TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS THROUGH DRAMA ACTIVITIES AND TECHNIQUES: A CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE

TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS
THROUGH DRAMA ACTIVITIES AND TECHNIQUES: A CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED
SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the study
According
to
(Benjamin Franklin,
2014) who says, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and
I learn. Students’ involvement in the learning process has become the main aim
of modern approaches that focus on student-centered class rather than
teacher-centered class. Clever involvement that demands a student to use
creative English language skills is the kind of involvement that helps student
to learn effectively. Many methods have been used to assess students’ effective
involvement.
There are many reasons in favour
of using drama activities and techniques in the language classroom. First, it
is entertaining and fun, and can provide motivation to learn. It can provide
varied opportunities for different uses of language and because it engages
feelings that can provide rich experience of language for the participants.
Maley (2005), listed many points
to supporting the use of drama. The points include:
1.    
It integrates language
skills in a natural way. Careful listening is a key feature. Spontaneous verbal
expression is integral to most of the activities; and many of them require
reading and writing, both as part of the input and the output.
2.    
It integrates verbal
and non verbal aspects of communication, thus bringing together both mind and
body, and restoring the balance between physical and intellectual aspects of
learning.
3.    
It draws upon both
cognitive and affective domains, thus restoring the importance of feeling as
well as thinking.
4.    
By fully
contextualizing the language, it brings the classroom interaction to life
through an intensive focus on meaning.
5.    
The emphasis on
whole-person learning and multi-sensory inputs helps learners to capitalize on
their strength and to extend their range. In doing so, it offers unequalled
opportunities for catering to learner differences.
6.    
It fosters
self-awareness (and awareness of others), self-esteem and confidence; and
through this, motivation is developed.
Emphasizing this Gasparro and
Falletta (2014) point out “The use of poetry as drama in the English as a
Second Language (ESL) classroom enables students to explore the linguistic and
conceptual aspects of the written text without concentrating on the mechanics
of language. Students are able to develop a sense of awareness of self in the
target culture through dramatic interpretations of the poems. Teachers using
this technique need to consider poetry that matches their students’ language
skills, ages, and interests.”
Even (2008) adds that through drama,
“Students enter imaginary worlds that they cooperatively construct, experience,
furnish, arrange, and change. Thus, drama situations can liberate and at the
same time deeply stimulate and challenge learners’ take on communicative
situations, grammar, and literary texts”
Özdemir andÇakmak (2008) points out
“a number of studies of the effects of drama on individuals’ cognitive and
affective characteristics have been carried out recently. These studies
revealed that drama had positive impact on students’ development of
communication skills, socialization levels, development of emotional
intelligence, social skills, empathic skills and empathic tendencies regardless
of the grade levels of the students”.
Dramatic activities according to Maley and Duff (2009)
“Are activities which give the students an opportunity to use his own
personality in creating the material in which part of the language class is to
be based”.
 Drama activities can
provide students with an opportunity to use language to express various
emotions, to solve problems, to make decisions, to socialize. Drama activities
are also useful in the development of oral communication skills, and reading
and writing as well.
There are different ways in
which drama can be defined. In one of the definition  Susan Holden (2012) takes drama to mean”
any kind of activity where learners are asked either to portray themselves or
to portray someone else in an imaginary situation”. In other words, drama
is concerned with the world of “let’s pretend” ; it asks the learner
to project himself imaginatively into another situation, outside the classroom,
or into the skin and persona of another person”.
Kao, etal. (2011) also stresses,
“In drama-oriented English as foreign language (EFL) classrooms, teachers
often ask questions to shape the story, unveil the details, sequence the
scenes, create a beneficial linguistic environment to elicit student output and
promote meaning negotiation in the target language.” Therefore, “for
more than 30 years drama has been promoted as a valuable teaching tool for language
learning. Recent research results have reinforced this position” (Dunn&
Stinson, 2011).
Culham (2013) observes benefits from
using simple drama activities with students and in teacher-in-service workshops
as follows:
1.    
Students
are able to express themselves in ways other than through words.
2.    
Drama
activities offer community-building opportunities in a classroom where there
are students of varying levels of language proficiency
3.    
Teachers
are also able to use non-verbal cues to demonstrate caring and concern for
students in a way that more formal language instruction does not allow, bound
as it is by the physical constraints and the pressure to understand.
4.    
Non-verbal
drama activities provide an excellent means of releasing the stress of language
learning.
5.    
Students,
often hesitant to speak out, can become confident when the language expectation
is removed entirely.
6.    
“Total
Physical Response is enhanced through drama activities.
7.    
In
all drama work, power dynamics shift as the teacher becomes a participant
alongside the students.
8.    
Non-verbal
drama activities transfer directly to verbal ones, and subsequent verbal
interchanges are triggered by these non-verbal activities.
On the other hand, Burke and
O’Sullivan (2012) identifies seven reasons to incorporate drama in the second
language classroom:
1.    
Teachers
and students can concentrate on pronunciation.
