The form and meaning: When English language teachers learn to teach through drama




English-through-drama, teacher training, teacher’s knowledge, form and meaning of language and drama, text analysis, teachers’ roles


This article investigates the challenges teachers experience while learning to teach English through drama in an action research project. Through closely examining the fundamental causes, it discerns the knowledge constituents crucial for successful learning and implementation of drama for English teaching. Difficulties are identified from three aspects: text selection and interpretation, translation into drama activities, and classroom implementation. Referring to Shulman’s teacher knowledge construct (1986, 1987), the author argues that drama pedagogy for English teaching demands a changed perspective on language regarding its form and meaning and also on drama as both subject and pedagogy. Only then can teachers effectively link language and drama and create a meaningful learning experience.

Author Biography

Li Ding, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Li Ding is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at the University of Goettingen in Germany, where she also teaches a master course Theatre for Foreign Language Teaching. Her research projects stem from an ongoing interest in drama for language education, including drama for effective speaking and literacy development, the place of children’s literature in language-oriented drama classrooms, and teacher development while learning drama pedagogy. She is currently writing her doctoral thesis on the topic of drama for ESL creative writing.


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