work on their scripts and to prepare for their performances in the TV studio. For this project, we told the students
that they could select their partners, and many did, in fact, choose to work with friends. Yet it was quite surprising
to me, that even by the end of May, some of the class members still did not know one another by name, and this
lack of social cohesion within the class undoubtedly had a strong impact upon the degree of ownership that the
students made toward their collective work.
As we had done with the scripted interviews, the instructor, the teaching intern, and I worked with each of the
groups to assist them with the development of their original scripts. During the first week, as the groups composed
their stories, we brainstormed ideas with each group, and attempted to foreground the importance of performance
concerns, such as dramatic tension and character development. The students continued to work on their scripts
during the second week, and some groups began to rehearse their scenes. At the end of the third week (at the
beginning of June), we began our videotaping sessions in the television studio. It was when we were actually in the
studio that a number of the students, in fact, gradually began to take a stronger interest in their dramatizations. Yet
overall, the qualitative results of the television dramas were similar to the interview skits, for although some of the
students had memorized their scripts, many others still relied on cue cards to recall their lines. Similar to the
previous scripted role-plays, a large portion of the students in the class had put forth a minimal amount of effort,
and only a few students had made a substantial effort to participate fully in the dramatic process.4 One reason for
this was that the students had not gotten together to rehearse their minidramas outside of class time. Theater-asperformance requires that participants spend extra hours beyond regular class time to rehearse a text, and the
teacher and I had only recommended that the students practice their scripted role-plays outside of class, rather than
set up and

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enforce extracurricular rehearsals. In addition, this last phase of the study was far too rushed to be as effective as it
might have been. In hindsight, we should have spent more time rehearsing in the TV studio space, and we should
not have waited until the final weeks of the school year to enact this project. All in all, any successful drama-based
methodology requires focus from the participants, and many of the students did not give the project their full
attention and dedication.
As my investigation unraveled, I determined that the realities associated with this particular class and the structure
of the investigation were impinging upon the optimistic goals that I had set for myself at the beginning of the
intervention. First, I had hoped to use a range of educational drama approaches with the high school students, but I
had to abandon improvisational process-oriented approaches and focus only on text-based approaches. Second,
educational drama never was a central focus of the class, and the students never felt that their scripted role-plays
and their final dramatizations were as important to the class as their grades on traditional quizzes and tests. Third, I
must also concede that I did not provide enough structure and definition for the second drama-based project. I
should have clarified from the very beginning of the term, for both the cooperating teacher and the students, what
would be necessary for more successful TV productions at the end of the term. Furthermore, I should have spent
more time in the TV studio with the students in order to call to their attention the potential of the electronic medium,
to build trust, and to encourage them to apply one of the principles of essential playnamely, that they should have
fun with the assignment. In some groups this commitment to the dramatic production was beginning to form, but in
others it remained absent. Finally, the students problematic attitude toward foreign-language learning made it very
difficult to involve them with either of the educational drama projects. This lack of motivation seems to exist in many
foreign-language environments in secondary and elementary schools, and must, therefore, be taken into
consideration by language teachers who aspire to use process- or product-oriented approaches. In this regard a key
question remains: If students do not care about the target language and culture, how much effect can teachers with
the best intentions and the most innovative drama-based pedagogy still have upon these kinds of students? It is
absolutely crucial that the participants of any foreign-language learning situation must possess high motivation to
learn the target language in order for a drama-based methodology, or any other pedagogical practice, to be
effective.
THE UNFOLDING OF A TEXT: THE INTERPRETATION AND PERFORMANCE OF A SEVENTEENTH
CENTURY SPANISH-LANGUAGE PLAY
The Spanish Golden Age theater course occurred over a ten-week term, and the professor and I had determined
prior to the start of the course that we

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would collaborate together with the students to produce a shortened version of one of the full-length plays that was
to be studied during the term. Throughout the project, we made no use of process-oriented approaches with the
students. Our goal from the start was to rehearse and to stage a public performance of a play. The professor and I
both wanted to present a work of dramatic art that not only would heighten the learning experience for the students
enrolled in the course but would connect the department with the greater community beyond the classroom. During
the first three weeks of the term, the professor and I discussed which play would be the best one to produce and
what would be needed to stage the play. There was a great deal of preparation required to organize this theater-asperformance project.5 It is important to stress that the readings for the course were written in the late sixteenth and
early seventeenth centuries in Spain, and that, at first, these texts were extremely difficult for the students to
understand. Consequently, at the start of the course there was a great deal of time devoted to lectures, as befitted
the material. The professor shared a wealth of information that not only addressed the linguistic and aesthetic
interpretations of these archaic texts, but also considered the cultural context of Golden Age theater in Spain at that
time. The college students began to gain a much clearer understanding of the intricacies of the Spanish court of that
era, of the ways of romance and the honor system that influenced the time. They also gathered knowledge on the
historical background of the theater profession and of the playwrights who achieved success in their field. The
students were also informed at the start of the course that they would be acting in a fully-staged performance of a
play, a requirement that had not been included in the course description at the time of their enrollment. Perhaps
somewhat surprisingly, not one student chose to drop the course. Through later interviews with the students, I
learned that there had initially been concern on the part of some of the students, because of the nine members of
the class, only two had previous experience in the theater. The majority of the students were novices. However, their
initial doubts or fears diminished as the group built an incredibly strong sense of social cohesion and worked
together to embody and to perform the process of collective knowledge production that Sleeter describes (1995).
Unlike the modest glimpses of effective educational drama at the high school I witnessed, these college students
rose to meet the challenges of the negotiation and interpretation of a very complex text.
By week three of the term we had determined that we would stage La Dama Duende ( The Phantom Lady) and that
we would perform the play in the student center on a date that fell several weeks before the end of the term. This
meant that we had only about four weeks to cast, rehearse, and stage the live performance of the play. It has been
my experience that most theater-as-performance projects require at least six weeks to rehearse and stage, and
therefore, we had to find a way to amend our production to allow us to prepare a performance by our opening. We
knew that we had to condense the length

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of the five-act play to three shorter acts, and the group decided that we should add the character of Caldern de la
Barca, the playwright, to the cast, and that we present the play as a rehearsal. In order to fill in the missing
sections of the full-length play, the actor who played Caldern read several introductions to the scenes for the
audience, and was also present on stage the night of the performance so that the other student actors could receive
any necessary prompts. In that way, both the flow and spirit of the play were kept intact. The professor had never
actually directed a play herself, and therefore, the text unfolded in a variety of ways, as the opinions and
experiences of the members of the group who had written and performed in theater contributed to the collective
production of knowledge. This experience is what Lave and Wenger describe as situated learning (1991) and, in a
sense, the class collective did undergo a process approach in an open learning environment, even though we never
abandoned the literary text and we were working toward a product that would be shared with an audience.
Moreover, although the class had been designed by the professor to consider the role of monarchy in seventeenthcentury Spain, the professor was not an absolute monarch in the role of the single director who exercised total
power and control over her actors. The class was a highly democratic one, and the rehearsal process was played out
in a variety of stages and subgroups who met for many hours outside of regular class time.
Within a group of actors and a director, there is a great deal of questioning at each stage of textual interpretation.
This kind of critical and collaborative interaction is at the heart of the rehearsal process. Language learners who do
theater-related projects negotiate and create a new reality with their interlocutors, and the participants must always
be concerned about their audience, who will ultimately view their constructed reality. As always, there are subtexts
to consider beyond the text that the playwright composed in the lines of the play. There are the complex
personalities of the characters that the actors must try to embody on the stage. There are the reactions that actors
must incorporate into the dramatic dialogue, even when the characters do not always have spoken utterances.
Students become aware of how facial expressions and gestures can present emotions and ways of communication to
the audience. Theater performance forces actors to question every nuance of language. Calderns script says
nothing specifically about what tone of voice the characters should use in their interactions, nor what props would be
useful to include for the actors to manipulate. The language of this play can be translated and understood by the
student participants and directors in a wide variety of ways. The context of each scene and the depth of the
characters multifaceted personalities force the students to look much more closely at both the Spanish language and
culture, and to make informed decisions about how to unfold the play script. Obviously, the script does contain
some language that can be clearly interpreted as comedic or romantic, but this language is often obfuscated by the
fact that the play was written in a style

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of Spanish prose that is the equivalent of how distinct Shakespearean English is from modern English.
The interpretation of the play text was therefore done by every member of the group, but special attention to
amend our final version of the script was made by the professor and the student in the class who played the role of
Caldern. First, the class as a whole read the play and discussed which were the most vital scenes that should be
kept in order to maintain the integrity of the story, and also which would be most entertaining to perform for our
audience. After these group discussions, the professor, Caldern, and I met on a number of occasions to discuss
how to edit further these key scenes from the play. The professor and the student who played Caldern became our
dramaturgs, and the other students from the class were busily rehearsing their scenes in smaller groups, finding the
time in very busy schedules to run lines with each other and try out different movements and gestures. Thus, the
process of interpreting our product unfolded.
Clearly, there were many substantial differences between the abilities and performances of the college students and
the high school students. Obviously, motivation was the primary distinction that separated the successes of the
Golden Age play with the frustrations of the minidramas at the high school. Closely connected to individual student
motivation is the importance that the development of group social cohesion has for effective educational drama.
During the process of rehearsing and staging La Dama Duende, there were risks taken by the students, and a large
degree of mutual trust was built between the student actors, the professor, and myself as we tested ways in which
to interpret this difficult text. A very important factor in the process of creating good social cohesion is another
crucial aspect of my notion of essential playdoing a play means playing. There is a tremendous amount of hard
work and dedication that goes into putting on a play, but there is also a fair amount of fun and laughter that is an
essential part of learning a foreign or second language through theater. Teachers who hope to use educational
drama in their foreign-language classes need to present their students with a no-penalty zone, which allows for the
correction of errors without the threat of getting graded (Heathcote, 1991).
As the time rapidly approached for the final performance, the magic of the theater began to unfold in stages.
Another professor from the Spanish department, who has a great deal of experience as a theater director, conducted
a workshop with the students to begin blocking the first scene of the play. This term, blocking, refers to the
process of experimenting with and deciding upon the physical movements of the actors bodies, and determining
how these actions elucidate the language of the text. For the first time, many of the students could see how the
two-dimensional script could be embodied by actors moving in the three-dimensional space of a stage and in relation
to one another. The next important transformation occurred when the students had progressed far enough with the
memori-

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zation of their lines to get off book. An actor cannot really act as naturally if a script is still being held in that
actors hands (though staged readings, where scripts are still used, can also be very effective stagings of productoriented dramas). Naturally, most people tend to use their hands a great deal when they speak. We also began to
incorporate props into the rehearsals, because we knew that certain objects were necessary for certain scenes. For
example, as the rehearsals developed, the actor who played Doa ngela practiced using a fan as a prop to indicate
her nervousness and to flirt with her suitor. The Spanish fan is also an object that is an authentic means of
illustrating the time period of this play. The next stage of development came about when we began to hold
rehearsals in a lecture theater that had an actual stage space for the student actors to move upon. Next, less than a
week before their public performance, the students were fitted for their seventeenth-century costumes, which had
been rented from a local costume shop. This factor lent a great deal of authenticity to the theater experience for the
students, and from that moment on, and leading up to their final performance, the students began to inhabit their
characters completely. Finally, the students were able to understand how life could be breathed into a Golden Age
text when they viewed a visiting professional theater company, who had been invited to perform at the college on
the evening prior to the students own production. This company also performed in Spanish, and enacted scenes and
dances from other Golden Age Spanish theater works. As percipients of a professional product, the students found
the experience both inspirational and educational. I believe that it was this final dialogue that occurred between the
students as audience members and the professional actors on stage that helped to make the final performance so
essential and engaging.
It was only after a month of readings and rehearsals, which involved many extra hours beyond class time, that the
participants became fully comfortable in their roles. We were not able to meet together on a daily basis, as the
students had many other academic commitments that precluded their undivided attention to this project. However,
in order to memorize their lines and the blocking, the student actors had to meet very regularly to be able to commit
so many words and actions to memory. The amount of effort that they put into the play, especially in the final days
leading up to the public performance, was remarkable. The professor and I had chosen not to act in the production
of La Dama Duende as teachers-in-role during this product-oriented project. Our collective interpretation of the
play script was, in many ways, led by the professor, but her role was more that of a facilitator of the development of
the dramatic art form we were exploring, rather than as an absolute director, who mandated exactly what the actors
must do on stage. Each scene of the play was elucidated by the collective that made up our Spanish-language
theater group. In addition, another more practical reason that the professor and I did not act was because the
professor was busy in her

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role as dramaturg, and I was occupied with my roles as producer and artistic director. We not only wanted to
maintain a democratic atmosphere, but we needed to delegate and share responsibilities in order to realize a
successful theatrical production.
Indisputably, the college students learned a tremendous amount about a very different culture and about a foreign
language in much more profound ways than could have been achieved through a traditional literature course.
Dramatic art and educational drama have the potential to do this.
Our cultural membership is diverse and the forms with which we are familiar and which tell us who we are, are often
contradictory. It is here that the dramatic aesthetic most powerfully engages, for it is able to connect us with history
in ways which liberate our understanding, while simultaneously (and necessarily) connecting us to the communities
of value and meaning by which we make sense of our lives. (Hornbrook, 1998, 131, emphasis mine)
Hornbrook goes on to write that theatrical forms of the past continue to provide us with the paradigms against
which our lives are sorted, judged and given meaning (p. 111). Interpreting a text is a complex process, and in a
foreign/second language culture, it is rich with possibility for the teacher of language and literature.
CONCLUSION: A PROCESS OF PRODUCTION
Educational drama covers a range of approaches, and the specific concerns of each classroom will compel the use of
certain methods to motivate specific groups of students. In my research, I found that an open process-oriented
approach was not appropriate for the high school class. As I have explained, for many of the high school students I
worked with, foreign-language studies were not their primary concern, and therefore, most did not possess an
abundant sense of personal involvement with the drama-based activities. The curriculum of the class still focused on
testing and drill-based activities, and although the drama activities were welcomed by the teacher, the drama
remained peripheral to the instruction and for the students. All in all, there was not a strong sense of social cohesion
within the group. As a visiting researcher, I determined that the best option for any educational drama intervention
was to focus on scripted role-plays, in order to present the students with miniprocesses that led to the composition
and the performances of their theater products.
The college students, who worked very well as a collective of learners, underwent a process of interpretation that
culminated in the play production. The class was not a completely open learning environment, which transpires in
some process-oriented approaches, but the text of the play was the starting point for steps in an interpretation that
involved theater games,

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improvisation, and ultimately, a version of the play that the students themselves had cowritten.
Thus, I believe that it is indispensable that product-oriented approaches are taken into serious consideration within
the range of drama-based methods available to foreign-language teachers, not as a substitute for process
approaches, but as a inherent option for drama-based pedagogy. It is important to advocate and make use of both
process- and product-based approaches, but realistic concerns about the application and limitations of either
approach must be admitted. Not all students in elementary and secondary schools are enthusiastic about their
foreign-language (or other) classes, and of course, college students can also suffer from a lack of enthusiasm about
their learning process. Sometimes the most imaginative drama-based method will run afoul of uncooperative and
unmotivated students. At other times the structure of a curriculum will preclude the full implementation of any
educational drama. The working conditions that I have described for the educational drama intervention at the high
school were not optimal. Yet I should have sought more alternatives to emphasize the aspects of essential play that
I espouse. Process-oriented approaches have been used to great success by other educators who have found ways
to motivate and teach foreign language students. Yet in certain situations, product-oriented approaches may be
more well-suited to the curriculum, especially when supported fully by the instrutor. It is very important to change
approaches if necessary, as well as to combine these approaches where it is advantageous.
Regardless of the degree of success that we achieved in the high school setting, I am convinced that the college
students experienced many forms of fulfillment during the unfolding of the theater project in the literature class. This
is because we were able to implement elements of essential play during our collective interpretation of the text.
Central to the success of the college project was the way in which that group of students forged a sense of
comradery, built mutual trust, and generally, played well with one another. There were a number of levels where
this play happened, and there are many instances that represent a rich aggregation of learning experiences for
analysis. Above all, in the earlier stages of the process, friendships began to form between the students who acted in
scenes together, as the extra rehearsals were held and the students practiced the blocking of the love scenes, the
fight scenes, and the comedic aspects of the play. Body and language were exercised regularly in the evolution of
the text into the vivacious representation of scenes from the seventeeth century, as it was interpreted by the
students and instructors from the twenty-first century, and presented for their contemporary audience. The students
embodied the text with some of the essence of themselvesboth individually and collectively. They looked deeply
into the reasons for their characters motivations and relationships, and by doing so, gained a much more profound
understanding of Golden Age theater and of themselves. During the last day leading up to the final performance, the
entire

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group worked together to arrange the theater space, paint set pieces, organize stage management duties, finalize
costume and makeup preparations, and to embrace one another before the lights went up on the stage. Finally, a
communal sense of pride and respect was established as the full meaning of the play was revealed in the enactment
for the audience.
As foreign-language teachers, we need to try to inspire young people with the magic that is present in the creation
of dramatic art, and this can occur in the classroom, on a public stage, or through drama-based projects that use
electronic media and present recordings and textual descriptions of performances to live or subsequent audiences
(Snchez, 1993). There are a variety of ways to connect educational institutions, and although face-to-face forms of
collaboration in educational drama situations are ideal methods for collaboration, there are other very fulfilling
foreign-language activities that allow secondary and postsecondary students to work together on creative projects.
Advances in various electronic media, such as radio, video, television, and Internet-mediated communication, are
also potential means for transmitting drama-based undertakings between foreign-language teachers and students.6
Moreover, we should strive to build bridges between secondary and postsecondary institutions so that foreignlanguage theater projects can become the common ground for a wide variety of students to share in the process of
the production of educational drama (Bruer, 2001).
Augusto Boal describes how artists and teachers should be like magicians who share their knowledge of a process of
transformation and a product of the imagination with their astounded audiences. He writes that these alchemists of
transformation should do their magic to enchant us, then they should teach us their tricks. This is also how artists
should bewe should be creators and also teach the public how to be creators, how to make art, so that we may all
use that art together. (Boal, 1992, 29) Theater presents a social matrix that is continuously being played out and
reformulated by human agents on the multiplicious stages of the dramatised society (Hornbrook, 1998, 124).
Essential play and educational drama present possibilities for people to interact with and to interpret cultural and
linguistic structures through both process- and product-based approaches to foreign-language acquisition. The
process of drama is rich with potential for transformative learning through the living art of theater production. As
educators who make use of educational drama, we continually need to find ways to motivate our students to be
creators, and to instruct them by employing both the magic and the practicalities of these pedagogical approaches.
NOTES
1. The high school curriculum was much less flexible than the college course, which is one of the situations that
usually distinguishes secondary school from postsecondary educational settings. Literature was the first concern
of the college professor, and not

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language learning, although language and cultural acquisition go hand in hand with literature studies in a foreign
language. Language learning was the primary concern of the high school teacher, though learning language in its
cultural context was also very important to the Spanish 2 teacher, as well.
As I was not the instructor of either class, I could not mandate any fundamental curricular changes that would
require collaboration between the high school students and college students on a drama-based project that was
interinstitutional. I believe that there is tremendous potential for this kind of collaborative learning situation,
which would present opportunities for situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and scaffolding (Bruner,
1996). The kind of action research that Wagner (1999) calls for is another way in which teachers who use
educational drama in their own classrooms can publish their findings to advocate for the field of drama-based
pedagogy.
2. Later in the academic year I observed a collaborative educational drama project that was made between
members of the drama department at the college and a group of drama students at another local high school in
the area. This project was conducted in the participants first language, English, and involved a process-oriented
approach, which led to a public presentation of the students original minidramas. I was encouraged by what I
was able to observe during that collaborative project, and believe that there is a great deal of potential for these
kinds of interinstitutional learning experiences. These kinds of projects require the commitment of the teachers
and students at both the secondary and postsecondary sites, and a great deal of preplanning, as well as the
sharing of time and resources at both sites. Bruer (2001) explains how Language Learning Centers have the
potential to bridge the gaps that often exist between high schools and colleges, and he proposes practical ways
in which the rich process of staging foreign-language theater at a postsecondary institution can be shared with
secondary school students.
The actual Spanish translation for the English metaphor of apples and oranges is: ser como la noche y el da
(to be like night and day), although I believe that this does not quite capture the comparison that I wish to make
between the two studies. Night and day are oppositional in many ways, and night is often associated with more
negative images and may suggest fear or an absence of illumination. The apples and oranges metaphor is used
to make a comparison between two things that are quite different in many ways yet share a basic similarity (they
both are fruit). Moreover, apples and oranges are nutritious, contain the seeds of the plant, and when mixed
together, make a delicious and refreshing nectar.
3. I will concede that, according to some advocates of process-oriented approaches to educational drama, writing
scripts and using product-oriented approaches may seem contrary to the concepts of an open learning
environment. However, Booth (1998) discusses the value of role-driven writing and describes how improvisational
drama functions very well as a prewriting activity. These prewriting activities then provide opportunities for
collective writing and collaborative work on scripts, along with revising and editing, all of which occur inside the
context of the scripted drama. Cecily ONeill has long been a supporter of process approaches to composition and
foreign-language learning, and suggests that improvisation and writing are not mutually exclusive exercises (Kao
& ONeill, 1998).
Although the high school students did not construct their scenes through a series of process-style improvisations,
they did cowrite their original scripts and go through various stages of revising and editing their scripted dramas.
As I describe in later sections of this investigation, there were different forms of improvisation that both the high
school and college students produced after they had memorized and blocked the scenes of the rehearsed texts.

