The role of drama on cultural sensitivity, motivation and literacy in a second language context.
Bournot-Trites, M., Belliveau, G., Spiliotopoulos, V., & Séror, J. (2007). The role of drama on cultural sensitivity, motivation and literacy in a second language context. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 3(1).
This study examines the relationship between learning through drama and student cultural sensitivity, motivation, and literacy skills in a French immersion classroom. Two middle school French immersion classes participated in a unit on the deportation of Arcadians from Eastern Canada. A class of fifth and sixth graders received drama-based instruction while a class of sixth and seventh graders received traditionally-delivered content (the “library group”). Qualitative data in the form of observation, teachers’ journals, and interviews along with pre- and post-tests using Garner’s (1985) measure of motivation suggest that the use of drama fostered student motivation, cultural awareness, and literacy development.
The drama group outperformed the library group in the areas of integrative orientation (a measure of motivation), interest in a foreign language, desire to learn French, enjoyment of the unit, and in several categories of writing including overall quality, genre, and cultural content. There was no difference between the two groups in regard to motivational intensity, attitudes toward French Canadians, attitudes toward French European people, attitudes toward learning French, parental encouragement, and French class anxiety. There was no variance between the two groups on the writing skills measures of accuracy, cohesion, emotions, and context. Research observations revealed that students in the library group focused on and worried about tests more than those in the drama group. There was more peer-to-peer interaction in the drama group.
Teachers of both groups expressed an awareness of their teaching role; however, the drama teacher reported feeling that the students shared responsibility, while the library teacher noted a preoccupation with the right answer. The drama group had a more student-oriented approach versus the teacher-centered instruction that occurred in the library group.