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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Drama on Cultural Sensitivity, Motivation and Literacy in a Second Language Context


Although drama has been used successfully in English as a second language and has been shown to have positive effects on achievement and on self-confidence and motivation in various studies, it has received little attention in French immersion context where subjects are taught in French, the second language of students. The objective of this study was to teach about Acadian culture to one French immersion class using drama (Drama group) and the other French immersion class using a more teacher-centered method (Library group). Both classes were at the intermediate level. Our central question examined the impact of drama activities in elementary early FI on language learning motivation, on cultural sensitivity, and on second language writing? The data included a motivation test, a written composition, teachers’ journals and classroom observations. Results showed a positive effect of drama on several variables. First, the Drama group evaluated the learning unit significantly higher than the Library group. Furthermore, the Drama group showed a significantly higher integrative motivation and also a significantly higher desire to learn French than the Library Group. Both groups had a high cultural sensitivity before the intervention and thus there was no difference between the two groups either at post-test time. The writing of the composition revealed that the Drama group received a significantly higher overall score, and a significantly better score on cultural content. Both groups achieved high on content, accuracy, and details.

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