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4. It is important to clarify that the high school students were not able to work consistently on the interview skits,
nor did they focus solely on the TV studio minidramas. The teacher still had to spend a lot of time on the regular
grammar lessons that she was required to cover in the curriculum, and there were regular interruptions to the
educational drama interventions that precluded me from focusing solely on drama-based methods in either phase
of the project. One of the greatest shortcomings of the study at the high school was this lack of consistency
between the drama method and the content of the class.
Changes to the structure of the curriculum and to the educational drama methodology could have been made.
For example, grammar drills could have been used as part of the drama setting. The difficulty with the
implementation of the second phase of the project proved especially problematic in the cable-access television
studio when the end of the school year was approaching and the students sights were set on getting out of
school and beginning their summer vacations. Adolescents in secondary school do not seem very focused on their
academic work at the end of the school year. The second phase of the project should have been implemented
earlier in the term.
5. A tremendous amount of time is required outside of the regular class time to prepare and stage a production.
Smith (1984) has written about the process of staging ESL/EFL theater, and he underscores the fact that many
hours are needed to rehearse and to present public performances of product-oriented drama. During the first few
weeks of the ten-week term at the college, I was very busy in my role as producer and artistic director. This
production was the first time in a number of years that the Spanish department had worked on a play, and I was
developing connections with the drama department at the college. The student actors, the professor, and myself
all worked extremely hard leading up to the final performance. Other members of the Spanish department
assisted us with various elements of the theater process (publicity, lighting, sound). Collaboration occurred
beyond the classroom, as well. One aspect of the project design that could have been done differently was that
we spent too much time debating which Golden Age play would be the best to produce, and this was one
nondemocratic decision that should have been made from the very beginning of the term.
6. I have also found that there is an inherent theatricality to electronic media, and through the wonders of
technology, some aspects of theater can be made accessible in the digital form of a Web site. Perhaps the high
school students motivation might have improved if they had been able to follow the progression of the college
students production on line, and if specific tasks had been wedded to the digitized scenes. There are many ways
in which collaboration can occur between schools and individuals through electronic media.
Web sites also may serve to provide a record of a theater performance, which can be accessed by viewers who
are able not to attend the live event. Theater is fleeting by its very nature, though some record of the ephemeral
nature of live performance can be captured by videotape and revisited through digitized images and descriptive
passages. Electronic text and images are a way of involving other kinds of audiences in the theater experience
(Carson, 1997). Burk (1998) and Laurel (1993) have written about the theatricality of synchronous computermediated communication and have considered computers as theater. I was able to explore the concept of digital
theater through a foreign language educational drama project that was sponsored by the Berkeley Language
Center at the University of California at Berkeley. An archive of this theater-as-performance experience exists in
the form of a Web site, and the URL for this BLC fellowship project is: http://www.itp.berkeley.edu/~sp109. In
addition to radio and television (broadcast media), digital media present many other very

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intriguing possibilities for educational drama and the dramatized society. On the internet, all the worlds a stage.
At the college, our theater-as-performance experience certainly lived on in the memories of the audience members
and most assuredly, the memories of the experience still resonate in the minds of the student actors and directors.
Over time, however, these memories fade. Computers and video recordings have the potential to archive live theater
experiences for future audience viewing. However, despite the intriguing potential of digital theater, a Web site is
not able to convey to the (conceivably larger) audience the emotions and visceral interactions that are transferred
between actors on a stage and the members of the audience who watch, listen to, and feel a performance. Live
theater is completely dialogic in its scope. Therefore, although I believe that there are many benefits for language
and literature instruction that can be derived from a Web site, no technology can replace the depth of human
association that occurs when people interact with one another face-to-face, work on a creative project together, and
then share that collaborative endeavor with a live audience.
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Moody, Douglas, Jeff Rusch, & Owen McGrath. (1999). SP109 Live Performance & Research Project , a Web site,
URL: http://www.itp.berkeley.edu/~sp109, Berkeley: Berkeley Language Center, University of California Regents.
Redington, Christine. (1983). Can theatre teach? An historical and evaluative analysis of theatre in education .
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Snchez, Gilberto. (1993). This hard rock. In Randolph Jennings (Ed.), Fire in the eyes of youth: The humanities in
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Slade, Peter. (1995). Child play: Its importance for human development. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Sleeter, Christine (1995). Reflections on my use of multicultural and critical pedagogy when students are white. In
Christine E. Sleeter & Peter L. McLaren (Eds.), Multicultural education, critical pedagogy, and the politics of
difference . Albany: State University of New York Press.
Smith, S.M. (1984). The theater arts and the teaching of second languages. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. M. Cole, V. John-Steiner,
S. Scribner, & E. Souberman (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wagner, Betty Jane. (1976). Dorothy Heathcote: Drama as a learning medium . Washington: National Education
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. (1998). Educational drama and language arts: What research shows. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
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10
The Educational Potential of Drama for ESL
Sarah L. Dodson
INTRODUCTION
Since the late 1960s, teachers and researchers have advocated using drama techniques and activities in foreign- and
second-language classrooms (Via, 1976; Maley & Duff, 1982; Smith, 1984; Wessels, 1987; Porter Ladousse, 1987;
Whiteson, 1996). Richard Via, perhaps the first pioneer in this area, went to Japan as a Fulbright lecturer in 1966 to
teach acting. By 1967, he was teaching English as a Foreign Language and directing plays like Our Town with his
students. Via and many other teachers, researchers, and students have found that the value of drama in language
education stems from the opportunities it provides for students to express themselves in English for a meaningful
purpose, going beyond vocabulary and grammar drills. As language learners take on new characters and adapt to
new roles, they practice vocabulary and grammar in a sustained context that mirrors what they can expect when
interacting in the target culture, they explore variations of register and style, and they also develop conversational
skills such as turn-taking, topic-changing, and leave-taking.

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Moreover, the benefits that students reap in theater are not limited to language skills. Increases in self-esteem, selfconfidence, and spontaneity often result from theater activities in the classroom, thus reducing inhibitions, feelings
of alienation, and sensitivity to rejection (Via, 1976; Stern, 1980; Kao & ONeill, 1998). Drama activities frequently
increase students integrative motivation, instilling a desire to learn the language in order to interact with people of
the target culture. This leads to longer and more enthusiastic study of the language (Stern, 1980; Kao & ONeill,
1998; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991). Another benefit of drama is its use in teaching cultural appreciation (Byram &
Fleming, 1998). (For a more in-depth review of the literature on the history and the benefits of drama for language
learners, see Dodson [2001].)
The process of using drama to teach languages has only increased with the popularity of the communicative
approach, where students use language for a purpose, to convey real meaning and solve real problems. Recent
research has shown that teachers are moving beyond asking students to read dialogues from the textbook or
perform short role-plays in favor of more complex and lengthy activities like process drama (an extended roleplaying activity that uses integrated skills to involve the whole class) (Kao & ONeill, 1998; Liu, this volume) and
producing entire plays (Smith, 1984; Wessels, 1987).
Second- and foreign-language (L2/FL) teachers seem to recognize the value of a classroom that encourages students
to work together in the target language to improvise or role-play. However, the focus of these activities is usually
limited to oral language production, and many teachers use drama only occasionally. In fact, an early proponent of
drama in language teaching, Holden (1981), warns of the dangers of too much drama: It should not be used too
often or to the exclusion of other aids. If this happens, it will lose its effectiveness. Fifteen minutes once a week is
far more effective than a full hour at sporadic intervals (p. 29). This chapter, which describes an English as a
Second Language (ESL) drama class, shows that four hours of theater instruction per week for an entire academic
term is indeed effective and can integrate language skills to teach both oral communication and literacy skills in the
target language as well as cross-cultural awareness.
A DRAMA COURSE IN AN INTENSIVE ENGLISH PROGRAM
With these ideas in mind, plus a love for the theater that I wanted to share with my ESL students, I developed and
taught an integrated-skills drama class for advanced second-language learners at a midsized university in the
western part of the United States. The course, an elective, was taught in the Intensive English Program, which
prepares foreign students for academic study. Each IEP course lasts seven weeks; this class met eighty minutes per
day, three times a week.

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The overall goal of the class was to introduce these advanced language learners to elements of the theater and elicit
as much spoken and written language from them as possible. Though the focus of the course was on the process of
learning the language and learning about the theater rather than producing a polished play, the final project
demonstrated that the students had assimilated the information from the course and were enjoying communicating
in English.
The course was given the name Language and Pronunciation through Theater in hopes of enticing students who
might otherwise not have been interested in a class promising simply drama. In addition, this title highlighted the
fact that the course would indeed improve students English, and not just be a fun elective. Many of the students
in the Intensive English Program express a desire to improve their pronunciation, and even though native-like
pronunciation was not one of my main goals for this course, I knew we would work on pronunciation regularly, so it
seemed worthwhile to include it in the title.
The six students in the classone Kuwaiti, one Peruvian, one Chinese, one Korean, and two Japanesewere
college-aged female ESL students, except for the Peruvian, an immigrant in her thirties. The students were all
classified as advanced at the IEP, taking 300- and 400-level classes, and intending to enroll soon in university
classes. The students, except for the Peruvian, knew each other and me fairly well from having had prior classes
together.
USING DRAMA ACTIVITIES TO MEET COURSE OBJECTIVES
Language and Pronunciation through Theater offered the students as many choices as possible and provided them
with new experiences that they might not have sought out on their own. I developed the following objectives for the
class and listed these on the course syllabus:
1. To integrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking
2. To improve pronunciation
3. To learn about the history and conventions of theater in America
4. To read, discuss, and understand plays
5. To use computers and technology to enhance learning
6. To develop improvisation skills
7. To create a final project (a theatrical performance) for IEP students, staff, friends, and family
This chapter briefly discusses the importance of the first six objectives and how they were accomplished using
various drama activities, describes how

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the students responded to these activities, and explains in-depth how the final project came to fruition.
To Integrate Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking in English
At many Intensive English Programs in the United States, these language skills are taught separately because
students with such diverse backgrounds may be at different levels in the different skillsstrong in grammar but
weak in listening comprehension, for example. However, this separation of skills is not natural, for when we
communicate, we are always using more than one isolated skill at a time. I wanted to help prepare my students for
living and studying in this country, where they would be constantly calling upon their knowledge of all their language
skills together. I also hoped to improve significantly their reading and writing skills, which are not always engaged in
traditional acting classes. Therefore, each class and each assignment required that the students use elements of
different language skills.
Homework almost always involved reading an article about drama, reading a section of a play, or responding in
writing to a play or class activity. Discussions the following day, then, were based on what they had read or written
for homework. Pairs of students also wrote scenes; this activity required them to communicate in their common
language, English, as well as express creatively in writing their ideas for the scene. Here the skills were naturally
integrated for decision-making and problem-solving.
Another major out-of-class assignment that integrated skills was to attend two live plays (a listening activity), write a
report reacting to each, and then briefly tell the class about it. There were a variety of student and community
performances taking place in town, with at least two plays per weekend. This sort of assignment not only exposed
them to an unfamiliar aspect of American culturelive theaterbut also meant that they didnt sit passively while
they watched the play, because they knew they would be writing and talking about it later.
Writing activities also took place during class sessions, which kept them from being entirely devoted to oral
communication. Most classes opened with a short writing assignment: When the students came in, there was a
prompt on the board, asking them to reflect on a new idea, comment on what they had done or read for homework,
react to a field trip, or preview a new activity. These prompts served several purposes: focusing the students on the
material, promoting regular writing, allowing me to verify that the students had done homework without needing to
quiz them, and preventing tardy students from disrupting a group activity that would otherwise already be in
progress. Moreover, the writing led easily into discussions. Other types of reading and writing that occurred in the
class happened during field trips, where the students were required to take notes. In addition, we followed along in
the

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script of a play while listening to it on tape and read poems aloud to practice pronunciation. These activities created
various combinations of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
To Improve Pronunciation in English
Many days, the daily writings were followed by a vocal warm-up that practiced the suprasegmental elements of
pronunciation rather than discrete sounds. Because these students came from five different language backgrounds,
they had different problems with English pronunciation. The week before they performed the play, therefore, I
worked with them individually on sounds that were causing comprehension problems. Overall, they all seemed to
need work on articulation, volume, intonation, phrasing, and word groups, so this became the focus of our regular
vocal warm-up exercises.
On the first day of class, I explained that actors must physically warm up their voices as well as their bodies before
they rehearse in order to make their voices as loud, clear, and flexible as possible. I also pointed out that many of
these exercises would help Americans understand them better. As a result, the students were motivated to practice
this even though they felt self-conscious or foolish at times. Over the course of the term, we used tongue twisters,
poems, and short speeches from plays that we were reading. I varied the approaches by sometimes asking for
choral readings from the entire group, sometimes pairs, sometimes individuals. Sometimes the students stood in a
circle; sometimes they were at the edges of the room. This variety affected how loudly they spoke, how much eye
contact they made, and how confident they appeared.
Instead of my telling the students where to stress a word or change the pitch of their voice when they read aloud,
we used a copy of the poem or script on the overhead to mark word stress or to draw lines showing the direction of
the intonation. Then we practiced. This enabled the students to find patterns and rules instead of just memorizing
the stress or intonation for each line. The students were later able to apply some of these techniques on their own
lines of dialogue in the play. We also worked on breathing, speaking from the diaphragm, and projecting without
shouting, which are all traditional drama techniques to speak more clearly. Overall, the students seemed less anxious
about speaking English aloud after these exercises, and their suprasegmentals improved.
To Learn about the History and Conventions of Theater in America
To give the students a background to drama, we took field trips to two theaters in town, interviewed a local
playwright, and read articles about drama. In addition to providing new and interesting content information,

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these activities also exposed the students to places and people they would not have encountered on their own. The
activities also encouraged them to integrate language skills while communicating about what they learned.
The first theater that we visited was very traditional. The tour guide, a drama professor, took the students through
the lobby, green room, script library, scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, wings, light and sound booth, and
onto the stage itself. He told stories about the theaters history, briefly explained the processes that occur in each
location, and answered the students questions as they took notes. The two main goals of this visit were
accomplished: to familiarize the students with the insides of a theater and to provide them with the necessary
vocabulary to talk about producing plays.
The second field trip was to a small (forty-nine-seat) salon-style theater/art gallery. The house manager explained
the history and mission of this theater, showed us around the cramped backstage, answered questions, and then
brought us up on stage to play improvisation games. At this point in the course, the students had already
participated in improv in class, so they were not surprised or uncomfortable about trying new activitiesin fact, they
seemed to really enjoy being on stage. And as the leader of these games was a professional in the field, he brought
a number of great ideas and dramatic skill to the games.
This manager, in fact, wore many hats: In addition to running the theater, he also acted, directed, and wrote plays.
When he revealed the latter, the students became very excited to realize that they now knew a playwright, and
asked many questions about the process of writing, about the plot and characters of his plays, and about the
differences between writing novels and plays. As none of this had been planned, I could see that the students were
using English spontaneously and communicatively. And for the most part, he understood their questions and they
understood his answers well enough to ask follow-up questions.
The students also learned about American theater through reading assignments. At the beginning of the course, the
students read an essay from Taking Center Stage: Drama in America (Rathburn, 1997), an ESL text about drama.
This article, Origins of American Theater, introduced major periods by explaining what typified these periods and
showing pictures of performances. The students completed a worksheet about this reading, which was followed by a
class discussion. The Japanese students talked about how Kabuki theater is very different from drama in America,
and other students shared their love for musicals. After reading three plays later on in the class, the students were
able to identify them as representative of a certain period.
The students read another essay from Taking Center Stage after having finished reading the first play covered in this
course. This essay, The Structure of Drama, explained terms used to describe how literature is structured, such as
rising action, climax, and falling action. I drew an arc on the board, and the students marked elements of the plot of
the play Stranger

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in Town on the arc and labeled the different points with the proper term. For example, they correctly identified the
arrival of the stranger, his meeting the waitress, and his finding a job as part of the rising action. We later did this
with each of the plays studied.
These various activities encouraged the students to use all their language skills to learn about theater as a content
area. The topic engaged them, and they were motivated to learn the ideas and vocabulary about drama, because
they knew they would be producing their own play at the end of the term.
To Read, Discuss, and Understand Plays in English
The students read three plays for this class, with the majority of the reading done at home. The first play, Stranger
in Town by Lou Spaventa (1992), was written especially for intermediate ESL students. The play ends without
resolving the problems presented so that the students can write the conclusion. The vocabulary in this play is limited
and recycled throughout, and the plot and characters are not complicated. My students, who are considered
advanced at the IEP, had no trouble reading it. Throughout the course, I encouraged them to read without
referring to dictionaries or electronic translators unless a word or expression had appeared several times and
interfered with comprehension. When a student would occasionally ask me in class what a term meant, I brought in
the context of the character speaking to help them determine what he was conveying by asking the students what
they thought would be realistic for him to say at that point in the play.
In this play, a mysterious man moves to a small town and tries to befriend the people he meets without revealing
what all of a sudden brought him there. He finds a job, coaches the school basketball team, and falls in love.
Eventually the townspeople discover the truththat he had been a professional basketball player until he got in
trouble with drugswhen a drug dealer from his past shows up and demands that he start selling to the kids on the
team, or else the dealer will reveal his past. Spaventa encourages the students to write an ending to the play that
shows the townspeoples reactions to this news and decides the strangers fate.
My students read this play easily and enjoyed it; more importantly, they could identify with the feeling of being a
stranger in town and having to decide how much to reveal, how much to change. This led to very productive class
discussions. For example, at one point the protagonist is falsely arrested for assault. When I asked the students to
imagine what he is feeling as he waits in jail overnight, a student from China shared that she too had been arrested
by the police in America for something she had not done, and had to spend the night in jail until she spoke with a
judge. Her story helped the other students make the necessary connections between what happens in texts studied
in school and what happens in real life. Because she and other students

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could understand what the characters were feeling, they were able to talk easily and comfortably about the play.
Because this was the only play we read set in contemporary America, we spent more time discussing culture based
on this script than with the other two plays we studied. We looked at how conversations are carried out, what
makes different characters polite or impolite, and what small towns in America are like, among other things.
The second play we read was The Romancers (in a prose translation), a one-act play in verse by nineteenth-century
French author Edmond Rostand. This is a satire of Romeo and Juliet, where the young lovers are not really starcrossed at all: Their parents pretend to hate each other so that their rebellious children will secretly fall in love.
Though the language of this play was harder for the students to understand, they still liked the plot and the
characters, which inspired a lot of discussion about the characters motivations, falling in love, and disobeying
parents.
The final play studied was Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucile Fletcher (1948). This is a one-act play about a bedridden
hypochondriac who spends much of her time on the phone, alone, while her husband works long hours. One night
on a crossed telephone line she overhears two hit men planning a murder. The details about the apartment where
the victim lives sound very similar to her own apartment. While she is on the phone to the police trying to convince
them of the seriousness of the call, she is murderedit was her husband who had hired the hit men.
This play was performed on the radio show Suspense in the 1940s. We listened to this radio play as we read along
in the script, pausing to discuss each scene. This is the only play we studied that was read entirely in class. The
voices of the actors sounded unusual to the students because movie stars spoke differently sixty years ago and also
because the cassette tape was somewhat scratchy with age. These elements presented the students with a listening
challenge. Reading along in the script, of course, helped them understand what they heard, while having the context
of voices and scary music helped them understand the mood and the tension. Also, not being able to stop and
reread or look words up in the dictionary while they listened forced them to focus on the overall meaning of the
dialogue and determine vocabulary through context.
The discussion of this play was different from the previous discussions, because the students had trouble identifying
with the protagonist. However, they were able to talk about what things frighten them and how they feel when
alone in a dark house. In addition, they compared this play to modern horror movies. This play lent itself especially
well to the analysis of the structure of drama because of its suspense and the actresss increasing panic.
Throughout the course, the students demonstrated their understanding of the plays and integrated their language
skills in the daily in-class writings,

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postings to the Web forums, in-class discussions, and also as they rewrote scenes or added new ones.
To Use Computers and Technology to Enhance Learning
A Web site (http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/WritingCenter/ceilidh/ad440/forum.htm ) was set up for this class. It
included a list of links to theater sites, chat rooms, a copy of the syllabus, and a Web forum for on-line discussions.
In this Web forum, an asynchronous medium for the students and me to discuss class topics in writing, we talked
about the plays we were reading. The students also posted their reports describing plays they had attended. In
addition to using the Web forum, the students were required to type all their assignments, because the ability to
type reasonably quickly on American keyboards is a skill that will serve them well if they plan to study at a
university.
The experience of posting to the forum allowed the students to write for a different audiencetheir peers, instead of
just their teacher, and in fact, anyone else who might happen to see itand in a very different medium. It was a
chance for them to publish, for their postings could be accessed even after the end of the semester. (I encouraged
them to give the URL to their friends and family back home to show what they were doing in this class.) It also
offered them a greater chance to reflect on and respond to their peers ideas, without privileging the more outgoing
students: On an asynchronous forum, even the shy students can say as much as they wish or take as much time as
they need. Moreover, the back-and-forth quality of the postings forced the students to rethink and justify their
earlier messages in order to respond to others questions, leading to valuable negotiation of meaning.
The content of the on-line discussions, which took place regularly, was related to whatever scene of the play they
had read for homework. Each student made comments and wrote or answered questions that the other students
and I were supposed to respond to. Here is a typical exchange from the week that we read The Romancers:
Korean student: i thought the fathers were enemies before i read bottom of p99. but they are not enemies. they
are friends and they want to combine their properties and families. so they want their children to get married. so
they tried to make them be interested in each others. they thought if they pretend to be enemies, their children
will have more interesting about each other.
Sarah (teacher): These fathers are pretty tricky! I think they have a good plan, though. I wonder how long they
have been friends and how they met? The actors who play the fathers/mothers in the play will have to decide
what their relationship is and what their history as friends and neighbors is.

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Kuwaiti student: I absoultey agree with sarah too. They made a great job although they are friends . They made
is seem real. This play reflects or tells us indirectely not to believe all what you hear, You may be wrong
sometimes.
With more time, I would also have had the students post reader reviews to Amazon.com on the pages where these
plays were sold. This activity, which Ive done in other classes, is popular, because the reviews appear on a
nationally known Web site.
Overall, I would say that the students were comfortable using computers in this class and did not question why they
had to visit the computer lab so often for a drama class. With more time, I would have in fact increased the number
of visits and done other types of computer activities: synchronous discussions in class chat rooms to vary the types
of response, and Web treasure hunts where the students use search engines to find Web sites about drama and
then use skimming and scanning skills to answer questions.
To Develop Improvisation Skills in English
As improvisation skills are especially necessary when living in a country where ones native language is not spoken, I
felt that the students needed practice communicating on the spot and negotiating meaning. Another reason that we
spent class time on improvisation activities was simply because it was a lot of fun for the students, and it seemed to
reduce their anxiety and self-consciousness. Therefore, once a week we spent at least an hour acting without scripts
and using language spontaneously.
On some of these days, we were joined by Conversation Partners, American students who volunteer in oral
communication classes at the IEP. These students are frequently education, English, or anthropology majors who are
interested in meeting people from other countries. Some of these students also receive extra credit in their academic
courses for participating. The three conversation partners, whom I called Drama Partners, were female English
majors in the same age group as most of my students, each with extensive experience in studying other languages
but no theater background. They could identify with many of my students and were genuinely interested in working
with them.
The most popular improv games were Commercials, The Last Scene, Slide Show, and First, Middle, Last . These were
all done spontaneously in class, frequently in groups of three: two ESL students and one American. I would give the
directions, ask if they had questions, divide them into groups, and tell them how much time they had to prepare
(usually five to ten minutes).
Developing commercials to sell an item in the classroom is a low-stress way to introduce ESL students to acting.
They have enough timeabout eight minutesto choose something to sell and to plan out what theyre going to

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say, but not enough to script it word for word. They are encouraged to take an everyday object and find an unusual
use for it (for example, one pair used a highlighter pen as an alien communication device). And because they dont
need to worry about creating a story with a beginning, middle, and end, this activity takes little time (only about a
minute to perform each commercial) and produces little stress. After each commercial, the members of the audience
would say whether or not they would buy the advertised item and why.
A more elaborate improv exercise for small groups is The Last Scene (adapted from Maley & Duff, 1982). In this
activity, the students must create the end of a story that involves props sitting on a table. The premise is that actors
have just run out of a theater, leaving the audience wanting to see the end of the play. The students must perform
the last scene with no information about the rest of the play. They look at the items on the table and must develop
the scene from there. The structure provided by this activity means that the students dont feel overwhelmed with
the idea of creating a skit from scratch. When my class did The Last Scene, the props I included were the following:
a Mardi Gras mask with purple feathers, a basket, a can of green beans, and a tape measure. The groups came up
with skits that differed drastically. For example, one group created a story about a pregnant woman at a hospital
whose mother didnt want to believe her daughter was pregnant. The frantic mother fanned herself with the
feathered mask; the doctor took the daughters blood pressure with the tape measure; and the daughter gave birth
to the can of green beans, which the doctor placed into the basket. In another group, a bandit wore the mask and
brandished the tape measure (with the tape extended) like a sword. I was very pleased with both their creativity and
their ease with English in this game.
Another activity, Slide Show, is structured differently in that it is a game where traditionally, all the actors work
together, but not everyone actually speaks. I modified this so that all students had to communicate to make the
activity work. In Slide Show, the actors (or sometimes the audience) choose a place and a relationship between two
people who have been on vacation and are now narrating a slide show about their trip. The other students then
become the slides themselves. While the two vacationers turn their backs, the others create a tableau (as
complicated and amusing as possible). Traditionally, the tableau is created in seconds with no conversation among
the actors. However, in my class, the students talked about how and why they wanted to arrange themselves;
frequently they disagreed and had to rearrange. For example, during one slide of Egypt, some students wanted to
depict belly dancing, but the others were trying to form a pyramid. This was a good exercise for improving language
because the students had to convince each other of the merits of their ideas and come to a compromise very
quickly.
First, Middle, Last is another improv game that focuses on the language and not the acting. Actors take turns placing
themselves in a row and saying a sentence. The next person must have a sentence that connects the people

