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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pedagogy of confidence : auditory accounts of adult ESL classes with educational drama Kim, Won


In a move towards more socially-attuned and contextually-situated L2 pedagogies (Atkinson, 2011; Duff, 2014), there has been a steady pedagogical and scholarly interest in aesthetic, creative, improvisational educational drama as a means for creating more empowering L2 learning spaces (Kao & O’Neill, 1998; Roman & Nunez, 2015; Schewe, 2013). These scholars share a strong conviction that educational drama can significantly contribute to supporting educational contexts where L2 learners have dynamic and creative opportunities to develop their expertise in L2 as they “actively imagine and process information through the use of language and other symbolic forms” (Baldwin & Fleming, 2003, p. 33). Nevertheless, there is little empirical evidence concerning what is actually taking place in L2 classrooms and how students’ L2 learning is impacted when drama is introduced. This ethnographic multiple-case study was designed to document and explore four drama-based adult ESL classes in Canada. Questions guiding this qualitative inquiry focus on the nature of drama-based teaching practices, their impact on classroom discourse, students’ identity work, and L2 development, as well as students’ perceptions of their learning experiences. Drawing on multiple theoretical frameworks (including narrative inquiry, performative inquiry, alternative approaches to L2 acquisition, and transformative multi-literacies pedagogy) and several data sources, I aim to provide reflexive autoethnographic auditory accounts of lived experiences of participants in the focal classes as heard, felt, and interpreted by the researcher (as a differently-abled ethnographer) taking on a participant listener orientation in lieu of that of participant observer. The study is situated at the interdisciplinary nexus of different analytical and representational approaches in exploring possibilities, challenges, and implications of drama-based adult ESL instruction. By combining autoethnography, discourse analysis, and ethnodrama, I aim to provide a richer, multi-layered, and nuanced picture of the phenomenon under investigation. I narrate and explore how drama-based ESL pedagogy contributes to cultivating students’ minds as confident, creative meaning-makers and promoting context-embedded language use and democratic and dialogic classroom discourse. While presenting empirically grounded claims showing how drama-based pedagogy can foster a transformative, empowering interpersonal space (Cummins, 2011), the dissertation concludes with pedagogical recommendations and scholarly/methodological implications of the study.

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