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EFL learners developing critical intercultural awareness through process drama: Dialogue and discovery

CHEN, IRENE,WEN-LING (2013) EFL learners developing critical intercultural awareness through process drama: Dialogue and discovery. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The overall aim of this research study is to look for a paradigm shift in foreign language (English) education in Taiwan. By challenging the role of foreign languages teaching and learning in the reproductive purpose of education systems, this study addresses the significance and urgency of developing critical intercultural awareness (CIA) in Taiwan students’ language learning experience. This study is a reflective account of an action research project that explores the how and why CIA can be developed in process drama praxis in the context of the Advanced English Learners’ Programmes for 27 junior high school students in Taiwan.

Drawing on the theoretical framework of socio-cultural and educational drama theories for foreign language learning, this study follows the line of performative inquiry (Fels, 1999; 2000; 2008). As such, the drama site is regarded as a space for reflective action to take place, the drama workshop is seen as a collective experience of reflection, in which the participants are made able to problematise the current situation, to see things from different and distanced perspectives, and develop understanding in every moment of encountering with others, while co-constructing meanings together through dialogue and critical reflections. The narrative accounts of this inquiry serve to answer the major research question: How would a process drama syllabus help EFL learners develop critical intercultural awareness?

The qualitative data demonstrated how such the multilayered mental space in drama allowed the language learners to develop flexibility and mobility through a freedom in the choice of action endowed upon them by the drama syllabus. The analysis revealed how drama created a milieu for the participants to engage, to negotiate, and co-construct meanings with SELF and Others from critical perspectives. The foreign language learning experience serves as a contact zone in which the SELF is deconstructed and reconstructed through a constant interplay and negotiation of meaning with the OTHER. The drama syllabus and approaches furthered this inter-space experience, deepened the impact of encountering the OTHER, and thus enabled the process of recognizing and re-strengthening of one’s own cultural identity.

The evidence in the research demonstrated that, when given appropriate opportunities, the EFL learners are able to develop critical intercultural awareness though the language learning experiences. A model for the development of such intercultural education is then constructed through this study. The research thus argues for a need of a critical pedagogy approach in the foreign language classroom.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:critical intercultural awareness, process drama, drama education, EFL, ELT, intercultural competence.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Oct 2013 10:41

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