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before him to those after. In the end, the actors and their sentences have created a story. One of the stories my
class created in this activity was about a flying elephant. When we tried this in class, we also practiced saying the
lines in different waysloudly, whispering, with actions, sadly, excitedly, and even in their own languages using
body language to show what they were saying.
The students looked forward to the days we devoted to improvisation games. They really enjoyed interacting with
the American drama partners, and they laughed a lot on these days. The affective barrier had been lowered: They
were more comfortable and less self-conscious speaking in English as a result.
To Create a Final Project (A Theatrical Performance)
Two and a half weeks before the end of the class, after having read the three plays, I presented the students with
the options for the final performance: perform selected scenes, present a play weve read, present a different play,
or write and present an original play. I was hoping for the latter, but I wanted to give the students a choice. I also
stressed that memorization wouldnt be necessary, because they could benefit from the play without the immense
stress of needing to memorize lines in such a short time. And as stated before, my focus for this class was on the
process of learning about drama in English, not on a professional-quality final performance.
The students debated the pros and cons of the various options. They wanted to do a play, rather than a series of
scenes. They wanted to do one they had already studied, rather than write one from scratch. Because Stranger in
Town had so many characters and because it wasnt a comedy, they decided against it. They liked Sorry, Wrong
Number, which would work well as readers theater, since it was written for radio. However, they realized that this
play has one main character and a number of very small roles. The students agreed that theyd rather have a play
with equal roles for everyone. The Romancers worried them because of the language, which is flowery and poetic.
The students feared that it would be too hard to pronounce and even harder for an audience of other ESL students
to understand. When I told them that they could modify the language to make it more modern, they decided that
they wanted to try it.
However, more than just the language in The Romancers needed to be rewritten. Only five characters have speaking
parts in the play, and there were six students in the class. Possible solutions to the dilemma of having an unequal
number of students and roles include turning one character into two and dividing his lines; having one or more
student take on backstage roles (lights, set, costumes, publicity), become the stage manager, or work as the
assistant director; writing in extra characters to accommodate the number of actors; or eliminating characters or
doubling up on roles when there are too

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few actors. The students in my class wanted to write a sixth character so that everyone could participate as equally
as possible. Therefore, we created a narrator who would introduce each scene and remain on stage in character
throughout the whole play, reacting nonverbally to the dialogue around her: This student played the wall that divides
the two families land. This was a very clever idea, for it is the fact that the two families are separated that draws
the young lovers togetherthe wall is the reason for the play! And Rostand, the playwright, has the characters
anthropomorphize the wall, talking about it as if it were human, which made it easy for the actress playing this role
to blush and drop her eyes during compliments and get angry when the parents talked about pulling it down to get
it out of the way.
Another issue with characters that came up was that most of the female students didnt want to play the male
charactersbut Rostand only wrote one woman into the play. So very quickly, the fathers turned into mothers and
the kidnapper became a woman. The casting then was simple: The students wrote down three characters they
would like to play, and fortunately the students didnt scramble for the same parts.
In the following class, we discussed how we wanted to rewrite the play. We first talked about the settingwhere
and when it should take place. I told them we could deviate from Rostands original old-fashioned France. There was
no group consensus, so I asked them to act out the beginning in two waysShakespeares time and modern days
and then decide which they liked best. After the two lovers tried to make it modern, acting like slangy teenagers and
talking about going to the movies together, the others decided that it didnt work as well that way and that they
should set it in olden days but modernize the language, keeping the ideas and the character motivations the same.
At this point, the students had just finished reading the play for homework, so we had not yet discussed how the
play ended. As we discussed Rostands happy ending, where the kidnapper hired by the fathers abducts the girl, the
boy saves her, and the parents pretend to be so grateful they allow their children to marry, the students expressed
dissatisfaction that it was so orderly and predictable. They had been expecting a funnier and more calamitous
conclusion. So I suggested that as long as we were changing the language and the gender of most of the characters
and writing in a part for the wall, we might as well rewrite the ending. They agreed, and after discussion, came up
with an excellent ideabecause the kidnapper is being played by a woman, why doesnt she fall in love with the boy
and kidnap him instead of the girl, which she has been hired to do? Then the girl must fight to save her boyfriend
from the clutches of this villainous woman who wants to take him away from her.
Pleased with the new outcome of the play, students started to work on modifying their dialogue. In pairs, they read
through a scene and decided what they wanted to change. Rewriting in this fashion asked them not just to

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integrate language skills but also to demonstrate comprehension and critical thinking. Each time they condensed a
melodramatic paragraph-long speech, the students proved that they had understood it so well that they were able to
summarize effectively. By using both a tape player and a video camera and with me working with one group at a
time and taking notes, we were able to catch the changes orally; later I listened to the tapes and typed up the
changes to the script, which I posted to the Web forum so that the students could access the most current draft
without waiting for the next class period to get a paper copy from me. (See Appendix A for examples of the revision
and http://lamar.colostate.edu/~sdodson for the entire rewritten script.)
The next day that we met, the students read through the scenes that they had modified and then continued revising
the rest. I met with the narrator individually to help her write her lines. In class, she worked with the lovers to help
them with their lines. The integrated-skills theme of this class continued through the end, therefore, because the
original reading assignment led to discussion and then to more reading and writing.
Then, with eight days left before the performance, we were ready to run through the entire play. This was a day
that our conversation partners were scheduled to work with the class, so we asked them if they would be our
extras and play the nonspeaking roles like the messenger and kidnappers henchmen. They were very happy to
help out (and fortunately, were also available the evening of the performance).
The last week was spent rehearsing and revising and taking care of details like set, props, and costumes. The
students did most of the work, shopping at a thrift store, loaning each other clothing and props. A volunteer made
swords out of cardboard and aluminum foil. The university theater department loaned us fake ivy vines to decorate
the sparse set. During the rehearsals, the students watched their classmates perform, suggesting other ways to
move and to speak. We also did a line-through rehearsal, where the actors sit in a circle and read their lines from
the script as quickly and loudly as possible. This helps to keep the energy up and to encourage the actors to pick up
on their cues right away. The students also planned an extra rehearsal the day of the show and met by themselves
in the room they were to perform in.
The day before the performance, a journalist from the student newspaper interviewed the class and wrote a very
enthusiastic article that was published in time for opening night. She interviewed some of the students, who
commented on how much they were enjoying the experience:
This is exciting for us . . . None of us have been in a play that was in English, explained the Peruvian, who
continued, The pronunciation is improving and it makes us feel more comfortable and secure when we are trying to
finish our complete sentences. When people ask me questions, I feel more pressure, but now (after working on the
play) I feel that I can do it, because we have fun; that makes it easier.

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The Chinese student explained that You get more practice . . . you can speak and act at the same time.
Approximately forty people attended the play, mostly IEP students and teachers. It took place in a large room at the
student center. The two doors to the hallway served as exits and entrances for the stage, and the set consisted of
a table covered with ivy, a stool for the narrator to sit on directly in front of the table, and a chair on either side of
the wall.
The students were nervous and excited. I had warned them before they went on stage that they would need to
pause whenever the audience laughed, but they gave me looks that seemed to say that they didnt expect that to
happen. Therefore, when the audience did indeed start laughing, the students were first surprised, then delighted.
Each burst of laughter from the audience seemed to boost the actors self-esteem, and they began speaking louder
and more confidently. By this point, many of them had memorized most of their lines, even though it was not
required. They still referred to their scripts on stage, but were familiar enough with the dialogue to also make eye
contact with the other actors.
The play was only half an hour long, and the time seemed to fly by. After the applause and the curtain call, audience
members came up to the actors individually and congratulated them. The students were very proud of their final
project and their overall performance in the drama class: They had demonstrated that they could understand and
use English in a variety of communicative ways.
CONCLUSION
On the teacher evaluation forms, students expressed their satisfaction with the class. They felt as if they had learned
a lot about the English language as well as the theaterand liked it. Additionally, they noticed improvement in their
affective factors, such as self-confidence. The anonymous comments included:
I had fun in this class because I enjoyed using English through the theater. I think is the way I dont feel shy.
However, practice in this class helped me more in my daily life.
I really enjoyed this class. It is surprising that it is easier for me to play in English than in Japanese.
And this class has a lot of fun. We have improved our pronunciation and performance ability.
I really enjoyed acting in was a big step for me. I feel that I gained confident in Speaking and I am more
enthusiastic and optimistic thanks to you.
Im very satisfied with this class. Because all of us can participated in all activities together.

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At first I ashamed to act or to speak loudly, but the play was interesting.
The teacher evaluations also included statements about the class and the instructor. Using a five-point Likert scale,
the students responded to the statements with agreement or disagreement. Representative statements include I
made progress in my study of English (average of 4.3 out of 5 possible points) and Overall, how would you rate
this course? (4.7 out of 5). Some friends of the students in this class also approached me to ask when I would be
teaching it again.
I feel that this class was successful because it offered a different approach to learning English, and the content
engaged the students. The frequent laughter kept the students comfortable speaking and in good spirits. Integrating
the language skills allowed us to take off in many directions and prepare the students for real interactions with
native speakers. They now have more knowledge of American culture and the conventions of communicating in this
country. Their literacy skills also improved, which will benefit them greatly as they begin university study. Because
the students so enjoyed the activities and were so proud of their play, they grew more confident in using English.
The students also grew more appreciative of each others cultures and more cognizant of American culture. Class
discussions about the themes and characters of the play were enlightening. The students and I clearly saw that we
do not all approach the idea of a stranger in town or picking the right person to marry or even the genre of drama in
similar ways, and we were able to talk about these differences without criticizing each others cultures. The students
also learned how conversations happen in English, developing an awareness of social niceties and discourse that
most had not studied explicitly before. Moreover, throughout the course we talked about various aspects of
American culture (in the contexts of the readings, the field trips, and what the improvisations brought to light) as
well as how Americans speak, including paralinguistic elements like body language, gestures, and proxemics, which
are perhaps as important to communicating as the grammar, syntax, and lexical items themselves (Wessels, 1987;
Black, 1999).
Overall, then, I would say that my objectives for this course were meteven exceededand I will continue to
incorporate drama and other communicative activities as I teach other language classes. After all, for language
students to benefit from drama, they do not need to take entire courses devoted to theater. Drama also has a place
in traditional language courses as well: I have seen that students enjoy pantomimes that elicit certain verb tenses in
grammar classes, role-plays that demonstrate comprehension in reading classes, and improvisation activities that
practice spontaneous speech in listening and speaking classes. (For more ideas on how to integrate theater
techniques into language courses, see Dodson [2000].)

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APPENDIX A: THE ROMANCERS, BEFORE AND AFTER
Here are some examples of how the students rewrote the nineteenth-century play to make the language more
accessible and the ending more engaging.
Original
Revised

Sylvette: Last month, when I came home from the convent, my father pointed out Sylvette: My mother always told
your fathers park, and said to me: My dear child, you behold there the domain me, Never come to this wall, and
of my mortal enemy, Bergamin. Never cross the path of those two rascals,
never speak to the boy who lives
Bergamin and his son Percinet. Mark well my words and obey me to the letter, or here. Im not allowed to see you,
I shall cast you off as an enemy. Their family has always been at bitter enmity
because my mother hates your
with our own.
family!
Original kidnapping scene:
Sylvette: The hour has struck. He must be waiting. ( Sylvette is kidnapped .) Help! Help!
Percinet: Great Heavens!
Sylvette: Percinet, they are carrying me off!
Percinet: ( Leaping to the wall) I am coming! (He fights the kidnappers and wounds them. Runs to Sylvette) Sylvette!
Sylvette: My savior!
Pasquinot ( Sylvettes father): Bergamins son! Your savior? Why, then I give you to him!
Sylvette and Percinet: Heavens!
Revised and extended kidnapping scene:
Patrick: I love sitting here at night. But Im so nervous right now! I hope Sylvette comes soon.
Sylvette: (appears on the other side of the wall) Patrick, Im here!
Susan (the kidnapper): (runs to Sylvette and puts a scarf over her head, gives her to Jacques, who holds a sword by
her throat) Patrick, Im here!
Pat: Sylvette?
Syl: Patrick! Help!
Susan: (jumps over wall and runs to Patrick) Dont marry hermarry me!
Pat: Marry you? Who are you?
Sus: Im Susan, and I have loved you since the first moment I saw you.
Pat: I dont love you. I love Sylvette!

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(Sylvette struggles with Jacques to try to escape)
Sus: Give me a chance! Im very talented. Im a kidnapper!
Pat: But do you like to read Shakespeare?
Sus: No, but I can fight with my sword.
(Sylvette escapes from Jacques, grabs his sword, climbs the wall to rescue Patrick)
Syl: Give him back to me!
Sus: No, first fight me. (Susan throws Patrick to Brutus, who holds him back)
(Sword fight between Sylvette and Susan. At first Susan is winning.)
Pat: Sylvette, save me!!
(Sylvette wins the sword fight by stabbing Susan, who falls down. Sylvette and Patrick hug each other.)
Sar: (comes rushing in to her side of the wall) Sylvette, what happened? Why are you on the other side of the wall?
Pau: (Comes rushing in) What happened?
Syl: That woman tried to take Patrick away! But I saved him!
Pau: You saved him?
Syl: Yes I did!
Pat: Yes she did! Shes my hero.
Syl: (to Paulette) Can I marry your son?
Pau: Lets ask your mother. Sarah, what do you think? Should we let them get married?
Sar: Yes, we should. I agree because my daughter really loves your son.
(Sylvette and Patrick hug and walk out, arm-in-arm. Sarah climbs over the wall.)
REFERENCES
Black, C. (1999). Dramatisation et gestuelle: Dcouvrir la culture-cible. The Canadian Modern Language Review,
55(4), 548555.
Byram, M., & Fleming, M. (Eds.). (1998). Language learning in intercultural perspective: Approaches through drama
and ethnography. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Commack, F.M. (1975). Language learning via Via. In: The Art of TESOL: Selected articles from English Teaching
Forum (pp. 167169).
Dodson, S. (2000). Language through theater: Using drama in the language classroom. Texas Papers in Foreign
Language Education , 5(1), 129142.
Dodson, S. (2001). Learning languages dramatically. MA thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

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Fletcher, L. (1948). Sorry, wrong number. New York: Dramatists Play Service.
Holden, S. (1981). Drama in language teaching . London: Longman.
Kao, S.M., & ONeill, C. (1998). Words into worlds: Learning a second language through process drama . Stamford,
CT: Ablex.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. New York:
Longman.
Lyle, L. (2000, April 27). All-female class overcome language barriers in reworked play. The Collegian, 3.
Maley, A., & Duff, A. (1982). Drama techniques in language learning . Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Porter Ladousse, G. (1987). Role Play . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rathburn, A.K. (1997). Taking center stage: Drama in America . Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Rostand, E. (1967). The Romancers. In Gassner, J., (Ed.). (1967). Reading and staging the play: An anthology of
one-act plays (pp. 92107). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Smith, S. (1984). The theater arts and the teaching of languages. New York: Addison-Wesley.
Spaventa, L. (1992). Stranger in town . Brattleboro, VT: Pro Lingua Associates.
Stern, S. (1980). Drama in second language learning from a psycholinguistic perspective. Language Learning , 30 (1),
7797.
Via, R. (1976). English in three acts. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii.
Wessels, Charlyn. (1987). Drama. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Whiteson, V. (Ed.). (1996). New ways of using drama and literature in language teaching . Bloomington, IL: TESOL.

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III
Practical Applications: Courses and the Curriculum

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11
The Arts and the Foreign-/Second-Language Curriculum: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Actively
Engage Students in Their Own Learning
Janet Hegman Shier
At a time when interdisciplinarity and the need to address multiple intelligences are gaining attention and becoming a
priority, arts educators are well positioned to take the lead in innovative practices. This chapter addresses the role of
the arts in teaching a foreign/second language (L2)1 and shares examples of pedagogical approaches developed in
the University of Michigan Residential College German Program that have modified the profile of an already
successful language program and made it a model for interdisciplinary education.2
Interdisciplinary work teaches us to look at a problem from multiple perspectives. If we study the culture of a
foreign country, for example, from the standpoint of connecting anthropology, history, and literature, we will pose
different questions than if we approach it from any one discipline alone. Interdisciplinary work involving the arts
offers students a new way of knowing, as they learn to discern abstract meaning and incorporate it into their own
expression.

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It is common for language (L2) learners to feel that they will never speak the language or never truly embrace a
second language as they do their own. Not surprisingly, this feeling may be reinforced unless curricula are designed
to specifically facilitate students desire or ability to engage actively in speaking activities. The range and scope of
arts assignments described here address this by providing a real-life context for language learning that addresses
different learning styles and promotes divergent thinking.
The arts provide a framework to address cognitive and affective aptitudes of the learner. They involve students
intellectually, emotionally, and physically and facilitate the development of skillful communication based on both
knowledge and personal experience. The arts can provide an array of assignments to remove blocks that impede
learning. Theater, in particular, with its built-in commitment to both process and product, provides an arena and
model for learning that increases students confidence to reach beyond individual limitations. At the same time, it
promotes students responsibility and desire to be actively engaged in their own learning process.
GETTING STARTED WITH INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK
Should individuals be engaged professionally in an activity outside their formal area of training? Quite
understandably, language teachers may be reluctant to begin incorporating arts, writing, or theater activities into
instruction, especially if they have little or no experience doing so. However, careful experimentation and deliberate
integration of the arts can be as eye-opening and rewarding for the teacher as it is for students. If you are thinking
about doing interdisciplinary work, you may want to consider certain issues. Who are the students? What are their
needs and your goals for them? How might bumps in the road of interdisciplinary work affect individuals or the
overall dynamics of the group, and how will you respond? How will you as the teacher maintain confidence as you
enter into new territory?
Teachers who take on the challenge of directing and producing a play often start out, innocently enough, believing
that a reasonably talented and committed group can handle staging a play. These teachers might make the
mistake of thinking that student theater is, by and large, a matter of (students) memorizing lines. Not surprisingly,
this usually leads to a student project with mechanically recited text and little value added. Because the success of
the endeavor grows mostly from the process students work through en route to the final performance, teacher
preparation is an essential, and potentially daunting, component. However, working with available resources,
participating in theater workshops, and attending rehearsals of a reputable theater

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company can give teachers the confidence they need to get started.3 (See also Lys in this volume.)
Colleagues are a particularly valuable resource in this regard. I strongly encourage a teacher who wishes to try
foreign-language theater or arts assignments for the first time to collaborate with someone experienced.
Collaborating is like putting on corrective lensesit can be hard and frustrating at first (as you give up some
authority), but ultimately it allows you to see things differently, and more clearly. Nothing prepares one for
interdisciplinary work better than discussing with or working directly with an experienced colleague.
INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE
It is from within the unique context of the University of Michigan Residential College (U-M RC) that I first began
branching out from teaching language and literature into theater, and eventually through multimedia theater to
other arts. The RC is a liberal arts college that was established in 1967 as an alternative living-learning unit. RC
classes, professors offices, and art and music studios are in the same building where students are required to live
their first two years. The RCs climate is conducive to interdisciplinary work. Cross-fertilization between fields is
supported by the administration, and faculty members are encouraged to explore new directions that integrate
collaboration, research, and teaching. My own experience teaching German through the arts to promote language
learning and social responsibility has been enhanced by consulting and working with colleagues from the programs
in Drama, Studio Arts, Music, and Social Sciences.4
Interdisciplinary arts activities make up an integral part of the RC German Program, applied in ongoing projects in
classroom instruction and through our performance company, RC Deutsches Theater (DT). The Company has staged
over twenty German-language plays since 1985, ranging from original student-written works to full-length
multimedia productions of plays by twentieth-century playwrights.5
The first play project grew out of a long-standing tradition for RC second-year German students to stage a cabaret,
just before the proficiency exam, to allay their fears of the exam and put their learning in perspective. In 1984,
students presented a reduced version of Derrenmatts Besuch der alten Dame (1956) to other students in the
program in an informal manner, using minimal props. Although that first production bore little resemblance to the
multimedia projects staged by DT today, it was that project that led to DT becoming an annual public event. What I
share here grew out of years of trial, reflection, and adjustment.

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PUTTING STUDENTS LEARNING CENTER STAGE: THE PROJECTS OF THE U-M RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE
DEUTSCHES THEATER (DT) COMPANY
The primary goals of DT are to improve the German of participants, enhance their awareness of German-speaking
cultures and their literatures, and provide an opportunity for others to witness German in action. In all these areas
the ongoing project has been successful. Through interpretation and performance of roles, students improve in areas
of language mastery that are otherwise not easily addressed in foreign-language instruction. These include accent,
intonation, expression of emotion, gesture, speech rhythm, and tempo. Beyond language mastery, intimacy with a
text enables students to gain an understanding of aspects of the target culture, which is reinforced through the
overall interpretation and staging of the play.
One of the most important aspects of the projects of DT is the cooperation among students. Students from different
levels and with different abilities work side by side. Typically, the cast is made up of approximately half veterans and
half new ensemble members. Often a cast includes students whose experiences with the company were in four or
five separate productions. This has made DT a learning forum for students that extends beyond the project at hand.
THE REHEARSAL PROCESS: DEVELOPING AN ENSEMBLE
The emphases in Deutsches Theater are on placing process over product and building an ensemble, in which
students can learn to give careful consideration to social-political implications of their actions on stage. Plays
selected for study reflect these emphases of the Company, ranging from epic theater of Brecht, highlighting
contradictions in human behavior, to GRIPS Theater (childrens political theater) that advocates for childrens rights
and is critical of German societys Kinderfeindlichkeit (hostility towards children) (Hachfeld, 1971) to feminist plays
by contemporary Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek (1980), which explore clichs and stereotyped gender roles.
In order to better understand the anti-illusionist epic theater style of acting and performance of Deutsches Theater,
students study montage, research twentieth-century European cabarets, and read and discuss Brechts writings on
theater. They do several art assignments, such as mask-making, set, costume, and T-shirt design, and they keep a
journal containing written responses to scenes and creative writing assignments.
In class, students learn a variety of ways to present an idea on stage, including mime, use of music, and multimedia
presentation. In recent years, DT participants have been guided through a series of workshops on story-tell-

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ing, status games, exercises in image theater, and theater of the oppressed in order to help them become familiar
with theater techniques (Boal, 1979, 1992). Participants also spend two months reading plays together (aloud)
before there is any consideration of casting.
The rehearsal process, rooted in repetition and experimentation with expression, helps make the L2 learner
comfortable using the target language in the relatively uncharted waters of performance. I encourage students to
use rehearsal to solve problems and make decisions based on their own experience and aesthetic judgment. Every
class/rehearsal begins with a vocal and physical warm-up, which prepares the mind and the body for action and
helps students rid themselves of stress that could make them otherwise unable to focus. Theater games, such as
those found in Bernardis Improvisation Starters (1992), Scher and Verralls 100+ Theater Games (1975), and
Spolins Improvisation for the Theater (1963), help students develop self-discipline, concentration, trust, and the
confidence to use the target language spontaneously. Acting becomes the main focus, with hours spent
experimenting with the infinite ways to deliver a line or even a single word.
THE METHOD
Since the early 1990s, DT has followed Brechts Lehrstck (learning play) model for rehearsal, a sort of collective
artistic exercise ( kollektive Kunstbung) in which actors rotate through all roles in a play. This gives students a
chance to present and see different roles with a variety of interpretations. They experiment with their voices, socially
significant gest ( Gestus) and critical attitude or stance ( Haltung) and then discuss what sense each demonstration of
a scene lent to the presentation itself. Students sometimes request that the actors on stage repeat part of a scene,
sometimes just to see it again, and sometimes to incorporate a new idea or insight that has arisen from the
discussion.6 This puts the emphasis on process over product.
Often, long segments of rehearsal are devoted to one small portion of text, demonstrated in a number of ways, with
individual students jumping in to replace other students in order to try something new. By participating in such scene
work with different ensemble members, students/actors become less dependent on a particular persons
interpretation, gestures, rhythm, and accent. When not on stage running through a scene, they become audience
members, scribbling in their portfolios, sketching what they have seen, and learning to describe objectively how it
looked.
REFLECTIVE PRACTICE
The use of portfolios7 in the rehearsal process helps discourage students from jumping too quickly to reach
consensus with each other without first

