Combining Genre and Drama-Based Approaches to Foster Oral Competences: A Design-Based Research-Study in the EFL Classroom

Although the teaching and learning of oral competences in the foreign language have received more attention in the past ten years, the empirical study of how speaking is effectively fostered and assessed in the classroom remains a research desideratum. The following paper presents a Design-Based Research-study (Delius 2020) which aimed at exploring both the theory and practice of teaching speaking in the foreign language classroom by using an innovative synthesis of the genre-approach (e.g. Hallet 2016) and drama-based methods (e.g. Tselikas 1999). Design-Based Research offers the potential to effectively bridge the chasm between research and educational practice. It is expected that innovations developed in concrete contexts and improved within a cyclical design process will be more sustainable and more likely to be accepted by practitioners than those tested in laboratory settings with isolated variables (cf. Plomp 2013: 12). Within the study, three consecutive teaching units were conducted in a year 6 English classroom based on design principles derived from the theory. In those units the students worked with selected scenes from feature films, TV series and sitcoms in order to gain insights into the authentic use of the language. With the help of drama-based methods, the learners then progressed from the analysis and interpretation of texts to the production and expression of their own scenarios through improvisations and role plays. The formative and summative evaluation of the teaching units was based on the data of participant observation, the shots of all lessons, written evaluation by the learners and interviews conducted with learners and the teacher. Findings of the DBR-study are a reference design and optimized design principles as well as a local theory on how to effectively foster oral competences by combining genre and drama-based approaches.

  • Delius, K. (2020): Förderung der Sprechkompetenz durch Synthese von generischem Lernen und Dramapädagogik. Eine Design-Based Research-Studie im Englischunterricht. Stuttgart: Metzler.
  • Hallet, W. (2016): Genres im fremdsprachlichen und bilingualen Unterricht: Formen und Muster der sprachlichen Interaktion. Seelze: Kallmeyer.
  • Plomp, T. (2013): Educational Design Research: An Introduction. In: Nieveen, N. & Plomp, T. (Eds.): Educational Design Research. Part A: An Introduction. Enschede: SLO. 10-51.
  • Tselikas, E. (1999): Dramapädagogik im Sprachunterricht. Zürich: Orell Füssli.

Katharina Delius studied English, Latin and German as a foreign language for teaching at secondary schools at the universities of Göttingen and Nottingham. She completed her teacher training in Göttingen in 2014 and has been a research assistant at the University of Göttingen since 2015 (as well as at the University of Potsdam between 2014-2016). Her PhD project, which she completed in 2020, comprised a DBR-study on fostering the speaking competence in the EFL classroom.