Cultivating student understanding of context through drama and scriptwriting


  • Matthew Michaud
  • Todd Hooper



This paper presents an English as a foreign language (EFL) drama in language acquisition scriptwriting project that took place at a four-year private university located in Japan. The focus of this project was two-fold: firstly, to see if students’ cognition of situational context improved after completing scriptwriting exercises, and secondly to see if role-playing the scripts increased awareness in the identification of setting, roles of speakers, and purpose while increasing language aptitude. Furthermore, this study addresses the insufficient communicative competence abilities of Japanese students who have had years of structured English study. Their lack of communicative abilities may be attributed to the method of English instruction used in Japan such as focusing on grammar and vocabulary in isolated example sentences. This lack of context in second language (L2) instruction may leave students with limited communicative competence (Brown, Collins & Duguid 1989; South, Gabbitas & Merrill 2008). If students improve their understanding of the context of language use, they may become better equipped to use the language they know. One approach that may help students improve this understanding of context is scriptwriting and drama (Belliveau & Kim 2013; Davies 1990). The results of this study indicate that participating in scriptwriting activities may improve students’ ability to identify the context of conversations.


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