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struggling with ideas on their own. Much like artists, students rely on their portfolios as a safe place to explore
current ideas and a way to return to old ideas that may resurface with a new meaning at some future time. Their
portfolios contain notes, sketches, rough ideas, reactions, and also reflections on their own learning process that in
turn provide me with insight into that process and a means to intervene.8 Students portfolios are a source for ideas
about set and costume design, program cover design, or slides to project during scenes. Portfolio entries often spark
discussions in class and inspire new scene work. A concrete example of the benefit of our theater laboratory is that
students become more objective in their work. The words I liked and I didnt like disappear from students
critiques as they comment on what they have seen on stage and as they learn to articulate constructive criticism,
which serves as a basis for further exploration in scene work.
DEVELOPING IDEAS FOR THE PRODUCTION
I have learned never to underestimate the importance of work leading up to play selection and production.
Discoveries made in workshops and portfolio entries can often help determine what material is appropriate for
performance. It can be difficult to find a play suitable for a given group of students and for a local audience.
However, creative work can help overcome what might otherwise be perceived as limitations. Recently, Deutsches
Theaters limited group size (made up of six women and three men and several actors recruited for small speaking
and nonspeaking roles, all of whom were easily recognizable in their roles) made it seem impossible to stage a scene
that called for a massive army to burn down a town. Rather than abandon the play, we considered a number of
possible solutions, including the use of shadow theater to create the effect of an army, using puppets. In the end,
we decided to project graphic slides depicting poverty and war in contrast with slides of wealth and waste, as a solo
performer danced slowly across the stage and through the audience waving two red silk cloths. The performance
demonstrated the power of the scene and provided a poignant aesthetic interpretation of some of the seductive
devices behind waging war to increase the wealth of a few.
Innovations that grow out of the rehearsal process often find their way into final performances, a reminder that this
is process over product. Another way of saying this is that although the final performance is a culmination of the
process with its own value, parts of the process left behind are at least as important to the students experience
toward L2 mastery. For example, in performances of Brechts Ausnahme und die Regel (Brecht, 1967) three actors
rotated through the three major roles, establishing the role change by exchanging one costume element while in
view of the audience. This helped reinforce the anti-illusionist nature of the performance

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and drew the audiences attention not to individual characters but, more generally, to demonstrated behavior.
Experimentation at rehearsal with three actors simultaneously demonstrating the role of the judge in the same play
led to all three playing the judge in performance, with each demonstrating a different aspect of that characters
behavior using exaggerated and grotesque gestures. These and other devices were used to make the audience pay
close attention to the ideas presented on stage. Overall, the performance underscored Brechts desire that actors
and audience learn to think critically and act on what they see.
All this notwithstanding, we have assumed a more aggressive posture toward social awareness and made our
productions over the last decade benefit productions. DT performances have attracted large audiences and raised
thousands of dollars for charity and collected food for local shelters. I mention this because just as it is important for
students to see relevance in what they are doing, so it is meaningful for students to see consequences of their
efforts.9
THE ROLE OF THE INSTRUCTOR
My role in the rehearsal process as a teacher/director becomes one of balancing between times when I lead and
guide students toward a new way of thinking and acting and times when I just facilitate their own exploration and
development. Each Deutsches Theater project grows organically out of the ensemble. This latter aspect of directing
is perhaps the most rewarding and the most challenging. An ensemble effort has far greater significance and value
on every level than a solo effort determined by a directors preconceived production concept.
The teacher/director must distinguish between product as L2 learning and product as performance. Ironically, by
giving ownership of the latter to the student/actor, improved mastery of L2 becomes a result. Just as the
student/actor must cast off constraints to become an effective speaker of L2, the teacher/director must be able to
give up control to make the successful transition from guiding to facilitating. When and how to do this is a
combination of instinct and experience, but a high regard for students abilities and talents is a necessary and almost
sufficient ingredient. A teacher/director who is respectful of both process and performers will ultimately improve the
product, both the performance and a successful student outcome.
RESULTS OF THE PROCESS
The method of inquiry used by DT leads to students having a sense of pride at how far they are able to develop
their ideas as they work within an environment that fosters creative and critical processes as both individual

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and collective events. By midsemester, all students participate as members of an ensemble who have become more
discerning about their work, more technically adept as actors, more willing to take risks, and more capable of fitting
all aspects of the production to suit the meaning of the performance on stage. By the end of the third month, they
are ready to perform before an audience.
It is up to Deutsches Theater participants to ensure that all aspects of the production (e.g., dramaturgical notes in
the program, costuming, masks, set, properties, lighting, projected slides, music, movement, chanting, audience
participation) are used appropriately as aesthetic means to promote greater awareness of social injustices presented
on stage, without creating illusion. Both the rehearsal process itself (with inherent lessons on observation) and the
attention students give to production details contribute to students level of performance and to their poise and
ability to field questions and engage the audience in further discourse in postperformance discussions. The
performance, in this regard, although important, continues to be just part of the overall learning process for its
participants. By the time a play opens, students are eager to demonstrate their ideas, to spurn audience members,
to recognize social contradictions, and to question the consequences of their own behavior. As Brecht envisioned it:
The theater becomes a place for philosophers, and for such philosophers as not only wish to explain the world, but
wish to change it (trans. Willett, 1974, p. 80).
As one might expect, the experience of performing a play helps with pronunciation and spontaneity, and from what
we have already seen, incorporation of nonperformance arts into the process enriches the experience by including
elements of culture and history. As students awareness encompasses art, social awareness, and performance, their
L2 skills are developing rapidly. What was unexpected, and most rewarding to me, is the degree to which students
use L2 on the set outside of character and dialogue, but very much within the context of the rehearsal process.
Through the paradigm of L2 theater, students often assimilate the target language and target culture, and use L2
spontaneously and purposefully, purely as a means of communication with each other about the project at hand.
SCULPTURING
When working on the scene Das Mahnwort from Brechts Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches (Brecht, 1967), a
group of actors played teenaged Hitler Youth. Their characters were to discriminate against one member of the
group (whose family, we surmise, did not support Hitler). In order to better understand how one characters power
over another can be demonstrated, we devoted some rehearsal time experimenting with ways to demonstrate high
status and low status through gestures, behavior, and voice quality. We also

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did some useful nonverbal work with group sculpture to get at different ways to physically demonstrate power and
vulnerability.
In the group sculpture exercise, one sculptor physically poses students in relationship with each other to
demonstrate a theme such as power and then invites the last remaining student to make changes to the sculpture,
before the two sculptors join in. Next, each student takes a turn at stepping out of the sculpture. As a final step,
students discuss what they learned about power and vulnerability from the exercise and what they might try
differently.
MAKING TRANSITIONS
These exercises were valuable in helping students to understand the scene intellectually, but their usefulness seemed
to vanish as soon as we returned to performing the scene itself. Students were not able to incorporate what they
had experienced in the exercises into their scene work. Each time they reverted to demonstrating their roles in the
same caricature-like manner, demonstrating the behavior of SS men and not thirteen-year-old Hitler Youth.
In this scene, the Hitler Youth ridicule the outsider, when suddenly a group leader enters the room. All rush to grab
their gas masks (except the outsider who does not have one) and line up for roll call. We had done scene work on
this many times, but on the day when I finally brought actual gas masks to rehearsal, a true alienation effect
occurred. The students playing Hitler Youth grabbed the gas masks, put them on and began quite genuinely and
naturally playing with them. They butted each other with their gas masks as if they were bulls whenever the group
leader wasnt looking, they stroked their masks affectionately and did anything to attract attention to themselves.
(They were having so much fun that I actually had trouble getting their attention.) Suddenly, the entire group
realized that, as repulsed as we all were (as individuals) at the atrocities that occurred during Nazi Germany, it
wasnt until the students caught themselves playing as youth in the gas masks that they understood the scene on a
new level. Even more haunting were the feelings of the outsider, who said that, on that day, he felt truly excluded
by the others and was aware of both himself and the character he was demonstrating.
THE USE OF MASKS
Speaking a foreign language, in and of itself, is like donning another mask. DT grew, in part, from an awareness that
the mask of an actor can give the L2 student freedom to experiment with L2 in ways that would otherwise have
been constrained. In Deutsches Theater, student/actors regularly experiment with masks (and in some semesters
mask-making) as one way of understanding ways to demonstrate a role in the Brechtian sense. Masks can be an

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important way for a student to experiment with a role from behind a mask other than their own.
People are often surprised to hear that students participating in a play or doing an art assignment feel more
encouraged to experiment in German than they would be in their native language. I see this when students write
poetry in German and tell me that they would never have the confidence to do so in English. There is not the same
degree of personal self at stake. There is safety in hiding behind a mask, knowing a that mask is temporary and
can always be removed.
The ultimate goal in participating in a foreign-language play or in doing any creative act such as writing a poem in a
foreign language is to improve ones language skills. The more one wears a mask to learn a languageI mean this
both literally and figurativelythe more integrated with the mask one becomes. Ultimately, the mask itself may
become only a metaphor for making other.
BUILDING ON INTERDISCIPLINARITY
As Deutsches Theater projects became more ambitious and involved more integration of visual arts, music, and
movement, there was a change in dynamics in the play production seminar. We were no longer doing theater just
for languages sake. We were also doing theater for theaters sake.
I began experimenting more with theater in my other language classes and discovered that similar benefits could be
achieved there, in both first and second year. Despite the relative inexperience and diversity of the first- and secondyear students, they responded to simple theater games and visual arts assignments (such as creating and/or
describing something round or with holes or describing differences between two self-portrait paintings by an artist).
Often I have students in lower-level courses do creative assignments that will familiarize them with vocabulary used
in a play being studied by the Deutsches Theater ensemble. For example, students at all three levels (first, second,
and third year) may study a piece such as the Brecht/Weill opera The Seven Deadly Sins , but each group will have
different related assignments. Beginning students may create a collage of images and words related to one sin. More
advanced students may each write a poem, a short prose piece, or an essay related to one of the deadly sins and
draw or collage a self-portrait that exaggerates his/her own personal favorite sin.
The theater production of RC Deutsches Theater became just one focal point toward which other arts-related
activities in the program led. First- and second-year students activities in class have become the first step down a
road toward involvement in the Deutsches Theater play production, but integrated arts assignments continue to be,
first and foremost, geared to improving classroom dynamics (creating ensemble), freeing students up for

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personal expression, making students more flexible as they approach tasks, and ultimately improving L2 mastery.
Thus, despite an apparent shift in emphasis toward theater, and increased incorporation of arts in general, we
remain focused on the original goal of language learning, and it has become an even more impressive outcome of
our projects.
For language teachers, the real value of introducing both nonverbal arts assignments (which can involve theater,
movement, or visual art) and verbal activities that develop communication skills (e.g., theater games, art critiques,
or writing assignments) can be in opening up a new way of getting at meaning that may ultimately free the learner
to new or more sophisticated ways of expression through the target language.
IMPROVISATION: EDUCATION FOR THE WHOLE BODY
The first thing I do in any class is have students establish an empty space (Brooks, 1984). The empty space (often
in the middle of the room) rids the classroom of the look and feeling of rows, which focus attention on the teacher
instead of on the learners. This creates a small arena in which to develop an ensemble feeling unencumbered by
desks. I start small, introducing physical and vocal warm-ups as early as the third week of first-year German. All
participants can see each other, and the space is ready for action. The empty space becomes a meeting ground for
students to embark on a cooperative learning exercise involving writing or analysis of a painting, or a space that
allows me to better interact with individual learners. I have found that the process of physically entering the empty
space becomes a ritual for actively engaging in learning.
Often the empty space is used for improvisation activities, which keep students alert and fit for participation. An
activity may take as little as two minutes, yet have a positive impact on the rest of the hour. It can be used to begin
a class (to set the tone), in the middle of a class (to energize students and more actively engage them), or at the
end of a class (to finish on a positive note). The unpredictable course of action and dialogue in improvisation
challenges students to adapt their speech and actions to suit the context being created, yet it allows them to
determine the direction of the improvisation at the same time.
Improvisation gives students practice they need to develop spontaneous speaking skills and greater fluency, but it
has value beyond this in its capacity to facilitate an environment for language learning. Many theater games are
whole-group activities, and although some group members may not at first understand enough of the game or the
language to participate fully, the nonrigid nature of improvisation exercises allows all students to engage at their
own pace and on their own terms. Through frequent participation,

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students develop the personal techniques and skills necessary for the activities themselves. Students are free to
watch and listen to others and determine when and how they themselves will participate. The pressure is off the
individual student, and the burden is on the group as a whole to make the activity successful. Unlike many other
classroom activities, students cannot predict what will happen next. They give and get ideas from one another and
gain confidence from taking small risks participating. Playing out an activity becomes as natural as being on a dance
floor, watching others dance, and coming with ones own new moves. In this regard, even nonverbal activities that
allow students to explore meaning and express the self without being limited by the confines of language can be
valuable as a context within which they can learn more about verbal expression.
CURRICULAR STRUCTURES LEADING TO PERFORMANCE
Over the years, I have developed a systematic approach to incorporate theater and the arts on a regular basis in
first- and second-year classes that includes (1) improvisation, (2) imaginative writing, (3) guided rehearsal and
performance of dialogues and dramatic texts, and (4) visual arts activities such as museum visits, critiques of fine art
and art production (e.g., student-produced collages). Each of these aspects has its own set of goals and emphases,
but it is through interconnecting all four that learners have the most to gain. Through improvisation (warm-ups and
theater games), students increase their flexibility with the language. Improvisation forces students to concentrate, to
improve their memory, and to stretch their imagination. In practicing imaginative writing (from Haiku to poetry to
short prose to dialogue), students gain access to speech patterns and ways of expression that fulfill their own
personal needs for communication, something which is often completely absent from traditional textbook or teacheroriented instruction. Through guided rehearsal and performance of original and existing texts, students are exposed
to aspects of the target culture (e.g., history, appropriate expression of emotion) and eventually realize the range of
linguistic benefits that are a focus in Deutsches Theater (Shier, 1995). Finally, the arts can provide a way of bridging
the gap between classroom and culture, both the students own culture and the L2 culture (Shier, 1993).
The 300-level play production seminar, from which Deutsches Theater projects stem, now has a context within
which it can itself grow and which it in turn feeds. Because students/actors in Deutsches Theater have almost all
gone through the first- and second-year RC German program, their attitudes and behaviors are now somewhat
defined by the time they arrive in that course. Students entering the play production seminar approach that course
with higher expectations more characteristic of seasoned and disciplined

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artists. They are actually conditioned for the course (more fit for learning) when they begin.
A DIFFERENT WAY OF KNOWING
Research in the areas of drama therapy and arts therapy suggests that the body and physical sensations can provide
a way of knowing that goes beyond what we verbally understand. However, drama therapists report that adult
conditioning leads more and more to use of verbal language and less reliance on and comfort using the body for
communication. They speak of awakening the body/self or of recapturing the expressive use of the body as a
means of communication (Landy, 1995; Pearson, 1996).
Ironically, this reported emphasis on verbal communication poses a serious challenge for the adult (college-age)
student learning a foreign language. The adult learner has become increasingly reliant on verbal skills, but in the
mother language. Worse yet, even if the learner seeks to break out of this constraint by recapturing the body, it is
one no longer familiar. As Cooper (1996) reports, We suddenly find ourselves inhabiting a body that we no longer
understand (p. 18). When discussing nonverbal expression, Cooper goes on to say:
Our body is our self. We cannot run or hide from it, although of course we do and wish to. We strive to be like
someone else. We dont dare to look at ourselves. We wear many masks. By becoming aware of our bodies through
movement we are able to slip off the masks and affirm our individuality. (p. 25)
This is remindful of the association that students make between physical activity and comfort in the L2 classroom
environment described earlier. However, in the L2 classroom, our objective is not to get away from verbal
communication but to get away from being inhibited while doing so using a nonnative language. Indeed, activities
like mask-making, arts activities, rehearsal, and performance, can provide a bridge to temporarily being the other
self that Cooper alludes to, and thereby a bridge to L2 mastery.
OTHER WAYS TO COME AT THE WHOLE BODY
The whole person is addressed when students have an opportunity to learn through theater or visual arts
assignments. For example, in a second-year German class, my students study autobiographical literary and visual
work by German-speakers from a range of backgrounds in the twentieth century. After studying photomontages by
Weimar artists, students try their own hand at making collages. When funding allows, we bring in a German artist to
work directly with students on this project.10 As a follow-up to two class sessions

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spent in the art studio, working on collages focused on issues of identity, we set up a gallery of the students work.
Each student writes a poem, story, or essay based on the collage of another student on the first gallery visit. I
provide side coaching (in German) as they work: Think about posing some of your ideas as questions. Can you
use more vivid adjectives? Can you come up with a metaphor for what you are saying? How about introducing
another character who offers a different perspective? Students submit their writing about another students work
for me to edit, as well as a journal entry about their own work. On the second gallery visit, we hold a critique and
discuss art works one by one, taking as much time as necessary to discuss each work. As a final step of each
critique, the artist is invited to remark about what has been said and to share his/her own perceptions about the
artwork.
REACHING AND TEACHING ALL STUDENTS
It may come as a surprise that highly verbal students seem to have as much to gain from arts assignments, if not
more.11 Mark was a second-year German student who was bright, perceptive, critical, and always had something to
contribute to class discussion. Whenever Mark learned that we were about to do an assignment requiring
imagination, such as an in-class imaginative writing assignment, he groaned quietly by way of protest. As someone
who was accustomed to being in control of anything that he was supposed to learn, Mark dreaded assignments that
called for the use of imagination and feared that he would not succeed.
For the collage assignment, Mark spent the entire time in the studio cutting out red lips. While other students were
looking through magazines for photos and text, shouting out to each other (in German) when they needed
something, laying out potential compositions, and consulting with me, Mark sat there silently, cutting out lips after
lips. I couldnt help thinking there was something cathartic about his cutting out mouths, since speaking was clearly
his own preference over nonverbal communication. I never saw him working on his collage beyond this.
Mark approached me with excitement when his collage was ready. He asked me to read his poem about it, adding,
I really like it. It was a breakthrough for Mark to want to share something as threatening to him as original
creative work. As vulnerable as he must have felt, he was now signaling to me how much his work meant to him. I
read the poem and made a few suggestions. We negotiated some changes, and he improved the piece. Our dialogue
helped Mark refine his work and express exactly what he wanted to say.
Mark later told me that he had avoided doing anything remotely related to art since grade school, when everyone in
his class except him was selected for the gifted art class. (He remembers how his teacher sent him away from the
table where he had been working alongside the other students.) Mark is a

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perfectionist who is beginning to take risks in his learning after years of playing it safe. As someone who is quick to
judge, it is natural that he feared criticism and judgment of his own creative work. In working with Mark I was
cautious, but direct. I promised him that he would not be humiliated. Marks experience working with the arts helped
him release tension and ultimately freed him up. He appreciated and respected the work others did and learned that
good work often takes time to develop. He experienced firsthand the importance of not trying to control the path
creativity takes.
Marks biggest fear remains fear of failure. As he gains confidence in his creative abilities, he will grow to understand
that there is really no such thing as failure. The creative process teaches one that what may seem like failure is a
point in a learning continuum that can lead to a much better solution. Creativity, in itself, is problem solving.
At the other end of the learning spectrum from Mark in any given group are students who dont seem to find a way
to participate in class comfortably no matter what the assignment. Jo was a student who could only laugh nervously
whenever she was called on in class. I discovered that Jo blossomed on creative assignments. She created a
sophisticated, politically charged collage that stimulated lively discussion during the second class gallery visit during
which students critiqued each others work. Whereas Jo was often distracted in class, she focused carefully on each
word students uttered about her collage (in German). For the first time she spoke up in class, articulating slowly but
surely her intentions with her art work; she was delighted that others had seen what she was trying to show in the
work and relishing the recognition by her classmates that she could do something. She later felt comfortable making
comments on works we had read and even commenting on points raised by others. Her experience in that class was
a personal turning point. It was also a turning point for the class as her peers made a conscious effort to include her
more in the group.
One sometimes learns after the fact that students have a learning disability or personal problems, which prevented
them from doing well in a given class or in a given semester. In such cases, arts assignments may provide a way to
break from whatever prevents students from learning L2. The chance to work on an art assignment gives students
license and even incentive to get back on track. The arts have the capacity to bring out aspects of personality and
emotions that may have been buried after years of holding back rather than risking a wrong answer.
RESULTS OF INCLUDING THE ARTS
Students working on arts assignments learn to work cooperatively and become more comfortable with the teacher
and with each other. Because they are physically involved, that is, using more of the body, in their own learning

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process, they become more invested in their learning. They grow less self-conscious, yet more aware of what they
do, and begin communicating with greater sophistication, confidence, spontaneity, and, ultimately, accuracy. The
teacher who enters into a relationship with students as an artistic guide/mentor witnesses students enter a new
world as they explore self-expression. Students in the middle of a creative process tap into depths of personal and
emotional experience that can provide individual significance and value to their creative work. I have found that
students never abuse days devoted to any form of art production or critique. Such activities rejuvenate a group and
engage every learner.
It takes both structure and flexibility to establish an environment in which students can learn the vocabulary of selfexpression. A teacher who uses creative arts assignments in language learning becomes increasingly aware of
assessing individual students needs and designing assignments to best fit the learning needs of the group. I am
careful to build art assignments into the syllabus, but I dont hesitate to introduce an assignment that is not spelled
out in the syllabus. Ive learned that when a class is not productive, when faces are long or students appear
disengaged, it is sometimes better to enter the empty space of improvisation described earlier. A three minute
theater warm-up, a group critique of a painting projected by the overhead projector, a short imaginative writing
exercise, or a nonverbal assignment in which a pair creates a sculpture out of clay based on a poem can refresh a
group and get it back on task, working more effectively as an ensemble.12
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN TEACHING AND LEARNING CULTURE
When we experience the arts, we both understand and dont understand (Silvers, 1978). What we understand is
based on our subjective experience. What we dont understand we begin to make sense of as time and our
perceptions change, partly in response to the art we are experiencing. This correlates with the very process of
language learning.13
An artistic product, although it has value in and of itself, is not finished when it comes into existence. The tendency
for art to show and to exemplify, and the fact that we interpret art, make it rich with multiple references (Silvers,
1978). In the L2 classroom, these may bring out different points of view and serve as a springboard for lively
discussion. All students can begin to interpret an artwork on some level.
In a museum assignment, I often ask students to describe, in writing, a painting they like and one they dislike. In
doing the latter assignment, I ask them to spend twenty minutes just looking at the painting without writing a word.
They often describe the painting they disliked as one they came to know and grew to like. The very process of
understanding seems linked to their acceptance of the artwork. It is important to note that as we look at art,

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it is never just a matter of taste but rather a matter of increasing our understanding and informing our judgments.
Liking is an important value in American culture and can be directly linked to understanding something. Liking is also
related to what we think we do best. Just as a piano student practices pieces he/she knows best, so the language
learner (and often the teacher!) tends to practice what he/she already knows best. Of course we know that it is the
other areas that need the most practice. By establishing a comfortable setting that is geared to promoting
participation of all students, pressure is off the individual students to accomplish this on their own. Students become
accustomed to switching gears and learn to accept that they will like some activities more than others. They are able
to stay on task in areas they like and areas they dont like, sustained by the energy of the group.
In coming to know a language, students must become accustomed to thinking and communicating on their feet.
Students experience in school is fragmented, and they often sit as isolated learners in their classes. When we ask
students to share ideas about an artwork or ask them to enter into performance with others or to create their own
artwork, we open the door for personal expression. In doing so, we invite students to participate in different ways
and on different levels of learning. If critiquing a painting, for example, some students will prefer to discuss formal
aspects of an artwork, others will invent a story, and yet others will comment on emotions invoked.14 It is important
to provide content and strategies that encourage students to emulate the different possible ways of expression found
in art in their own responses using the language they are learning.
DIRECTING STUDENTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING
There is a potential pitfall in any cross-curricular L2 teaching approach involving the arts if the arts are integrated
only peripherally with no consideration of the curriculum. In such a case, the arts may serve only as a pleasant
diversion, and they will likely provide little more than the Pygmalion effect (people will perform better if they know
they are being watched) or the Hawthorne effect (people become more productive if any variable in their work
changes (Ley and Kauschansky, p. 107). It is important to integrate arts assignments in a way that is purposeful and
deliberate and reflects awareness of standards and priorities set by arts educators.
Many arts educators believe that there are four disciplines that should be included in an arts curriculum: Art History,
Art Criticism, Aesthetics, and Art Production.15 Ideally, it is through study of all these that one can truly begin to get
at the meaning of art. These four disciplines provide a fertile intersection of theory and practice and the impact of
including them in L2 instruction can be profound.