2.    
Students
are motivated.
3.    
Students
are relaxed.
4.    
Students
use language for real purposes.
5.    
Risk-taking
equals heightened language retention
6.    
Community
is created.
7.    
Students
and teachers can approach sensitive topics
Statement of the Problem
Recently, focus on English language
skills has become the aim of many educational systems. Some countries teach
English as an isolated subject. Teaching English has become very essential in
modern education either being taught as an isolated subject or embedded in
curriculum. Since we are in creativity age and language learning is a precious
opportunity to develop creative thinking as language learning class is full of
different life like situations and full of characters and dialogue, teaching
English  language using drama can be
effective in developing students’ creative thinking. Thus, the present study
will investigate the effectiveness of teaching English language skill using
drama activities and techniques. The problem of the study can be stated in the
main question: what is the effectiveness of teaching English language using
drama on the development of intermediate students’ creative thinking. The
problem of the study can be stated in the main question : What is the
effectiveness of teaching English Language using Drama activities and
techniques on the development of intermediate students’ creative thinking of
students in some selected secondary schools in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government of
Ekiti State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to
examine the teaching of English language skills through drama activities and
techniques in selected secondary schools in Ikere local government area of
Ekiti state.
The objective of the study was to:
(i)         
investigate
whether teachers are using drama activities and techniques as a methodology to
teach English in secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti state.
(ii)      
examine
the perception of English teachers about the use of drama techniques in
selected secondary schools in the study area.
(iii)    
find
out the reasons for not adopting drama as an English teaching technique in the
study area.
Research Questions
The present research seeks to answer
the following main question:
(i)         
Do
teachers use drama activities and techniques as a methodology to teach English
in secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti state?
(ii)      
What
is the perception of English teachers about the use of drama techniques in
selected secondary schools in the study area?
(iii)    
What
are the reasons for not adopting drama as an English teaching technique in the
study area?
Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were
formulated for the study and will be tested at 0.05 level of significance:
(i)         
There
is no significance difference in the teachers who use drama activities and
techniques as a methodology to teach English in secondary schools in Ikere
local government area of Ekiti state and those who do not.
(ii)      
There
is no significance difference on how English teachers perceive the use of drama
techniques in selected secondary schools in the study area.
(iii)    
There
is no significance difference in the reasons why English teachers do not adopt
drama as an English teaching technique in the study area?
Significance of the Study
The importance of the present study centered
on the fact that it:
1)   
draws
the attention toward the effectiveness of using drama in developing students’
creative thinking.
2)   
may
provide teachers with applicable teaching situations using drama.
3)   
may
provide results which may be applicable in other subjects
Delimitations of the Study
The present study is delimited to:
1.    
Academic delimitations: Investigating the effectiveness of
teaching unit 10 (the body) using drama on first year intermediate female
students’ creative thinking. The unit comprises 4 lessons.
2.    
Place: 2 first year intermediate female
students’ classes of the 33 school in Ikere.
3.    
Time: second term of the academic year
2014 – the unit has been taught over 2 weeks
4 periods per a week. 45 minutes to each period (total 8 periods = 6hours
= 360 minutes).
Definition of Terms
Drama:  Holden (2011) defined drama as any activity which asks the
student to portray self or another person in an imaginary situation. In
Ntelioglou (2006) “drama can be defined as Teaming by doing’. For Shand
(2008) “educational drama and Second Language Instruction educational
drama refers to using creative drama techniques to teach other subjects. These
techniques include, but are not limited to pantomime, storytelling, story
dramatization, role-playing, improvisation, theatre games, process drama, and
play production.” For the purpose of the present study, drama refers to
the dramatic scenes prepared by the researcher and applied in the classroom.
Each scene has a location, characters and dramatic activities that done in
pairs and groups. Role-play, dialogue, simulation, games, plays, mantle expert
and other activities were included.
Creative thinking: Taylor (2008) states ”
Creativity/Creative Thinking will be operationally defined Standard Composite
Scores: Fluency, Originality, Elaboration, Abstractness of Titles, and Resistance
to Premature Closure, along with 13 criterion-referenced measures of creative
strengths: Emotional Expressiveness, Storytelling Articulateness,
Movement/Action, Expressiveness of Titles, Synthesis of Incomplete Figures,
Synthesis of Incomplete Lines, Unusual Visualization, Internal Visualization,
Extending/Breaking Boundaries, Humor, Richness of Imagery, Colorfulness of
Imagery, and Fantasy. Torrance (2009), a pioneer in creativity research,
further defined creativity as sensing problems, searching for possible
solutions, drawing hypotheses, testing, evaluating, and communicating results
to others. Moreover, Torrance described the creative process as including
original ideas, different points of view, breaking out of the mold, recombining
ideas, and seeing new relationships among components as different ways
creativity can be assessed. In the present study, creative thinking refers to
students’ scores in Torrance test for creative thinking related to the three
main skills of fluency, creativity and originality.



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