Lights! Camera! English! Drama-based exercises as confidence-building tools in Dutch lower-level secondary school English classes.
Baren, A.M. van
Wardt, L.M. van de
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"Lights! Camera! English!" is a collaborative research project, mapping out to what degree drama activities in English-as-a-foreign-language classrooms have a positive effect on (daring to) speak English from the standpoint of lower-level students. In this regard, various classroom-based factors are taken into account, such as the initial set-up of the classes, exposure to drama activities in the past, and general comfort levels of speaking English in class. Our experience as teachers and teacher trainers has led us to believe that drama activities do in fact have a positive effect on speaking skills in the language classroom at all levels; our research output shows that this is indeed the case: the overall impression students gave in their survey responses was one of enthusiasm toward the drama activities. They agreed with the notion that the activities were fun, that they spoke English more than usual and that the activities were more useful than speaking activities from their textbooks. Their comments at the end of the survey were also only positive—they experienced the activities as enjoyable and, to a lesser extent, educational, and many of them expressed a desire to do the activities more often. These responses support our hypothesis regarding student motivation; simply put: if the activities are fun, students are more likely to invest energy in them and thereby speak more English.