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Art History, Criticism, and Aesthetics provide meaningful content in the classroom. They are mediated by language,
and their study might include assignments involving listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing.
Assignments in Art History help develop research skills and deepen students appreciation of civilization and cultural
differences. Art Criticism, Aesthetics, and Art Production refine students skills at interpreting and push students to
go beyond initial reactions. Study of Aesthetics raises philosophical questions about the meaning of art (i.e., What is
Art?, How is Art?, and even Why is Art?) and make students feel intellectually challenged. When I pose the question
What is Art? to students at the first-year level, following several short oral assignments critiquing paintings, I am
often amazed by the sophistication students display in their attempts at answers. The process of searching for a way
to express what they want to say gives students practice stretching their minds and improvising in a way that
develops discourse strategies.
Art production is particularly useful as a medium for language learning. Through the production of art (as image,
text, sound, movement, or any combination thereof), students have the opportunity to direct some of their own
learning. Assignments involving art production invite students to let their personal talents come to bear in the
learning process. Creative work makes room for style, an important component in personal expression that is often
sacrificed in language learning.
I have found that awareness of the four disciplines of arts education described here can help structure drama and
visual arts assignments to improve reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills at all levels of the curriculum. The
four disciplines of arts education also reinforce emphases in our theater company, Deutsches Theater. Through
studying plays and becoming familiar with major theater journals, students learn about art criticism, theater history,
and aesthetics, all of which are critical to dramaturgy. Through rehearsal, technical work (set and properties design,
costuming, slides for production, T-shirt design, and program design), and performance, students focus is on
aesthetics and art production.
The range of possible emphases for arts education and the potential for designing and implementing an array of
assignments related to the arts promise access to learning for students with a variety of learning styles, natural
abilities, and preferences (Shier, 1993). When meaningful communication takes place in the context of L2 learning,
students feel that they are invited to share their thoughts. Their focus is no longer on learning language, per se, but
on using language as a tool.
COOKING WITHOUT A RECIPE: USING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS
My work in theater and the arts has converted me into a teacher who facilitates students first attempts to take
responsibility for their own learning.

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I believe that this is the single most important factor in my students success. It is also what allows their learning to
continue long after their days in my classroom have passed. Students enthusiasm about our projects and the
change in the classroom environment prompted me to start giving workshops and presentations. I found that
language teachers were hungry for what really works in the classroom, but they wanted a recipe (for a product) they
could take into the classroom on Monday morning. At workshops, I always give plenty of recipes, but I know that
recipes dont work unless the right ingredients are there, starting with the attitudes and expectations of both the
teacher and the learner.
Students and curricula vary, so before recipes were copied and passed around, it became equally important that
teachers had a chance to cook with what they already had on hand, modifying recipes, as needed. Of course, the
only way to show this to teachers was to have them follow a general recipe so that they would have a starting point.
My workshops quickly gained a reputation of being physical and intense, full of group Ahas. I have heard from
individual teachers that my workshop made them stop and think about their role in the classroom. They wanted to
change, for themselves and for their students.
It is important to cook at least occasionally without a recipe, so I challenge teachers in my workshops to take
something new into the classroom every day, because this, in itself, will guarantee that learning will take place, for
teachers as well as students! Teachers who learn to skillfully integrate interdisciplinary arts and language
assignments can make students (and themselves) aware of the value of moving beyond what they already know or
feel comfortable with.
SUMMARY
Interdisciplinarity has a wealth of virtues relevant to providing a learning environment that will foster student
success. These include increasing student interest and motivation, encouraging multiple perspectives in approaching
challenges, and a better framework for addressing multiple intelligences. The arts as a discipline provide a uniquely
rich set of attributes in this regard, especially when combined with second language learning. The significance of
integrating the arts into the L2 curriculum goes beyond making students familiar with the visual, literary, or
performance art of a second culture and extends to pedagogical strategies to reach all students.
Interdisciplinary work in the arts has given me values that have been useful for working with students at all levels of
the curriculum. From working in the arts, I have learned how and why it is important to get students to just start
doing . I give them a framework and support for their work and allow them time, space, and sometimes their own
way to approach problems. They use

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their portfolios (as an artist would) as a testing ground and a place to reflect on their work and their learning. I
encourage them to be serious and honest about their work, and I try to remove any sense of threat that they will be
judged harshly as they are taking risks exploring new ways to express themselves.
By expanding the language curriculum to include interdisciplinary work in the arts, we provide meaningful content
and a context for learning and we model the type of risk-taking we wish to encourage in our students. A curriculum
that integrates the four disciplines of arts education in a coordinated program will find that study of each discipline
supports understanding of the others and that any and all combinations of these areas merit exploring. Teaching a
language through the arts can get students (and teachers) moving intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and quite
literally, bodily, to more holistically facilitate learning.
NOTES
1. In this chapter, L2 stands for foreign and second language.
2. Many of the ideas here are refinements of ideas presented in workshops, at conferences, or in previous
publications. See J. Shier (1990, 1993, 1995).
3. For resources on directing second-language plays, see A. Maley and A. Duff (1979); J. Shier (1995); S. Smith
(1984). For excellent resources on improvisation and directing, see Bernardi (1992); Boal (1979, 1992); Brooks
(1984); Johnstone (1992); Rosenberg (1990); Scher and Verrall (1975, 1987); Spolin (1963).
4. This includes team teaching with members of the Drama Program, Martin Walsh and Kate Mendeloff; working on
two bilingual productions of plays (staged in German by Deutsches Theater and in English by students in the
Drama Program, under the direction of Martin Walsh); developing collage projects in collaboration with Ann
Savageau and students enrolled in Design, and consulting with Jane Heirich (Music) about original music
compositions (my own and students in Deutsches Theater). In addition to this, funding from the Goethe Institut
has made it possible to bring in experts to give workshops and provide training in movement, mask making, and
speech performance. As an extension of this, DT has been involved in outreach efforts with area elementary and
high schools, giving workshops and performances off campus.
5. For more information about the RC German Program and RC Deutsches Theater, visit our Web site at
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jshie.
6. The 6 musical Lehrstcke written between 1928 and 1930 were intended as a sort of experimental laboratory for
actors learning methods of epic theater. There is often an assumption that conveying a moral was Brechts goal
with the learning plays. Suvin (1990) points out: (Brechts) enmity toward Weltanschauung, a systematized
doctrine, and his insistence on a learning that, using theatrical means, engages the whole body uniting emotion
and reason. . . . Learning meant a critical appropriation of a way of thinking, of a method, incarnated in the
players Haltung (p. 23). Though the plays are didactic in nature, the real instruction (Lehre) comes from the
experience students gained from experimenting at rehearsal. The play Das Badener Lehrstck vom Einverstndnis
(Brecht, 1967), for example, features chanting, choral response, a clowns act, ritual, slide projection, audience
participa-

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tion, and a dance of death. Working on the play provides training for the actor both as actor and as audience
member.
7. See Bruer (2000, 16780) for more information on the use of portfolios in the foreign language classroom.
8. The use of portfolios in our program reaffirms findings at Harvard and elsewhere on teaching and assessment.
For over thirty years, Harvards Project Zero has conducted research on art education and its relationship to
development and learning. Developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a codirector of that project, has
challenged currently accepted standards for measuring intelligence, which recognize only verbal and numerical
intelligences (or academic intelligences). According to Gardners (1983) theory of multiple intelligences, which
have served as a basis for demanding curriculum reform since the mid-1980s, standard measurements of
intelligence are often inadequate, because they fail to recognize non-academic intelligences. Arts PROPEL, a
spin off of Project Zero, studies students portfolios to trace how the integration of production, perception, and
reflection (three processes that are critical to artistic creation) can provide us with clues to help erase
differences between teaching and assessment. The findings of these initiatives and others suggest flexibility in
addressing the needs of students (Camp and Winner, 1993; Davis, 1993, 1994; Winner and Simmons, 1992;
Wolf, 1989).
9. It is appropriate for language programs to promote awareness of global issues beyond those covered in
textbooks and beyond those directly related to the language of study, in this case, German. Fundraising efforts
of DT are often directly linked to themes in productions. A benefit production of antifascist scenes by Brecht, for
example, raised funds for war victims in Bosnia. A DT production that focused on mans destruction of the
environment raised funds to help stop the slaughtering of endangered Eastern Plains Lowland Gorillas in the
Congo.
10. Funding received from a Year of the Humanities and the Arts (YoHA) grant made it possible for students to
work with Berlin installation artist Rolf Wojciechowsky. Wojciechowsky demonstrated special trompe loeil
techniques using photocopying, gave a public lecture on the beauty of the ordinary found object, and led
students on a tour of an installation by himself and local Ann Arbor Artist and RC Fiber Arts Instructor Ann
Savageau at the Washtenaw Community College Art Gallery. He then worked with students on their own collage
boxes. This is an example of how to integrate art production into a series of related assignments.
11. I have found this to be true in the play production seminar as well. In that course, students literally learn to
walk and speak German at the same time. In movement workshops, the most verbal students try to hide in the
back row, which incidentally makes them more noticeable. By not drawing attention to them, I find they grow
more comfortable and less self-conscious during the workshop and ultimately work their way more towards the
front line. The process of moving freely seems to have the effect of oiling a frozen machine. Students not only
loosen up physically, but seem to simultaneously open up their voice. Perhaps the way to view this is that they
come with their own voice but learn through theater and movement to speak with an other voice, which
ultimately opens up choices for expression with their own voice. In many separate instances, I have witnessed
healing that occurs with working in arts.
Whether working with students on theater, art, or imaginative writing assignments, it is sometimes useful to
share research on learning styles or on creativity with them if they seem to resist the creative process. There
are several good resources in English for this. Some of the best Ive found are Nachmanovitch (1990), Lamott
(1995), and Goldberg (1990, 1998).

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One of the most useful books Ive found to help students understand their own learning style is K. Butler
(1987).
12. Experience gained from directing develops ones skills in teaching and assessment. The directors task to get
actors to communicate effectively in performance directly parallels the task of the L2 teacher. Just as I have
learned subtle ways to get students to perform better on stage, I have been able to apply that skill in the
classroom and better reach individual students. In terms of assessing, directing gives teachers practice
discovering wherein the problem lies (when students/actors are not communicating effectively) and finding a
way to address this.
13. Several studies of the visual arts have dealt with the languages or symbol systems of art. They have stressed
the cognitive nature of art and have identified specific features of the way the arts communicate knowledge and
feelings. Art historian Rudolf Arnheims (1969) writings contain some of the first and most detailed discussions
of how art provides a different way of knowing. See also Goodman (1976).
14. Art historians refer to emotions involved in the aesthetic experience as tempered or denatured (because the
emotion is intellectualized) or even as inverted (i.e., we welcome some works despite their arousal of
emotions we normally shun). For good discussions about emotion and cognition in art, see Broudy (1978,
1983); Goodman (1976); Parsons (1986); and Silvers (1978).
15. The movement that pushed for inclusion of these four disciplines in arts education is known as the disciplinebased arts education movement. It started up in an effort to bring about curricular reform in arts education in
order to rid the arts of their second-class status in the curriculum due to their relegation to affective learning.
The type of struggles the arts have had in establishing a permanent place in the curriculum is one all too
familiar to language programs and, as such, language educators have something to gain by looking at how arts
educators have fought to keep their status in the curriculum. See Dobbs (1992), Smith (1987), and Clark, Day,
and Greer (1987).
REFERENCES
Arnheim, R. (1969). Visual thinking. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Bernardi, P. (1992). Improvisation starters. Cincinnati: Betterwood Books.
Boal, A. (1979). Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Urizon Books.
Boal, A. (1992). Games for actors and non-actors. London and New York: Routledge.
Bruer, G. (2000). Portfolio learning. In G. Bruer (Ed.), Writing across languages (pp. 167180). Stamford, CT:
Ablex Publishing.
Brecht, B. (1967). Gesammelte Werke . Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Brooks, P. (1984). The empty space. New York: Atheneum.
Broudy, H. (1978). On cognition and emotion in the arts. In S. Madeja, (Ed.), The arts, cognition, and basic skills. St.
Louis: CEMREL, Inc.
Broudy, H. (1983). A common curriculum in aesthetics and fine arts. In G. Fenstermacher, & J. Goodlad (Eds.),
Individual differences and the common curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Butler, K. (1987). Learning and teaching style. Columbia, CT: The Learners Dimension.
Camp, R., & Winner, E. (1993). Arts PROPEL: A handbook for imaginative writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project
Zero and Educational Testing Service.
Clark, G., Day, M., & Greer, W.D. (1987). Discipline-based art education: Becoming students of art. Journal of
Aesthetic Education 21(2), 129193.

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Cooper, D. (1996). Beginning with the body. In J. Pearson (Ed.), Discovering the self through drama and movement:
The sesame approach (pp. 1726). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Davis J. (1993). The Co-Arts assessment handbook. Cambridge, MA: Project Co-Arts. Harvard Project Zero.
Davis J. (1994). Beyond school walls: Challenges to collaborations between public schools and community arts
centers. Arts Education Policy Review 95(5), 1214.
Dobbs, S. (1992). The DBAE handbook: An overview of discipline-based art education. Santa Monica: Getty Center
for Education in the Arts.
Drrenmatt, F. (1956). Besuch der alten Dame. Zrich: die Arche.
Gardner, H. (1973). The arts and human development: A psychological study of the artistic process. New York: John
Wiley & Sons.
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
Goldberg, N. (1990). Wild mind: Living the writers life. New York: Bantam Books.
Goldberg, N. (1998). Writing down the bones: Freeing the writer within. Boston: Shambhala.
Goodman, N. (1976). Languages of art. An approach to a theory of symbols. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.
Hachfeld, R. (1971). 3mal Kindertheater. Mnchen/Frankfurt: Verlag Heinrich Ellermann.
Jelinek, E.(1980). Ballade von drei unwichtigen Mnnern sowie dem Personenkreis um sie herum. In Die endlose
Unschuldigkeit (pp. 1648). Mnchen: Schwiftinger Gallerie Verlag.
Johnstone, K. (1992). IMPRO. Improvisation and the theatre. London: Methuen.
Lamott, A. (1995). Bird by bird. Some instructions on writing and life. New York: Anchor Books.
Landy, R. (Ed.) (1995). Essays in drama therapy. The double life. London and Bristol, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Ley, R., & Kauschansky, M. (1985). The 4 Rs: Readin, riting, rithmetic, and the right hemisphere. A review of the
application of the brain hemisphere. A review of the application of the brain laterality model to education. In A.
Sheikh & K. Sheikh (Eds.), Imagery in education (pp. 89112). Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing.
Madeja, S. (Ed.). (1978). The arts, cognition and basic skills. St. Louis: CEMREL.
Maley, A., & Duff, A. (1979). Drama techniques in language learning: A resource book of communication activities for
language teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nachmanovitch, Stephen. (1990). Free play. Improvisation in life and art. Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher Inc.
Parsons, M. (1986). The place of a cognitive development approach to aesthetic response. Journal of Aesthetic
Education 20(4), 107111.
Pearson, J. (Ed) (1996). Discovering the self through drama and movement: The sesame approach. London: Jessica
Kingsley Publishers
Rosenberg,C. (1990). Praxis fr das Bewegungstheater . Theater Spiel, Bd. 7. Aachen: Meyer & Meyer Vlg.
Scher A., & Verrall, C.(1975). 100+ ideas for drama. London: Heinemann Educational Books.
Scher A., & Verrall, C. (1987). Another 100+ ideas for drama. London: Heinemann Educational Books.
Shier, J.H. (1990). Integrating the arts in the foreign/second language curriculum: Fusing the affective and the
cognitive. Foreign Language Annals 23(4), 301316).

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Shier, J.H. (1993). The arts for languages sake: Bridging the gap between classroom and culture in the foreign and
second language learning experience. Perspectives in foreign language teaching , Vol. 6. Keynote address,
Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and Literatures, pp. 2139.
Shier, J.H. (1995). From the page to the stage: Creative speaking in foreign and second language instruction.
Perspectives in Foreign Language Teaching. Vol. 8. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference on the Teaching of
Foreign Languages and Literatures, pp.145167.
Silvers, A. (1978). Show and tell: The arts, cognition and basic modes of referring. In S. Madeja, (Ed.), The arts,
cognition, and basic skills (pp. 3150). St. Louis: CEMREL, Inc.
Smith, S. (1984). The theater arts and the teaching of second languages. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
Smith, R. (1987). The changing image of art education. Theoretical antecedents of discipline-based art education.
Journal of Aesthetic Education 27(2), 436.
Spolin, V. (1963). Improvisation for the theater: A handbook of teaching and directing techniques. Evanston:
Northwestern University Press.
Suvin, D. (1990). Brecht: Bearing, pedagogy, productivity. (Paper abstract). Communications from the International
Brecht Society 19(1), 25.
Willett, J. (Ed.). (1974). Brecht on theatre . New York: Hill and Wang (2nd ed).
Winner, E., & Simmons, S. (Eds.) (1992). Arts PROPEL: A handbook for visual arts. Cambridge: Harvard Project Zero
and Educational Testing Service.
Wolf, D.P. (1989). Portfolio assessment: Sampling student work. Educational Leadership 46(7), 3539.

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12
Performing Brecht: From Theory to Practice
Franziska B. Lys, Denise Meuser, John Paluch, and Ingrid Zeller
INTRODUCTION
In a time when interdisciplinary, cooperative, and project-oriented learning is promoted as a better way of engaging
and teaching students (Bruer, 2001), this project allowed us to incorporate current pedagogical thinking into our
teaching practices. The production of Bertolt Brechts Der Ozeanflug (1967, pp. 407409, 565585) in German was
a collaborative project between the Departments of German and Theatre at Northwestern University.1 Our goal was
to provide foreign language instructors and students with a multidimensional academic teaching and learning
environment that would not only help unfold an interest in reading drama but would encourage the use and
production of language in a meaningful and culturally significant way.2 The Brecht project was divided into two
parts: In the classroom portion of the project, students read Brechts Lehrstck (didactic play) Der Ozeanflug. They
discussed the social and cultural background of the play and learned

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about Brechts ideas and writings concerning theater. In the hands-on portion of the project, students focused on the
stage production of the play. During an intense five-week rehearsal, they experienced firsthand not only the process
of theatrical practice but also how to work collaboratively and supportively with each other and with their
instructors. The result was a unique artistic effort, aptly illustrating Langhams (1983) premise that a drama has to
be experienced, not just read and analyzed.
There is all the difference in the world between literature and drama. A plays sound, music, movement, looks,
dynamicsand much moreare to be discovered deep in the script, yet cannot be detected through strictly literary
methods of reading and analysis. (p. 8)
The following sections illustrate how this interdisciplinary theater production came about. We begin by describing the
main collaborators and proceed to outline the pedagogical reasons for undertaking the project. Then we explain why
we chose the Brecht play and chronicle the day-to-day work, which is divided into classroom tasks and hands-on
production tasks. Aspects that are discussed include the structure of the project within the context of a course, the
specific topics that were covered in the class, and the experience of being immersed in theatrical practice. An
important part of performing is the audience and its reaction to the play. We therefore describe our outreach efforts
to the university community, to the community at large, and to other German classes and schools. We also provide a
description of the techniques we employed to make a German play accessible to a largely English speaking audience.
Finally, we describe the budget and fundraising efforts, and we conclude with evaluative and summarizing remarks.
PEDAGOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE PROJECT
Recently, perhaps provoked by the many advances in technology, there have been interesting discussions about new
approaches for teaching and learning that emphasize interdisciplinary, collaborative, and project-oriented tasks. In
an article entitled From Teaching to LearningA New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education, Barr and Tagg
(1995, 1617) challenge American colleges to redefine their goals and shift from an instruction to a learning
environment. In a learning environment, they continue, the mission is not to transfer knowledge from faculty to
students, but to elicit student discovery and construction of knowledge; it is not to offer courses and programs
but to create powerful learning environments. The primary responsibility for faculty, then, is to take on the role of
designers of learning methods and environments and to work in teams with students to create collaborative and
supportive tasks. We felt that incorporating theater into the

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foreign-language classroom helps promote a shift toward creating a learning environment where the emphasis is on
interaction, cooperation, and language use. Firstly, theater makes the text come alive when students begin
physically interpreting the action, choosing one gesture over another or solving a synchronization problem. Secondly,
theater challenges body, spirit, and mind and heightens determination and enthusiasm. Thirdly, theater provides
intense language practice. And finally, theater provides language instructors and students alike with infinite options
for extensions and variations to start a dialogue, to continue a discussion, or to determine a new perspective.
In designing this project, we outlined specific objectives to maximize language exposure and practice.
Provide an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach for students and instructors. Interdepartmental ties
between instructors and students were created during the entire course of the project. There was not one
instructor responsible for the classroom work, but seven: Some were specialists in pedagogy and language
instruction, some in Brechts work and theories, and some in theater production. They all shared their knowledge
and worked together to plan the course, to present lectures, as well as to advise and assess students. A secondyear MFA (Master in Fine Arts) directing student directed the production. Other graduate and undergraduate
students from the Theater Department were in charge of lighting, scenic design, costume design, and video and
music production used for the staging. The actors were German and Theater undergraduate students.
The play brought instructors and students together. Students supported one another in their attempts to master the
text or to define a role. They were learning by doing and creating lasting relationships at the same time. The
director made a point of eliciting and incorporating suggestions from both students and instructors in staging
decisions. In order for the project to meet our objectives, it was crucial to include the vision of the entire group.
Provide a multidimensional approach to learning. In planning the course, we took a multidimensional
approach. Language students at the elementary and intermediate levels rarely have the time to cover one text or
cultural topic in detail. As instructors strive to teach all the grammar points and give students a sampling of the
literature and culture, there is little time for in-depth explorations. Staging the play provided the course with a
context in which students could discover the multifaceted nature of the play. Communication channels were left
open; the students were not simply being lectured to but were actively involved. In this way, students had the
opportunity to move beyond the text, to live the language, and to respond to it intellectually and emotionally.

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Combine culture, literature, and drama. The project clearly expanded the boundaries of a traditional
literature course. The classroom segment included lectures, films, slide presentations, and discussions with guest
speakers that sought to provide the students with important historical background information. Covering the
culture and society of the Weimar period and the biographies of Bertolt Brecht and Charles Lindbergh established
the base from which the students could approach the play as a text. It was, however, in the studio space that the
students interpretations of the text were questioned and discussed anew. They were encouraged to find gestures
and to use the intonation that they believed conveyed the meaning of their words. They soon realized the
challenge of depicting and conveying the meaning of a scene. They learned how to interpret the plays action in
various ways, to improvise, and to emote, but perhaps most importantly, they learned that a written text had a
life of its own that went far beyond what can be seen on a page.
Use German in a meaningful and communicative context. Certainly the most pervading of reasons for the
project was engaging all participants, students and faculty alike, in speaking German. German served as the
language of communication for all lectures, discussions, and rehearsals. Not only were students constructing a
knowledge base of Brecht and the traditions of theater practice, they were at the same time using their German
language skills in productive and meaningful interactions. For example, students learned the German terms used
in stage direction not simply as part of a vocabulary list but because they needed to know how to approach the
stage and where to stand.
CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE PLAY
One of the main difficulties involved in such a project is the selection of an appropriate play. Not only were we
limited by the time frame given to us for the staging (rehearsal time including the technical week in theater is usually
five weeks), we also had to take the skill levels of our students into consideration and the makeup of our audience.
Students in the class had little or no acting experience and were intermediate-mid or intermediate-high speakers of
German according to the OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) scale. This meant that the length of the play could not be
much more than an hour and the language would have to be at or near the level of proficiency of the actors. We
expected that many of the people in the audience would not be German speakers. In order to entice them to attend
a German production, we had to carefully consider the content of the play: a subject the audience would be familiar
with and a playright they could identify. We chose Brechts didactic play Der Ozeanflug.
The version of the play Der Ozeanflug as it is performed today first appeared in the year 1949. Since its initial
publication in 1929, it had

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undergone a series of decisive changes. Conceived originally as the radio-play Der Lindberghflug, it was written for
the chamber music festival in Baden-Baden in 1929 with the motto: Music for the Radio in the Age of Technology
for the Masses. Kurt Weill and Paul Hindemith, both of whom shared Brechts interest in experimental art forms and
his fascination with the newest achievements through technology, composed the music for the cantata. Set for four
voices (tenor, baritone, bass, alto), chamber choir, and chamber orchestra, the piece was based on Charles
Lindberghs historic, first nonstop, solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21, 1927. It drew specifically on
Lindberghs personal account of the flight in his book We (1927) describing the flight as a feat not accomplished by
only one man, but with the help of a machine and a community of people.3 In addition to the musical performance
on May 27, 1929, Brecht staged a memorable scenic concert during the course of the festival. He intended to
illustrate pedagogical uses of the radio by making a representative listener part of the performance and having that
listener repeat" the flight by singing the pilots part himself/herself. The radio as communicative device was meant
to open new possibilities for mediated experiences and to facilitate the cooperation between the group and the
individual. The final version of the play was produced in 1949 when the Sddeutsche Rundfunk asked to produce
the piece and Brecht agreed, but on the condition that all references to Lindbergh, who had become known as a
Nazi sympathizer, be erased. Brecht also wrote a prologue to be read before the play to remind the audience of
Lindberghs fate and the fact that despite his courage and competence he would not be proclaimed a hero in this
play. Recent performances of the work have focused on its pedagogical aspects for the radio and its possibilities for
productions on television and theater with and without music and in the context of using multimedia.
In choosing the play, we foremost liked its accessibility. The play is comprised of short scenes that are introduced by
titles that announce the action. Thus, actors and audience know what to expect of each scene. Within each scene,
the text is straightforward. The vocabulary used in the work is, for the most part, readily understood. The language
used in Scene 3 presents a good example of the linguistic complexity of the play. In this section, the pilot introduces
himself and lists the items that he will carry with him on the flight (translation provided by the authors).
Vorstellung der Flieger und ihr Aufbruch in New Introduction of the pilots and their departure from
York zu ihrem Flug nach Europa.
New York upon their flight to Europe.
Die Flieger
The Pilots
Mein Name tut nichts zur Sache.
My name is not important.

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Ich bin 25 Jahre alt.
I am 25 years old.
Mein Grovater war Schwede.
My grandfather was a Swede.
Ich bin Amerikaner.
I am an American.
Meinen Apparat habe ich selbst ausgesucht.
I chose my machine myself.
Er fliegt 210 km in der Stunde.
It flies 210 kilometers an hour.
Sein Name ist Geist von St. Louis.
Its name is The Spirit of St. Louis.
....
...
Ich wage es.
I will risk it.
Ich habe bei mir:
I have with me:
2 elektrische Lampen
2 flashlights
1 Rolle Seil
1 length of rope
1 Rolle Bindfaden
1 ball of string
1 Jagdmesser . . .
1 hunting knife . . .
Because the play does not pose a great linguistic challenge, the student actors were able to quickly memorize their
parts with accuracy and fluency. The play also has a limited number of roles and, as in many Brecht plays,
incorporates a chorus. This fact was vital from a practical standpoint as it allowed flexibility in casting. We did not
expect a large number of students to enroll in the class because such a performance project called for a great time
commitment on the part of the students and required a solid background in German. The director took Brechts goal
of involving every actor literally; each of the students played the role of the pilot as well as other characters, and all
made up the chorus. The flexibility of the play and the few directorial guidelines allowed the director a great amount
of freedom of expression in her artistic interpretation of the work.
ORGANIZATION OF THE PROJECT
Once the play Der Ozeanflug had been chosen, the question remained how to integrate the preparation for the
performances into a context that would be most beneficial to the students. We decided to offer a 300-level seminar
for students in their third or fourth year of language study. The course was divided into two sections. During the
first four weeks, we emphasized literature and language in order to familiarize students with the author, work, and
time period. In the remaining five weeks, the focus was on theater and on the preparations for the actual
performance.4
Brecht in the Classroom
The first four weeks consisted of two ninety-minute classroom sessions per week. Our teaching methodology
included lectures, discussions, video pre-

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sentations, and language practice by following pedagogical suggestions we found in writing on Readers Theatre.5
We covered a variety of topics (biographical background on Brecht, the Weimar Republic, media theory, the theory
of epic theater, Charles Lindbergh and his life, and Brecht in American theaters), and we read the play.
The teaching was conceived of largely as a collaborative effort. All instructors involved were responsible for
organizing one session or preparing one specific topic. Not only did this give the instructors the chance to focus on a
subject that they had expertise or special interest in, but it also allowed for a welcome distribution of the teaching
responsibilities among a group of people. In addition, two guest speakers delivered talks, one from the Department
of German, and one from the Theater Department. The students responded positively to this arrangement and
appreciated hearing several perspectives or viewpoints.
Session 1: Introduction and Auditions. During the first class session, the project was presented and the
structure and expectations were explained. The director discussed her objectives regarding the play. She had
taken a number of third- and fourth-year German courses, spent the summer in Germany with a Goethe-Institute
program in Dresden and Berlin, and had expressed an interest in directing a play at Northwestern University in
German. We felt that she was fully capable of conducting rehearsals in German. She had also observed some
significant differences between the theater tradition in Germany and the theater tradition in the United States, and
one of her goals was to make one tradition aware of the other and thus to enrich the way theater is approached
in each respective country.
In the same week, we held regular theater auditions. The students who had registered for the course knew
simply that they would be involved in the performance of the play, but not what form their participation would
take. The auditions were held to give the director an idea of how much experience the students had and who
could potentially be cast in which part. In preparation for the auditions, the students had practiced a selected
monologue in English, which they were required to perform during the audition. They were then asked to read a
scene from the actual play in German while being given specific directions by the director. On one occasion, the
director asked a student to expand his acting range by asking him to read the line from the play in which the pilot
introduces himself as a very shy person, then to read it again and to pretend to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. The
results were striking and impressive. Changes with regard to pronunciation, gestures, volume, and confidence
were immediately noticeable. These techniques were representative of the additional dimensions that working with
theater professionals opened up for language students.

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Session 2: Biographical Background on Brecht and Historical Background. The next session was used to
determine the students knowledge of the history and politics of the first half of the twentieth century and to
relate this knowledge to biographical information about Brecht. Together with the instructor, the students
constructed a time line of historical and political events in the twentieth-century. After a general discussion of the
period, students added information about Brecht to the time line. The information was taken from two short
biographies of Brecht. During the session, students were also asked to present very short excerpts from Brechts
biographical statements, letters, and interviews (1968, 1979).6 These statements were given to the students
without context. Students read the texts and, in discussion with the group, attempted to determine what the
context of the statement was and how it fit into the overall historical and biographical framework, which they had
just discussed. The session ended with a short video, which presented Brecht and his literary accomplishments.7
The following discussion centered around the city of Weimar and its history. Because the idea for Der Ozeanflug
was first conceived in 1927, information on the historical and political background of the Weimar Republic was
particularly emphasized. The students became acquainted with this complex and rich period through textual
accounts ranging from diary entries and reflections by Kthe Kollwitz (1968), to tables of the rate of inflation
(Schulze, 1982) and texts describing the activities of Rosa Luxemburg und Karl Liebknecht (Schulze, 1982). In
addition, slides of the city of Weimar and of the many significant personalities who shaped its cultural history were
shown. Because Weimar was also the cultural city of Europe in 1999, the year our project took place, the
discussion on Weimar culture was charged with particular relevance for German history.
Session 3: Media Theory. A further topic for discussion was media theory and technology. One reason why we
had found the idea of producing Der Ozeanflug intriguing was because the media, new technology, and its
power played a most important part in it. This, in turn, also left a lot of room for creative experimentation with
technology during the production. In the center of the play is a man who tries to conquer nature and the elements
through technology and through the power of the machine. In 1927, the radio as well as the airplane were still
relatively new inventions and were the targets of great fascination, expectation, and reflection. To understand the
latter context is vital to an interpretation of the play, as symbols such as the airplane and the radio abound and
represent decisive aspects of the piece. During the lecture, students learned about the media during that time and
about Brecht in the context of media theory. They also learned about the play

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and its history and its initial function as radio play, musical cantata, and as a performance experiment in the
context of a media revolution. Slides were shown to illustrate these points, including a photograph of the initial
performance of the radio play Der Lindberghflug as well as paintings by German artists of the time period such
as George Grosz.
Session 4: Readers Theater. At the beginning of the third week, students and instructors read the piece for the
first time together in the forum of a Readers Theater presentation. Readers Theater is a technique used in support
of greater awareness of literature. There are many styles of Readers Theater, but nearly all share the following
characteristics:
There is no full memorization as students read from the script.
Student actors wear no or only partial costumes suggestive of the role they are playing.
There is no stage, no sets, merely simple props to aid in performing.
The narration provides the framework for the dramatic action.
Readers Theater is frequently used to serve as a key tool for creating interest in reading. We used Readers
Theatre techniques as a convenient and effective means to present Der Ozeanflug in dramatic form. This highly
productive session was also a crucial one in the context of an interdisciplinary course. It provided an effective
bridge between literature and theater, between reading the play and acting in it, and between theory and
practice. Students and instructors were given cards designating which parts they were going to read, and
proceeded to read the play. This first reading helped develop an understanding of the content and action in each
scene and also created a unique sense of community. In addition, the techniques employed in Readers Theater
were also representative of Brechts vision for creating a communal performance experience that is characterized
by limited advance preparation on the part of the readers. It is meant to inspire a unique awareness in the
individual in that it allows for a surprise factor and a distancing element regarding what one is presenting.
Session 5: Epic Theater. During the third week of instruction, students were introduced to Brechts concept of
epic theater and his didactic play or das Lehrstck. The lecture began by briefly presenting the themes and key
characteristics of Brechts early plays. Students then read short selections of Brechts writings concerning Epic
Theater (Brauneck, 1982; Raulfs, 1983). These excerpts allowed students to understand how Brechts stage
changed and became instructive. Some time was spent on defining significant terminology such as
Verfremdungseffekt (alienation effect) and Dialektik (dialectic). The students learned about

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Brechts new approach to theater in which the spectator becomes less empathetic and more critical. A comparison
between the traditional dramatic form of the theater and his concept of the epic form helped students understand
the theories related to didactic plays and the artistic decisions made by their director concerning the production.
Session 6: Radio Theory and Early Versions of the Play. In the subsequent session, the students were
further engaged with Brechts ideas regarding radio theory and were introduced to different versions of the play. A
brief overview of the history of Der Ozeanflug since its conception in 1927 included a presentation of decisive
changes regarding the media involved in each version as well as variations in content. The lecture emphasized the
circumstances surrounding the first performance of the play as the radio cantata Der Lindberghflug with music
composed by Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill. Activities during this class included listening to and comparing the
Weill and Hindemith settings of the original musical performance. The students were provided with musical scores
of the cantata and sang selected parts the way Brecht had intended for his audience. This gave them the chance
to experiment with the piece as a radio play in the context for which it had been composed and to develop a
clearer understanding of Brechts motivation behind Der Ozeanflug. Thus, it acquainted the students with
Brechts experimental approaches involving the media, the radio, and the music, which also targeted a collective
awareness in accordance with Marxist convictions. Finally, a video of an operatic TV-production of the play ( Der
Lindberghflug: Eine Rundfunkoper, 1993) was shown as an example of a production of the play.
Session 7: Charles Lindbergh. In this class session, students were introduced to the Lindbergh family starting
with Lindberghs ancestors who had emigrated from Sweden in 1859. The presentation continued with a chronicle
of Lindberghs life from his birth in 1902 to his nonstop flight to Paris in 1927, to his death in 1974 at the age of
72. We discussed Lindberghs fame, his personal tragedy marked by their first childs kidnapping and death, and
his controversial ideology as an isolationist during World War II that cast a black shadow on his accomplishments
throughout the rest of his life. Most of the material presented in class was based on Scott Bergs biography
Lindbergh (1998) and on information on various Web sites.8 Students were also introduced to quotes and relevant
passages from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Her Life by Susan Hertog (1999) and from Under a Wing: A Memoir by
Reeve Lindbergh (1998). Some of the passages in Brechts play, notably the list of items Lindbergh carried with
him on the transatlantic flight, can be found in Lindberghs personal account of his experience called We (1927).
Stu-

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dents had a chance to compare Brechts version with the original text. The lectures were also accompanied by
excerpts from various documentaries detailing Lindberghs preparation for the flight, the flight itself, his arrival at
le Bourget Field near Paris, and his triumphant return to the United States.9
Session 8: Brecht in American Theaters. As a transition from the focus on the history of the play to the
rehearsal process and the actual preparation for the performance, a faculty member from the Theater Department
discussed the staging of Brecht in Germany and the United States. He illustrated the previously introduced
concepts of epic theater by providing insights into acting methods. He also showed slides of Brecht productions
and talked about set design. This allowed the students to understand the theories in context and served to
reinforce them through examples of actual practice. At this point, the director of the play was able to share her
interpretation of the play and the artistic decisions that had been made up to that point with regard to stage
design. She explained that, in accordance with Brechts theories, the individual and the hero would be deemphasized. All of the actors would play the role of the pilot at one point or other. She also showed a model of
the set, which included a cloud design in various shades of blue on a white background, a model of the airplane
Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the ceiling and a chair with a radio on it in the middle of the stage. Based on the
information introduced during previous sessions, the students were now able to understand the function of each of
these symbols and were ready to move from the classroom to the rehearsal space.
Brecht on Stage
During the remaining five weeks, the goal was to engage the students intensively with theatrical practice and to
provide a forum for the acquisition of a basic performance vocabulary. The group met four times a week for three
hours in the rehearsal room or the theater. The rehearsals typically consisted of a warm-up phase that lasted
approximately half an hour, a run-through of selected scenes, and specific work on individual scenes. It was during
this time that the students worked actively with the language, became comfortable with their lines, analyzed
respective meanings, and worked creatively on expressing the contents of the play.
Each rehearsal began with the warm-up activities. They were a substantial part of the process as they provided
dimensions that are important for any language learning activity, but are not generally considered an integral part of
a language class. They were geared to stretch the body, to work on coordination and on breathing, and to dispense
with inhibitions. These exercises lowered the affective filter and transitioned the students into using their whole body
as they began interacting with the text.

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In order to work on the individual scenes most effectively, one of the German instructors was always present to help
with pronunciation and questions of language use. Sometimes the intonation of a certain scene inspired additional
interpretative questions about nuances and potential meanings of the linguistic structure. By participating in the
rehearsal process, the instructors were able to experience the effectiveness and versatility of theater techniques.
Much of the action of the play consists of the pilots dialogue with forces of nature such as water, fog, snowstorm,
and sleep and his struggle to survive the encounters with them. The director encouraged the students creativity by
asking them to pretend that they were among these forces. One student was asked to pretend that she was the
force sleep and to think of gestures she would use while reading the respective lines to make the pilot sleepy. This
activity encouraged her to use the language in a very specific context and to associate it immediately with certain
movements of her body and with appropriate and meaningful gestures. We found that the intensive work on
individual scenes as part of a whole provided an effective means in allowing students to develop a clearer grasp of
the complete work.
Technical Week
Technical run-throughs of the production began one week before the first scheduled performance. The technical
crew spent two days installing and cueing the lights, setting up the projector and stereo equipment, and generally
preparing the stage for the production. The project presented many technical challenges as it incorporated moving
slides, video, music, and even a dry ice machine. Over the course of the next two days, the director and the stage
managers walked the actors and the technical crew through the play minute by minute, so that the light, sound, and
video cues could be coordinated. The students by this time had not only internalized their lines but had even
memorized the lines of their fellow actors. Their work was not complete, however. The actors fine-tuned the timing
of their entrances and exits, practiced with microphones, and adjusted to performing under the spotlights and to
moving around the stage in the dark. The three evenings leading up to the actual performance were spent in dress
rehearsal. The students received their costumes, and the set was complete. The final dress rehearsal was performed
in front of an audience of the students close friends and family. Three performances followedthe play was sold out
each night; we had about 400 spectators.
OUTREACH: PREPARING AND INVOLVING THE AUDIENCE
As the project developed and took form, it became increasingly clear that it would provide numerous opportunities
for a broad range of students and

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faculty at Northwestern and at other schools in the Chicago area to contribute to and to profit from this theater
production. The next two sections detail our outreach efforts and how we made the play more accessible to our
audience.
Department and Other Schools
From the outset, we saw the project as an integral part of the departmental curriculum, complementing the interests
and strengths of faculty who have worked with Brecht, the culture of the Weimar period, and literary theory. A
number of colleagues contributed significantly to the initial discussions of possible texts and eventually were involved
in presenting lectures and preparing material for the final stage production.
By the end of Spring Quarter, the course existed in an outline form so that we were able to begin looking for student
performers and participants. The course was listed in the Fall timetable and also posted with the rest of the classes
on the departmental bulletin board. It was unclear as to which students might find this project interesting, so the
description was kept as wide open as possible. On the one hand, we expected students seriously involved in the
language and already far along in their studies to be interested in performing Brecht on stage. On the other hand,
we saw additional opportunities for students who might have little or rudimentary knowledge of German to be
involved in support activities. We felt that each student would acquire a base knowledge of Brecht along with his
position within German cultural history, and, of course, a clear familiarity with the text. During the production phase,
there would be a group of students involved with preparing themselves as actors for production, but there could also
be nonactor students who would work with the scenery, lighting, sound, or the production of the printed program. In
the end, the students enrolled in the course were all well prepared linguistically to participate as actors. The students
needed to produce scenery and provide the stage support came from the school of theater, which requires that its
students be involved with a certain number of shows in different production capacities.
In our language classes, Brecht and Der Ozeanflug also became a focus of interest immediately prior to the
production of the play. The play was incorporated into the curriculum of our general intermediate German course,
our more advanced intermediate conversation course, and our introduction to literature course. By incorporating this
material into our coursework, we were providing an impetus for the students to attend the play. The work in class
allowed the students to better understand the play and to situate it in a broader cultural and political framework.
The Chicagoland area, which now reaches into Indiana and almost to Wisconsin, has a very active group of language
instructors at the high school and college levels. From discussions at professional meetings and conferences, we
knew that our colleagues were very interested in finding special

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projects, performances, and exhibitions that they could work into their own curriculum, thereby offering their
students a more multidimensional exposure to the language and culture of the German-speaking countries. Very
early in the planning of this project, we decided that it would be to everyones advantage to open this theater
performance to outside groups. By doing so, we would ensure that our performances were well attended and that
teachers in other schools would be able to offer a theater performance as a complement to work done in class. We
informed members of our local Northern Illinois chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG)
of our intention to perform a Brecht piece in our spring newsletter and at our spring meeting. At our fall meeting in
September, we were able to advertise the date of our performances and also offered to provide material on Brecht,
Lindbergh, and the play that could form the basis for work in an advanced high school class or intermediate college
course. About fifteen teachers called to request information and copies of the texts and play. Nine teachers made
reservations for the play through the department and brought groups of students as small as four and as large as
eighteen. Our local AATG chapter also provided the means for us to publicize this project using e-mail messages to
members and advertising on the chapters home page.
Beyond offering the students and teachers a unique German language performance, we felt that this project was
also an opportunity to introduce high school students to a college setting and to provide motivation for continuing on
with their studies of German at the next level. Most students will eventually enroll in a college or university, and
contacts with specific colleges provide them with more information on which to make an ultimate college choice. In
German, we are most concerned with finding ways to encourage students to continue on with their study of German
at the college level. We hoped that this special project would provide a challenging and yet satisfying interaction with
the language that might lead to further contacts with German. Chicago is also home to a significant population of
adult speakers of German who were potential audience members. The Goethe Institute publicized this event on their
home page and in their newsletter and allowed us to advertise with flyers in their lobby. For future productions, we
envision more active solicitation of this group of potential audience members. Our public radio station would be a
logical focus for advertising the play, as would local German newspapers.
Making the Play Accessible to the Audience
We hoped that this production would attract a significant number of people to our small theater. At the same time,
we knew that a good percentage of the audience would not have a detailed background knowledge of Brecht,
Lindbergh, the play, or the German language. From the beginning, our decisions were guided by the desire to
provide the spectators with a worthwhile

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experience, and thus we felt it necessary to provide the audience with significant support.
First, we translated the play and prepared a German-English script for any member of the audience who wanted to
read along during the performance. Second, we designed, together with the actors, a detailed bilingual program that
included the following: a description of how the project came about; a paragraph written by the director in which she
explained her ideas for the play; a list of the cast; the prologue to the play; the titles of the scenes; biographies on
Brecht and Lindbergh; a short history of the play; and short biographies of the student actors. This detailed program
allowed the spectators to familiarize themselves with the play and its background before the performance started.
Third, we translated the prologue written by Brecht into English and French and had a student recite it in three
languages at the beginning of the play. Fourth, we prepared video footage that became part of the staging. The
footage contained all titles of the play in written and spoken form in English, German, and French and visual
graphics to accompany the play. The appropriate video footage was played at the beginning of each scene to guide
the audience. Finally, following the play, the cast remained on stage to speak with the audience and to answer
questions about the project. Twenty to forty audience members remained each night. The ensuing thirty-minute
discussions allowed the audience to hear about the inner workings of the theater production and the special
problems related to producing a play in German. These techniques were tremendously helpful for the comprehension
of the play and allowed us to involve a broader audience.
BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS AND FUNDING
This production was a cooperative work of two departments. This meant that some of the normal expenses
associated with a production were absorbed through the regular budgets of both departments. We did not have to
worry about costs for rehearsal space, the renting of theater space, and the workshop space for building the set, as
the theater department allowed us to use their facilities. The instructors involved in this project volunteered their
time, and the director directed the play as part of her work towards her MFA. The remaining production budget was
estimated at $8,350. We allotted $350 toward the purchase of texts, videotapes, slides, film rental, and additional
cultural realia for classroom use. These materials were primarily employed for researching and preparing lectures,
and for the preparation of reading materials for the students. We budgeted $2,500 for production supplies. This
included set material, costumes, lighting and sound rental (such as remote microphones that the actors were
wearing), stage props (such as the fog machine and the dry ice), and the printing and printing materials for posters
and programs. Finally, we budgeted $5,500 for additional personnel: set designer, costume designer, lighting
designer, sound designer, stage manager,

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production manager, production labor, front of the house staff, graphic designer, and video designer. Most of these
positions were held by advanced undergraduate and graduate students from Northwestern University. The costs
were covered by the Hewlett Funds, an internal fund located within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
EVALUATION OF THE PROJECT
In order to receive specific feedback from the students, we devised a list of questions that the participants were
asked to fill out upon completion of the course. Many of the questions targeted goals that had initially inspired us to
undertake the project, such as the potential for effective use of active German, the unique option for student
discovery and construction of knowledge, and the collaborative effort as a positive impulse. The responses to the
questions were highly positive. When asked whether the project helped improve their language skills, some students
responded:
I became quite fluent with German theater terms and I had great practice with my conversational German.
It definitely increased my speaking skills.
I learned a lot of new vocabulary as well as how to better enunciate.
Getting corrections and advice on minute details in grammar and pronunciation helped a lot.
Another question focused on whether the act of performing the play helped the students to better understand the
text and its author. Some relevant feedback included:
I think I understood what Brecht was trying to say much better after we delved into the text more deeply.
By acting in the play we had to interpret the text and guess Brechts intended meaningthis took the play to a
much higher level.
One gains a very deep understanding of both the author and the text through its performance.
We also asked the students what they enjoyed most about the project, and the more or less unanimous verdict
related to the team approach of the project. Here is what they said:
The fact that we all spent so much time together made us really close and this closeness made everything fun.
The fresh points of view each day were a big help.
I enjoyed the rehearsals with the people. The final result turned out incredible.

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REFLECTIONS
As has been established, we find that there are infinite reasons for using theater in the language classroom and
many contexts in which the use of theater can be motivating and also have immense pedagogical benefits. This
particular interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of German and Theater at Northwestern University
in producing Brechts play was inspired in part by the following factors characteristic to the staging of literature: By
studying a work in depth over a longer period of time, by memorizing it, and by experimenting with how to express
its contents, the participants reach a new level of understanding of the work of art. Further, when using a foreign or
second language, a new awareness regarding the language that the work is written in is achieved. By preparing for a
performance and practicing their lines, students are able to improve their language skills, and, in the process of
staging a play, are also introduced to countless other dimensions that they wouldnt otherwise be likely to be
exposed to in the same hands-on context. Such dimensions range from the acquisition of theater terminology,
working in a team, being involved in stage design and lighting, putting together a program, all in addition to studying
the literature and historical background relevant to the work.
APPENDIX 1: COURSE OUTLINE
Part I: Study of Language and Literature
Tuesday and Thursday 2:304:00
Week Course introduction
Brecht biography
1
Introduction of director and teaching Historical and political background of the Weimar Republic
staff
Announcement for auditions
Week Brecht in the context of media theory First reading of play in class (Readers Theatre) to work on
2
pronunciation and content
Week Epic theater
Biographical information on Charles Lindbergh
3
Radio theory and different versions of
the play
Week Brecht and theater in America
Introduction to rehearsal process and vocabulary
4

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Part II: Rehearsal Process
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 6:009:00
Week Warm-up; Acts 1, 2, 3 Warm-up; Acts 6, 7, 5
Warm-up: Acts 13, 14, 11, 12 Warm-up; Acts 14, 10, 9
5
Week Warm-up; Acts 4, 15, Warm-up; Acts 1, 4, 6, 7, Warm-up; Acts 8, 11, 12, 13, Warm-up; Acts 15, 16, 17, 8
6
16, 17
2, 3, 5
10, 14
(4), 9
Week Warm-up; Acts 18
Warm-up; Acts 917
Warm-up; Acts 18
Warm-up; Acts 917
7
Week Run-through
Run-through
Run-through
Technical run-through
8
Part III: Technical Week (Week 9)
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
12:005:00
1:003:00
Rehearsal6:00
6:3011:30
6:3011:30
6:3011:30
7:0011:30 7:00
Performance 7:00
10:00
9:00
9:00
Technical rehearsal Technical
Dress
Dress
Last
Premiere Performance
rehearsal
rehearsal
Rehearsal
Rehearsal
APPENDIX 2: IDEAS ON THEATER IN THE CLASSROOM
The following activities are based on experiences in the classroom and also draw on ideas presented at the workshop
at the Goethe-Institute in Chicago by Manfred Schewe in March of 1999. In this workshop, a pedagogical approach
to teaching language based on drama was introduced and illustrated. This approach goes beyond simply playing
parts in the classroom, but rather integrates and works with the awareness that we can learn from the dramatist
how the text doesnt remain banal, from the director how to create atmosphere, from the actor how to live in ones
role, how to articulate clearly, how to communicate with gestures, and how to mimic signals. It is an approach that
actively and consciously uses body, mind, and emotions in order to facilitate the acquisition of language.
Some of these exercises are very straightforward and can be used independently, but they can be built upon
depending on how much of an emphasis the instructor would like to have on drama in class and to what degree it
can be a center of the course work.
1. Readers Theater
Context:
Use parts of a drama
Use parts of a short story with direct quotes

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How?

Variation: use parts of story with indirect quotes


Read from text unprepared
Prepare ahead of time
Infuse text with expression
Pedagogical benefits:
Very simple
Makes reading of text more interesting
More lively and memorable
Pronunciation practice
Low pressure, no preparation
Informal
Can conform to dramaturgical theories of author
Example:
First run-through of Brechts Der Ozeanflug
2. Use Quotes without Providing the Context
Context:
Choose ambiguous quote from any text based on level of students that lends itself well to a
dialogue
How?
Have students guess context
Have them read it expressively according to guessed context
Add additional dialogue to beginning and to end
Change characters and read it again
Write responses if not given initially
Pedagogical
Pronunciation practice
benefits:
Inspires imagination
Makes students aware of context
Makes them think before they act out
Forces them to be expressive
Examples from Der Ozeanflug:
Jetzt ist es nicht mehr weit.
Now it isnt far anymore.
Jetzt mssen wir uns noch zusammennehmen.
Now we have to pull ourselves together.
Wir zwei.
We two.
Hast du genugl?
Do you have enough oil?
Meinst du, das Benzin reicht dir aus?
Do you think you have enough gas?
Hast du khl genug?
Are you cool enough?
Geht es dir gut?
Are you feeling well?

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3. Brief Mimes
Context:
How?

Pedagogical benefits:

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List of verbs or objects to be mastered


Inspired by context Variations:
a. Give students pictures or verb
Acting out of a certain activity
Rest of class guesses what it is
b. Have students think of an object
Mimic the object
Rest of class guesses what it is
c. Incorporate dialogue regarding items
Integrates new vocabulary
Very strong visual associations
Involves gestures
Also grammatical structures can be integrated
Very flexible and adaptable

Examples from Der Ozeanflug:


List of objects Lindbergh brought onto the plane
Variation:
List of different items
Who is carrying this?
Where are they going?
What would you take if you were going?
Exchanging objects and repeating
4. Frozen Images (Standbilder)
Context:
As warm-up (to loosen up body and mind) or coordinating activity
As preparation for role play
As introduction to more advanced exercise
How?
Choose context (picture, story, adjective)
Have students remain in a frozen position
Then they live that moment deeply and create more of that identity
Others ask questions:
Who are you?

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Where are you from?


How old are you?
What are you?
Are you happy?
What just happened? Etc.
Variations:
They imitate each other
Provide them with part of an identity
Pedagogical benefits:
Become aware of body
Have immediate physical associations with actions and words
Inspires imagination
Functions as starting point for more involved acting
Prepares for a role
Examples from Der Ozeanflug:
Acting out of concepts like fear, bliss, fog, sleep, motor, etc.
5. Role Plays
Context:
Depending on class topics
How?
Variations:
a. Provide complete model
Perhaps have students listen and answer questions first
Have students read it
Have students personalize and change information in it
Have students vary identities of people speaking
b. Provide part of a dialogue
Have students finish it or find responses
c. Provide situation
Students come up with their own dialogue
Write it out
Play it
d. Improvisation
Give situation

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Students react on the spot


e. As part of illustrating a text
Use ambiguous point in a text and have students act out what these characters could be saying
to each other
Pedagogical
All benefits mentioned in other activities
benefits:
Opportunity to use language in elaborate dialogues within culturally relevant and significant
contexts
APPENDIX 3: SELECTED SOURCES FOR CLASSROOM MATERIAL
Works by Brecht
Brecht, Bertolt. (1967). Der Ozeanflug: Radiolehrstck fr Knaben und Mdchen. In Gesammelte Werke . Band 2 (pp.
407409 & 565585). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
. (1977). Erluterungen zum Ozeanflug. In Brecht Versuche 112U. Reprint. (1959). Heft 14. Berlin und
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
. (1979). Bertolt Brecht: Leben und Werk im Bild . Frankfurt am Main: Inseltaschenbuch.
. (1992). Junges Drama und Rundfunk, Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat, Rede ber die Funktion des
Rundfunks. In Bertolt Brecht: Werke, Band 21 (pp. 189190). Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter
Ausgabe: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Bertolt Brecht on stage; Bertolt Brechts dramatic work on the stage of the Federal Republic of Germany, Brecht
performances at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm Berlin, Brecht publications and Brecht studies. (1968). Frankfurt
am Main: Erich Imbescheidt.
, and Kurt Weill. (1930). Der Lindberghflug: Klavierauszug mit Text. Wien and Leipzig: Universaledition A.B.
Secondary Literature on Brecht
Knopf, Jan. (1980). Der Ozeanflug. In Brecht-Handbuch: eine sthetik der Widersprche (pp. 7172).
Stuttgart/Weimar: J.B. Metzler Verlag.
Rsch, Herbert. (1996). Bertolt BrechtStckeschreiber. In Grundlagen, Stile, Gestalten der deutschen Literatur:
eine geschichtliche Darstellung (pp. 403406). Neue Ausgabe. Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag.
Vergngungstheater oder Lehrtheater? (1987). In Die Stcke von Bertolt Brecht in einem Band (pp. 985987).
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Vlker, Klaus. (1972). Brecht-Chronik. In Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Ed.), Text und Kritik Band I: Bertolt Brecht. Mnchen:
Richard Boorberg Verlag.
Selected Sources for Information on the Weimar Republic
Kollwitz, Kthe. (1968). Ich sah die Welt mit liebevollen Blicken: Kthe Kollwitz: Ein Leben in Selbstzeugnissen . Hans
Kollwitz (Ed.). Hannover: Fackeltrger-Verlag.
Schulze, Hagen. (1982). Weimar: Deutschland 19171933 . Berlin: Siedler Verlag.

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Selected Sources on Charles Lindbergh
Berg, A. Scott. (1998). Lindbergh . New York: G. P. Putnams Sons.
Hertog, Susan. (1999). Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Her life. New York: Doubleday.
Lindbergh, Charles A. (1927). We . New York and London: G. P. Putnams Sons.
. (1920). Wir zwei: im Flugzeug ber den Atlantik. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus.
Lindbergh, Reeve. (1998). Under a wing: A memoir . New York: Simon & Schuster.
Musical Recording
Weill, Kurt. (1930). Der Lindberghflug. First digital recording and historical recording. The Ballad of Magna Carta.
Pro Musica Kln. Seventy-three minutes. WDR. Klner Rundfunkorchester, Jan Lathan-Knig, Hermann Scherchen.
1990 CAPRICCIOa product of Delta Music GmbH.
Readers Theatre and Drama in the Language Classroom
Coger, Leslie Irene. (1982). Readers theatre handbook: A dramatic approach to literature. Glenview, IL: Scott,
Foresman.
Kleinau, Marion L. (1980). Theater for literature: A practical aesthetics for group interpretation . Sherman Oaks, CA:
Alfred Publishing Co.
Maley, Alan. (1982). Drama techniques in language learning: A resource book of communication activities for
language teachers . New York: Cambridge University Press.
Plourde, Lynn. (1990). Learning language dramatically: Acting out stories in the classroom . Tuscon, AZ:
Communication Skill Builders.
Ratcliff, Gerald Lee. (1981). Beginning Readers Theatre: A Primer for Classroom Performance. Urbana, IL: Eric
Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. Annandale, VA: Speech Communication Association.
Schewe, Manfred, and Peter Shaw. (1993). Towards drama as a method in the foreign language classroom.
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Video Material
Great writers of the 20th century: Bertolt Brecht. (1997). Films for the Humanities & Sciences. Fifty-three minutes. In
English.
Der Lindberghflug: Eine Rundfunkoper. (1993). Director: Jean-Franois Jung. Forty minutes. TV production.
Produced by Gloria Filmverleih. In German.
Der Traum vom Fliegen, Teil 2 (Von Lindbergh bis zum 2. Weltkrieg) . (1995). Production of SunWest Media Group in
collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television. Fifty minutes. In German. KOMPLETT VIDEO, Mnchen, Tel. 0
89/6492277 ISBN 3-86148. Bestellnummer 941.
Lindberghs great race Are there any mechanics here? (1996). Cameron Richardson. Distributed by Goldhil Video.
Ninety minutes. In English.
Lucky: The Story of Charles Lindbergh . (1994). Producer / Director: Robert W. Foster. Biography. A & E Television
Networks. CAT. # AAE 10483. Fifty minutes. In English.
NOTES
1. This project would not have been possible without the help and support of many colleagues and friends. We
would like to express our gratitude to Gza von Molnr, Rainer

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Rumold, Eva Stonebraker, and Kristine Thorsen in the Department of German for their counsel, advice, and
participation throughout the planning and implementation of this project. We are also very appreciative of the
contributions made by Margaret Sinclair, Vinay Swamy, and Claude Tournier in the Department of French. Very
special thanks to the entire faculty in the Department of Theatre and especially to Ed Bevan, Bud Beyer, Paul
Brohan, Barbara Butts, Jonathan Darling, Melanie Dreyer, Craig Kinzer, and Joseph Tilford. We would also like to
recognize the significant contributions made by Jim Ferolo, Lars Hubrich, and Janine Spencer in the MultiMedia
Learning Center at Northwestern University, who provided the expertise necessary to integrate a broad range of
multi-media into the final production. The project was supported by the Department of German, the Theatre
Department, and a substantial grant from the Hewlett Fund at the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts
and Sciences at Northwestern University.
2. A further impetus for the development of the project was the participation of most of the instructors in a drama
workshop at the Goethe-Institute in March 1999. This workshop was led by Manfred Schewe and focused
specifically on the use of theater in the German classroom (Schewe and Shaw, 1993). It inspired us to become
aware and to take advantage of the infinite possibilities that the implementation of theater offers as a valuable
tool in the context of language acquisition. A more detailed list of activities based on our experiences in the
classroom as well as on the workshop can be found in Appendix 2.
3. A translation of the book was published under the title Wir zwei: im Flugzeug ber den Atlantik in Leipzig in 1929.
4. A more detailed syllabus including rehearsal times and performance schedule can be found in Appendix 1.
5. For a more detailed description of Readers Theatre, see Session 4: Readers Theatre. Appendix 2 contains a
summary of activities related to Readers Theatre. Additional works describing Readers Theatre are listed in
Appendix 3.
6. We used material from Bertolt Brecht on stage (1968) and from Bertolt Brecht: Leben und Werk im Bild (1979).
7. We found the Great writers of the 20th century: Bertolt Brecht (Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1997) very
helpful. Although the film was in English and fairly easy to understand, we only selected excerpts from the fiftythree-minute long video.
8. More material on Lindberghs historic flight can be found in Appendix 3.
9. During class we showed excerpts form Der Traum vom Fliegen, Teil 2 (Von Lindbergh bis zum 2. Weltkrieg)
(1995) because it allowed students to practice their German at the same time. We showed the full version of the
A & E Television Networks documentary Lucky: The story of Charles Lindbergh during an evening film session.
REFERENCES
Barr, Robert, & John Tagg. (1995). From teaching to learninga new paradigm for undergraduate education.
Change . November/December, 1325.
Berg, A. Scott. (1998). Lindbergh . New York: G. P. Putnams Son.
Bertolt Brecht on stage; Bertolt Brechts dramatic work on the stage of the Federal Republic of Germany, Brecht
performances at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. Berlin, Brecht publications and Brecht studies. (1968).
Frankfurt am Main: Erich Imbescheidt.
Bruer, Gerd (Ed.). (2001). Pedagogy of language learning in higher education. Stamford, CT: Ablex.

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Brauneck, Manfred. (1982). Theater im 20. Jahrhundert: Programmschriften, Stilperioden, Reformmodelle . Reineck
bei Hamburg: Rowohlt.
Brecht, Bertolt. (1967). Der Ozeanflug: Radiolehrstck fr Knaben und Mdchen. In Gesammelte Werke . Bd. 2 (pp.
407408 & 565585). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
. (1979). Bertolt Brecht: Leben und Werk im Bild . Frankfurt am Main: Inseltaschenbuch.
Der Lindberghflug: Eine Rundfunkoper. (1993). Director: Jean-Franois Jung. Forty minutes. TV production.
Produced by Gloria Filmverleih. In German.
Der Traum vom Fliegen, Teil 2 (Von Lindbergh bis zum 2. Weltkrieg) . (1995). Production of SunWest Media Group in
collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television. 50 minutes. In German. KOMPLETT VIDEO, Mnchen, Tel. 0
89/6492277 ISBN 3-86148. Bestellnummer 941.
Great writers of the 20th century: Bertolt Brecht. (1997). Films for the Humanities & Sciences. Fifty-three minutes. In
English.
Hertog, Susan. (1999). Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Her life. New York: Doubleday.
Kollwitz, Kthe. (1968). Ich sah die Welt mit liebevollen Blicken: Kthe Kollwitz: Ein Leben in Selbstzeugnissen . Hans
Kollwitz (Ed.). Hannover: Fackeltrger-Verlag.
Langham, Michael. (1983). Foreword. In David Ball, Backwards and forwards: A technical manual for reading plays
(pp. viiviii). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Lindbergh, Charles A. (1927). We . New York and London: G. P. Putnams Sons.
. (1920) Wir zwei: im Flugzeug ber den Atlantik. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus.
Lindbergh, Reeve. (1998). Under a wing: A memoir . New York: Simon & Schuster.
Lucky: The story of Charles Lindbergh . (1994). Producer / Director: Robert W. Foster. Biography. A & E Television
Networks. CAT. # AAE 10483. Fifty minutes. In English.
Raulfs, Joachim. (1983). Deutsche Literaturgeschichte in Beispielen. Rinteln: Merkur Verlag.
Schewe, Manfred L., & Peter Shaw. (1993). Towards drama as a method in the foreign language classroom.
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Schulze, Hagen. (1982). Weimar: Deutschland 19171933 . Berlin: Siedler Verlag.

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Instead of an Afterword
Magic on Stage: Urfaust and Other Great Plays for Educational Pleasure
Karla Schultz and Penelope Heinigk
The house lights in the Pocket Theater go black. The audienceeighty-some students, faculty, and community
visitorssit hushed. On stage, a mysterious blue liquid swirls in a bulbous vial, seemingly suspended in the dark. We
hear a sigh of satisfaction, then the down lights fade up. A lanky, gray-wigged Faust in cap and gown is holding up
the vial, the blue has paled to clear. He puts it on a shelf in the wings, walks behind a chalky-white lectern propped
onto a garden column (bought cheaply from a hobby shop), and commences to recite Goethes immortal
introductory monologue, Hab nun, ach, die Philosophie und leider auch die Theologie durchaus studiert mit heier
Mh. . . .
Shortly thereafter, there is another splashy display: The Earth Spirit appears. Hes been standing, shrouded in a dark
cape, upstage center on a tall, black wooden cube, motionless and invisible against the black back curtain. When the
lights dim and the moon begins to shine (a spotlight up high), there comes a flicker, a rumble, then the blinding
sheen of a fluttery mass of green-golden polyester as he drops his cape and turns with outstretched arms and
booming voice toward Faust: Wer ruft mir? More flickers, more

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rumbles until he vanishes, that is, until the spot fades and he scrambles, in the dark, backstage through the opening
in the curtain.
When we produced Urfaust on the occasion of Goethes 250th birthday, we pulled the stops, using the lighting
design of a Theater Arts graduate student, all sorts of magic tricks learned from the Chemistry Department, the
dueling choreography of a fencing instructor, and the unending resourcefulness of the fifteen undergraduates
enrolled for our course. They were delighted to be hamming things up, but only at the end, when they really were
on stage. The student who played Mephisto, for instance, underwent a veritable transformation over the course of
the rehearsals. Starting out rather shyly and stiffly, he became the star of the show with sinuous, suggestive moves,
red-painted fingernails, a goatee expressly grown for the play, a truly evil, mephistophelian smirk, andnext to
Faustthe best intonation yet for the Knittel verse in which the lines of the text are written. One of the students
(playing a student himself in the scene, Auerbachs Keller) researched and painted five huge, circular magical signs
(taken from an encyclopedia of medieval magic), which became our backdrop for all scenes except the one in the
Cathedral. In that scene, plenty of dry ice set the tone, as did the chanting of the choir in the fashion of Gregorian
chants. By contrast (and in keeping with Fausts and Gretchens rendezvous in the garden), the music for the
intermission was taken from the German rock group, Einstrzende Neubauten (I shall meet you if you need me in
the garden). The garden scenes sported a wire arbor (from the same hobby shop) wound with colorful paper
flowers, and the last scene (Kerker) showed strands of straw lit in the pattern of prison bars thanks to the filter in
the amber spot above. And Gretchen, played by two different young women each night because we had too few
female roles for the group, rose to the light in absolute madness, sweetness, and dignity. In the end, Faust was a
louseor at least that was our critical assessment.
THEATER ACROSS THE DISCIPLINES
As will be clear from these remarks, our German Play Performance is not just a course to enhance language
learning. It is a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts theater experience that involves cultural and historical research, an
enormous amount of team (or better, troupe) building, and the bodily enactment of classic and modern German
drama in two public performances before an educated audience. We also put great emphasis on studying and
interpreting each play. Last years Urfaust (1773) has been our oldest play so far; this years Die Physiker, and
several years ago Voll auf der Rolle, drew performers and audience into the present. In Wedekinds Frhlings
Erwachen and Brecht/Weills opera, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, we put the emphasis on social satire as
it pertains to conventions today and, in class,

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discussed at length Freuds theories of sexuality as well as Brechts critique of capitalism. For the latter production
we received substantial support from the School of Music. The students were taught how to sing by a professional,
and a doctoral student who was writing his dissertation on musicals accompanied the cast on the pianocarted over
from his office across campus to our stage. Of course the stage, The Pocket Theater, is not really ours but part of
the Theater Arts Department, which is kind enough to lend us the space each fall for a week.
All preceding rehearsals take place in a regular classroom. By design and sheer luck, the students are thus embroiled
in a thoroughly cross-disciplinary endeavor. They appreciate it, because they are by no means all German majors but
come from various disciplines: any of the humanities, business, computer science, international studies, art,
architecture, psychology, chemistryto name just a few. The only requirement is that their language skills meet
(roughly) third-year proficiency, and that they commit to a considerable amount of time inside and outside of class
(initially about ten hours per week, then five hours every night during the last week of dress rehearsals).
THE PLAYS THE THING
How do we mesh dramatic performance and language learning? After all, the students enroll in a German class and
rarely have any background in theater. Learning a foreign language consists of recognizing and manipulating a
nonnative system of symbols, signs, and behaviors in order to communicate. In both theater and language learning,
communication is a principal component. Actors as well as language students must know what they wish to convey
and how they intend to deliver the message. They must have the skills and confidence necessary to perform the
communicative act. Drama maximizes the opportunities for foreign-language students to work toward such
proficiency, especially as concerns diction, gestures, and cultural awareness. Furthermore, their interaction on stage
encourages them to flavor the production with their own interpretations, which improves their analytical skills while
tapping their creativity. Involved in a play, they learn about a particular author, work, and historical period in depth
while discovering new talents and gaining confidence in their own performance. They also become closely
acquainted with each other and their instructors on a level that usually does not occur in the regular academic
setting.
Most important, dramatic activity fosters multiple yet distinct language learning objectives. We must have a specific
goal in mind when utilizing drama. If the primary purpose is to practice spontaneous speech or display cultural
awareness (such as employing jokes, showing emotions, or practicing various forms of address), then role-play or
improvisation are best. Objectives such as improving pronunciation or articulation, on the other hand, are often

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better accomplished by direct imitation. Likewise, drama may be the means for a single classroom activity, or it may
be the focus of an entire term. Drama tasks completed within a larger unit as a means of practicing and improving
language skills tend to be more process-oriented. Here drama is a medium for language learning. Conversely, a unit
that focuses on one particular play or series of plays produces a product-oriented environment, in which drama
becomes the reason for language learning.
SHINING IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Our productions here at the University of Oregon are very much product-oriented. Giving two full performances
before a sizable audience, most of whom are well acquainted with the language and even the work performed, is
ultimately the motivation that keeps the process of language learning and play production rolling. It is certainly not
the only source of inspiration, though it does encourage the extra hours and effort necessary for an impressive
show. When the students experience the electric anticipation in the house as they prepare for their entry, the sense
of pride and accomplishment as they take their bows (almost always to thunderous applause), and the celebration
among the closely bonded cast afterwards, they are truly pleased. Their improvements in diction, new skills in
interpretation, higher awareness of a particular author, work, culture, and time periodthough the objectives of the
classseem almost side effects to their triumph on stage and the ten-week arduous process that brought it about.
Still, at the beginning of the class, many of the students cannot yet imagine the experience of performing in a foreign
language in front of an audience. They are uneasy about such prospects, and unsure of themselves as performers.
In order for theater to be a successful learning tool, it is extremely important to put the students at ease and
safeguard against failure. They must be given tasks as well as confidence to complete their responsibilities. They
must also understand that the quality of the performance is dependent upon their efforts as individuals and as a
group. Hence each rehearsal must have structure while at the same time allowing flexibility. The students must
become comfortable with each other and themselves.
THE TASKS OF THE DIRECTOR(S)
Although the process of play production is a group effort including group interpretations, problem solving,
discussions, and decisions, it will not function properly without a director or codirectors who are responsible for the
overall coordination and for making the final decisions. At Oregon, we usually have a senior professor who is
officially responsible for the course, including ongoing liaison to the Theater Arts Department, selecting and

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editing the script, setting the budget, providing the overarching concept, and signing for the grades. We call her the
dramaturgue. She is closely assisted by a doctoral student who works as codirector and fields all practical matters
that make a play come about, such as blocking, scheduling, stage-managing, and delegating tasks. In their daily
collaboration the two codirectors work as equals and make decisions throughout the rehearsing process jointly. Both
explain to the students that a show cannot come about without a well-thought-out schedule and a certain hierarchy.
This hierarchy serves several purposes. First, the director in charge of dramaturgy is responsible for preliminary work
such as selecting a fitting play, editing it into a script, and conceptualizing the messages that are to be
communicated. Second, it is rather easy for the director in charge of production to become sidetracked with too
many time-consuming details. We need to keep the students on task and on schedule by quickly addressing
problems, finding solutions, and pushing for scheduled results. All scenery, costumes, makeup, and special effects
are planned and put together in Arbeitsgruppen who report to the production director. Third, as directors (and
certainly as teachers) we need to tease out the best in each student in performative areas such as diction,
intonation, gestures, and movement, in interpretive areas such as character analysis, pacing, and interactive
dynamics, and in the psychological dimensions of motivation and commitment.
We try to achieve this through group rehearsals, private sessions, and various exercises, both mental and physical.
We also schedule a couple of evenings at the dramaturgues house for soup & bonding. Our office hours are packed
with coaching, problem-solving, counseling, brainstorming, telephone calls, and errand lists. Our own enthusiasm
seems to inspire the studentsor is it the other way around? We delegate readily but provide a pretty tight
organization while allowing the students to take full credit for their accomplishments.
CASTING: EASY IF YOU KNOW YOUR STUDENTS
One factor that makes our plays so successful is careful and attentive casting. During the first three class sessions,
students are given a thorough orientation to the play and the demands of the class, and multiple readings of the
text are performed. It is during this time that we pay particular attention to each and every student, not only during
their production of the text, but also during casual interaction, always keeping the characters of the play in mind. It
is vital that the entire class becomes acquainted on a personal level as soon as possible.
Through this process we are able to note students individual personalities and strengths, and work toward assigning
the roles accordingly. At the end of the third session the students are asked to give their first three preferences

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for roles and first two preferences for work groups in writing, which, in combination with personal strengths, we use
to make our final decision. Surprisingly, nearly every student receives either their first or second choice; only
occasionally has it been necessary to discuss roles with students that they had not considered, emphasizing the
reasons they would be best for that part.
For the work groups, most students have an area of expertise that proves to be most helpful. For instance, those
who can sew or are interested in clothing work in the costume and prop group, those who have access to tools or
are artistically inclined do well in the stage craft group, those with makeup skills are in the makeup group; computer
knowledge and layout experience are helpful skills for the poster and program group. There is no question that
students perform best when they are comfortable with their roles and feel that they are able to put their talents and
abilities to use.
LEARNING THE WORDS, DOING THE MOVES
Once the roles are cast, production of the language begins. Students are required to come in for diction coaching,
where they are able to work one-on-one with an instructor. Proper diction is much more than a matter of being able
to pronounce each word correctly. First, students must understand the contextual meaning of the words they are
saying, otherwise they are merely mimicking a sound. Once the text and its subtexts are understood, proper
pronunciation and enunciation are learned, which involves both the practice of individual sounds and their syntactic
arc. Similarly, body language must be rehearsed. From blocking the characters movements to enacting fitting facial
expressions and gestures, body language is at least as important in theater as is verbal language.
We also teach our students the importance of silencethe artful pause. They learn how to convey their characters
thoughts and emotions through speech and movement, but also through silence and holding still. Though we try to
re-create a specific nonnative cultural sphere, we also enjoy transgressing it occasionally; it gives the students a
chance to tweak the play in accord with their own cultural spheres.
Through accuracy comes fluency. When students truly understand what they are communicating, when they have
learned how to transmit it convincingly while acting out the cultural and historical framework of the piece, they are
able to perform with confidence. They even achieve the freedom to inventthat is, most are able to invent a line
when one is dropped, or improvise when an entrance is missed, or keep their nerve when some other mishap
occurs. The audience, most likely, will not notice the mistake. Or they will appreciate the ingenious patch-up.
Although our students may not realize the extent of the speaking skills and communicative awareness they have

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developed throughout the term, it becomes apparent in the confidence they display on opening night.
THEATER AS CULTURAL EMBASSY
Why do we do what we do? Our plays take a lot of time and are labor-intensive for both students and instructors.
But they also provide a great deal of pleasure. Our first reason thus is personal. There are few courses that provide
as much dynamic interaction, visible accomplishment and sheer fun. The second reason is pedagogical. Learning by
doing is at the core of any lay theatrical production, and ours is no exception. Though the students must memorize
their lines, they bring them to life in the actual context of the rehearsal. They perform what they know, and
continually polish what they perform. The third, overarching reason is cultural. While the students study and
rehearse, they also get to know the culture and history in which the play was written and become, as performers of
the text, ambassadors of this culture to the United States today.
Our audiences, from both campus and the larger community, seem to appreciate this representation of German
language and German-speaking cultures, because they keep flocking back. When we performed Friedrich
Drrenmatts Die Physiker, they were delighted by this eminently stage-worthy, macabre spoof of the murder
mystery, a genre well-established in the Anglo-American tradition. But they also kept breathlessly still as the actors
playing the spies playing the physicistsin typically Brechtian Verfremdung delivered their concluding remarks on a
theme that concerns cultures across the globe: the rift between the progress of humanity and its salvation.

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Index
Action-site of learning, 3334
Activity:
blocking, 151;
clown, 101104;
collage, 44, 48;
frozen picture, 6162;
improvisation games, 17072;
in ESL, 16162, 17576;
in preparation of a play production, 22528;
masks, 19192;
nonverbal, 79, 99100;
sculpturing, 19091:
shadowing, 80;
still image, 8688, 90;
tableau, 6162.
See also frozen picturee
Actors, preparing students to act, 225228
Alienation effect (Verfremdungseffekt) , 215
Arts assignments, and drama, 19698, 20102;
and language learning, 19899;
purposefulness of, 199200.
See also activity
Audience, text accessibility, 22021
Audition, 213, 23738.
See also casting
Ausubel, D. P., 56
Axtmann, A., 21, 26
Banking concept of education, 128.
See also Freire, P.
Barr, R., 208
Bartenieff, I., 46
Behaviorism, 8
Blocking, 151
Boal, A., 138, 155
Body language, 6162, 23839;
culturally specific, 7880.
See also gesture;
non-verbal language
Body sensation, as a way of knowing, 195
Bolton, G., 138
Booth, D., 156

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Bruer, G., 141, 15556, 207
Braun, E., 9798
Brecht, B., 8889, 187, 190, 207, 21012, 21416
Brook, P., 60, 97, 108
Bruner, J., 89, 12, 14, 110
Carlson, M., 45
Casting, 213, 23738.
See also audition;
ensemble
Clown workshop, 101105, 107;
activities, 101104;
pedagogy, 103105, 107
Collaboration, among teachers, 184
Collage, 44, 48
Constructivist theory of learning, 89
Cooper, D., 195
Critical incident, 88.
See also tension
Culture, 40, 239;
cross-cultural, 38, 4042, 44;
intercultural, 38, 4042;
intracultural, 4142;
multicultural, 4142, 44;
transcultural, 39, 4143, 4849
Curriculum, for drama in the foreign language classroom, 19495.
See also drama course
Day, R., 11011
Dewey, J., 8
Di Pietro, R. J., 55
Dialogue, authentic, 13233
Didactic play (Lehrstck), 207, 21516
Director:
improvement of teaching, 189, 204;
tasks, 23637.
See also curriculum;
drama course
Discipline-based arts education movement, 204
Dodson, S., 162, 176
Doughty, C., 53
Drama:
and oral language development, 6;
and reading skills, 78, 12, 14;
and thinking, 6, 8, 15;
and writing skills, 78, 1213;
emotional component, 9.
See also curriculum;
drama course
Drama course:
in Englisch as a Second Language (ESL), 16270;
in the foreign language classroom, 22324.
See also curriculum
Drama in education, 138.
See also drama-based education;
educational drama
Drama in foreign language teaching:
college-level, 14143, 14854;
high school-level, 14142, 14448, 15354;
process-oriented approach, 136, 138;
process vs. product approach, 13539, 15355, 18889, 236;
product-oriented approach, 13536, 138
Drama methodology:
approach to language learning, 74, 138, 15355;
problems in language teaching, 106107;
benefits, 108109
Drama-based education, 56;
intercultural perspective, 8990.
See also drama in education;
improvisational drama
Dramatic (re)play, 2728
Dramatic interventing, 8
Dress rehearsal, 218
Duff, A., 6566
Educational drama, 5, 78, 12, 139, 153;
social cohesion, 147, 151, 153.

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See also improvisational drama


Ehlers, S., 86
Ellis, R., 75
Embodied play, 22, 2830, 32.
See also language of experience
English as a Second Language (ESL), drama activities:
benefits, 16162, 17576;
limitations, 162.
See also activity
Ensemble, developing an, 18688.
See also audition;
casting
Epic theater (Episches Theater), 213, 21516.
See also didactic play;
Brecht, B.
Essential play, 13637, 139
Evaluation, of play productions, 222
Fleming, M., 144
Freire, P., 128, 132.
See also banking concept of education
Funding, of play productions, 22122
Galda, L., 10

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Gardner, H., 11, 3840, 44, 74, 203.
See also multiple intelligences
Gesture, role of, 1112, 9798;
activities, 99101, 109;
as a means of text interpretation, 218;
culturally specific, 80.
See also body language;
clown workshop;
non-verbal language
Green, J. L., 64
Griffin, H., 10
Guided case study, 12627, 132
Hall, E. T., 4042, 46
Harker, J. O., 64
Harpur, T., 97
Heathcote, D., 65, 138
Hierarchy, and equality in the production team, 23637
Holistic language learning, through drama, 193;
addressing the whole person, 19596
Hornbrook, D., 13940, 153, 155
Improvisation, 19394, 198;
during play performance, 238;
final project, 17275;
games, 17072
Improvisational drama, 45, 8, 10.
See also drama-based education
Inderstanding, 23, 2526, 3031, 33
Interaction, ecological, 2526
Intercultural learning, 22, 2730.
See also culture
Interdisciplinarity, and drama, 184, 201202;
approach to play production, 208209;
curriculum, 199200;
in language education, 18384, 192, 201202;
institutional setting, 185;
theater across the disciplines, 234
Intertextuality, 32
Kao, S. M., 5455, 58, 6061, 6366, 98, 105, 107, 138, 156
Kluckhohn, C., 40
Koch, G., 77
Kroeber, A. L., 40
Laban, R., 47
Langer, S., 9
Langham, M., 208
Language exposure and practice:
objectives to maximize, 20910
Language learning and drama:
approaches, 5254;
setting goals and choosing appropriate techniques, 23536
Language of experience, 22, 32;
embodied presence, 21;
embodied understanding 2021.
See also embodied play
Lave, J., 141, 150
Learning environment, creating a, 20810, 237
Lightbown, P., 108109
Liu, J., 65
Long, M., 53
Maley, A., 6566
Malinowski, B., 39
Marranca, B., 61
Masks, use of, 19192
Maturana, H., 25
Mediation, 4244, 48
Meyerhold, V., 9798
Misunderstanding, intercultural, 9596.
See also culture
Moffett, J., 8
Moreno, J. L., 59
Morgan, N., 60, 101, 103, 108
Motivation, learner, 148, 151, 154;
for a play production, 236.

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See also ensemble


Multiple intelligences, 3840, 4445, 48, 7475, 89;
learner types, 75;
bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, 7576.
See also Gardner, H.
Neumann, G, 77
Ngugi wa Thiongo, 40, 4344, 4849
Non-verbal approach to literary texts, 8185;
pedagogical reflections, 8587
Non-verbal language, 9596, 105, 195.
See also body language;
gesture
ONeill, C., 5455, 58, 6061, 6667, 98, 105, 107, 131, 138, 156
Ortiz, F., 39
Outreach, to other schools, 21820

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Pantomime, 7778, 8081, 8688, 90
Papas, W., 78
Pellegrini, A., 10
Performance, 38, 41, 4546;
as a mode of learning, 24, 33
Performative inquiry, 2128, 30;
risk to entertain performative inquiry, 26
Piaget, J., 6, 8, 12
Play production, ideas for production concept, 18889;
organizing, 21218, 23637;
place in the foreign language curriculum, 21920.
See also curriculum;
drama course
Pleasure, educational, through drama, 23334, 239
Pre-text, 5758
Preparation of play production, sources, 22829.
See also actors
Process drama:
affective function, 5657;
challenges for language teachers in using it, 6367;
cognitive function, 56;
its nature, 5455;
social function, 56
Project Zero, 203;
Arts Propel, 203
Readers theater, 213, 215, 22425
Redington, C., 138
Reflective practice, 62;
of teachers, 12526, 12829, 13133;
portfolios, 18788, 203
Rehearsal, 21718, 23839;
and language learning, 15052, 18687;
didactic play as a rehearsal method, 187;
inquiry as a rehearsal method, 18990;
line-through, 174
Representations of the world:
enactive, iconic, symbolic, 1214
Resistant learner, and drama, 14344
Responsibility for language learning, 199201
Roach, J., 45
Rohd, M., 110
Role drama, 3132, 34
Roletaking, 6, 10
Rose, D., 12
Saxton, J., 60, 101, 103, 108
Schewe, M., 83, 90, 22425
Schmidt, R., 53
Sculpturing, 19091
Selection of a play for production, 21011;
accessibility, 21112
Silvers, A., 198
Situated learning, 150, 156
Slade, P., 138
Smith, S. M., 157
Social awareness and drama, 18889, 203
Space, 38, 4143, 4548,
Space-moments of learning, 2425, 27, 3031, 33-4,
Third space of presence, 21, 32, 34
Spada, N., 1089
Spolin, V., 60
Strain, J., 51
Suvin, D., 202
Swain, M., 53
Symbolic behavior, 56, 11, 13
Symbolic play, 910
Tableau, 6162.
See also activity
Tagg, J., 208
Tarlington, C., 3132
Teacher-in-role, 5960, 130
Teacher, role of the, 200201,
teacher-driven pedagogy, 107
Team teaching, 213, 219.

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See also collaboration among teachers


Technical run-through, 218.
See also rehearsal
Tension, in the dramatic process, 6061.
See also critical incident
Texts of our lives, 13840
Theater in education, 138
Time, 38, 41, 43, 4548
Transcultural performance 3739, 42, 44, 47
Transculturation, 3839, 48
Vanier, J., 9697
Varela, F., 2425
Vaen, F., 77
Verhovek, S. H., 129
Verriour, P., 3132
Via, R. 16162
Video project,11521

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Video recording, 11415
Vygotsky, L. S., 8, 10, 12, 141
Wagner, B. J., 8, 98, 109, 138
Waldrop, M., 26
Wenger, E., 141, 150
Whirlwind Program, 6, 12
Willet, J., 8889
Williams, J., 53
Williams, R., 4044
Wilson, R., 76
Wolf, S., 8081
Wringe, C., 89
Zone of proximal development (ZPD), 10, 141.
See also Vygotsky, L. S.

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About the Contributors
Ann Axtmann teaches and writes about performance, multiculturalism, and Native American issues. A former
dancer and choreographer in the United States and Mexico, Dr. Axtmann is currently on the faculties of The Gallatin
School of Individualized Study at New York University and The Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in
New York City. She has published in The Mid-Atlantic Almanack, The Dance Historians Newsletter , The International
Encyclopedia of Dance , STUAP: Organo de Informacin y Anlisis del Sindicato de Trabajadores Acadmicos de la
Universidad Autnoma de Puebla, Transpositions (forthcoming), and Dance Research Journal (forthcoming).
Gerd Bruer is associate professor of German studies at Emory University. He taught German as a foreign language
in Prague (Czech Republic), and Eugene and Portland, Oregon. At the University of Oregon he held a post-doctoral
fellowship sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). He is currently (200103) DAAD Professor at
the Pdagogische Hochschule Freiburg (Germany). His major research interests are writing

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pedagogy, second-/foreign-language pedagogy, and institutional development in secondary and higher education.
Most recent publications include Writing Across Languages (2000), Schreiben als reflexive Praxis ( Writing as
Reflective Practice ) (2000), and Pedagogy of Language Learning in Higher Education (2001).
Timothy Collins is assistant professor of English as a second language at National-Louis University, Chicago, and
has taught ESL, EFL, and Spanish in Spain, Morocco, and the United States. His research interests include theater
arts in elementary ESL, ESL in adult education, work force ESL, and school-to-work initiatives in ESL.
Cameron R. Culham, as a museum theater performer, childrens entertainer and cofounder of Thtre Cabale, a
francophone Victoria theater company, Cameron has seen firsthand the potential of the arts in language teaching.
He currently teaches ESL at the English Language Centre at the University of Victoria.
Sarah L. Dodson is pursuing an M.A. in TESL/TEFL and an M.A. in French at Colorado State University, where she
has taught ESL, French, and composition. She has also taught English in France.
Lynn Fels teaches and writes about performance, teacher education, and curriculum theory. A former humor
columnist, performing arts educator, and corporate writer and researcher, Lynn is currently writer in residence in the
Centre for the Study of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Penelope Heinigk, as a graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, has taught the first-, second-, and
third-year German language sequences, and codirected three German plays: Wedekinds Frhlings Erwachen ( Spring
Awakening), Goethes Faust , and Drrenmatts Die Physiker ( The Physicists). Her research focuses primarily on the
complex relationship between technology and gender, especially the technology of the early railroad as portrayed
through the texts of Naturalism. Other interests include mythology, modernism, and language pedagogy.
Jun Liu is assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Arizona. Growing up during the Great
Cultural Revolution in China, Jun was trained in Beijing Opera and local drama. He studied under one of the foremost
authorities in the field of drama in education, Cecily ONeill, at The Ohio State University. Jun was a member of the
Ohio Drama Education Exchange, and has taught English for more than fifteen years in both ESL and EFL contexts
by using dramatic activities including Process Drama, Readers

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Theater, story-telling, and improvisation. An author of several books and numerous articles, Jun is the recipient of
the 1999 TESOL Newbury House Excellent Teaching Award, and serves on the TESOL Board of Directors as Director
at Large (2001-2004).
Franziska B. Lys is currently the director of undergraduate studies at Northwestern University. She has taught all
levels of German language instruction, as well as courses on Swiss culture and second-language acquisition theory.
Dr. Lys has lectured throughout the United States and in Europe on a variety of topics, ranging from the teaching of
Swiss culture, the adaptation of authentic videos for the language classroom, to computer-assisted language
instruction. She is the coproducer and author of numerous educational documentaries and CD-ROM multimedia
software. Dr. Lys is the recipient of numerous awards from Northwestern University, and state and national
professional organizations.
Lynne McGivern is a doctoral student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of
British Columbia. Her areas of research include language policy, identity in second-language learning, and critical
language testing. Her current work follows a career in theatrical design. Lynnes extensive experience in theater
coupled with her ESL teaching experience has resulted in her strong commitment to the potential of the arts in
second-language learning.
Denise Meuser has been teaching elementary and intermediate German courses at Northwestern University since
January 1991 and began coordinating Intermediate German in the fall of 1997. She is interested in topics concerning
language acquisition, bilingual education, and second-language teaching methodology.
Douglas J. Moody is an adjunct professor at Dartmouth College who teaches in the Department of Spanish and
Portuguese and the Department of English. He is involved in second-language acquisition and technology and
education, as well as educational drama. He is the cofounder of the Why Not? International Theater Group and has
directed, performed in, and produced foreign-language theater in many settings on three continents. The
educational applications of essential play that he has used range from product- and process-oriented approaches to
educational drama, to radio and television broadcasting, to multimedia digital technologies.
John Paluch is a lecturer in the Department of German and has been teaching beginning and intermediate German
at Northwestern University since 1990. He also serves as the study abroad adviser in the department. John Paluch is
an active member of the Northern Illinois Chapter of AATG and works with

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other teachers to organize immersion weekends and workshops for students and teachers.
Manfred Lukas Schewe was a lecturer/teacher trainer at Carl von Ossietzky Universitt Oldenburg in the area of
language teaching methodology and is currently lecturer in the German Department, National University of Ireland,
University College, Cork. He has widely published in the area of drama-based language teaching/learning, including
the third edition of Fremdsprache inszenieren (1993), Towards Drama as a Method in the Foreign Language
Classroom (1993) and Pdagogische Konzepte fr einen ganzheitlichen DaF-Unterricht (2000). His primary interest in
research and teaching has been to develop holistic approaches to the teaching and learning of language, literature,
and culture by building bridges between different but complementary disciplines: German as a foreign language,
applied linguistics, language pedagogy, drama pedagogy, and drama and theatre studies.
Karla Schultz, professor of German and Comparative Literature, teaches at the University of Oregon. She has
published widely on Adorno and Critical Theory, literary modernism, and love poetry. Each fall she tries her hand at
a theatrical production.
Janet Hegman Shier (University of Michigan residential college German program lecturer and program chair) is
founder and director of the Residential College Deutsches Theater, a company that has staged German-language
plays since 1985. An invited member of the Goethe Institut Netzwerk (Trainers of the Trainers), she gives theater,
art, and writing workshops and speaks on interdisciplinary education and learning styles. Shier has received several
teaching awards from the University of Michigan and numerous grants for interdisciplinary work, including several
grants from the Goethe Insitut, a Marion and Henry Bloch Award, a YoHA (Year of the Humanities and the Arts), and
an Interdisciplinary Faculty Associates Award. In addition to teaching German and German Theater, she teamteaches a performance course to promote womens health awareness and coordinates a service-learning project,
PALS (Partnership in Academic Learning through Service), which links U-M students with at-risk high school and
elementary students through a literacy corps.
Philip Taylor was recently appointed associate professor of educational theatre, New York University. Previously, he
was Director, Centre for Applied Theatre Research, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. He is well known for his
work in reflective practice and drama education. His books include Researching Drama and Arts Education:
Paradigms and Possibilities (Falmer Press), Redcoats and Patriots: Reflective Practice in Drama and Social

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Studies (Heinemann), and The Drama Classroom: Action, Reflection, Transformation (RoutledgeFalmer).
Betty Jane Wagner is a professor in the College of Education at Roosevelt University and director of the Chicago
Area Writing Project. Internationally recognized as an authority in the educational uses of drama in the classroom
and in composition instruction, she received two awards in 1998: the Judith Kase-Polisini Honorary Research Award
of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and the Rewey Belle Inglis Award for Outstanding Woman in
English Education from the Women in Literature and Life Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Her most recent publications are Building Moral Communities through Educational Drama (1999); Dorothy Heathcote:
Drama as a Learning Medium , (2nd ed., 1999); Educational Drama and Language Arts: What Research Shows
(1998); Situations: A Case Book of Virtual Realities for the English Teacher (1995), co-authored with Mark Larson,
high school teacher; and the fourth edition of Student-Centered Language arts, K-12 (1992), co-authored with the
late James Moffett. Wagner has published several sets of curriculum materials, including Books at Play , a dramatic
approach to language arts (1997).
Ingrid Zeller is a lecturer in the Department of German and has been teaching first, second, and third year
German courses at Northwestern University since 1995. Her projects include the use of technology and different
media in foreign language acquisition and exploring the integration of film, music, and drama into the foreign
language curriculum. She has published and presented on those topics at local and national conferences.

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