Kristina Goodnight

Stimulating Spoken Interaction through Improvisational Drama

Audience focus: All


When a foreign language (FL) teacher announces to her class that it is time to do a speaking activity, learners often want to crawl under their desks (or turn off their cameras and microphones). Yet perhaps a bit of hiding is exactly what the learner needs. Improvisational drama techniques (IDTs), such as role-plays and other theatre games, allow learners to hide behind the safety of a character mask while they practice using the language—and possibly even have some fun. Studies from six continents in FL classrooms ranging from kindergarten to university have shown that such techniques can foster affective responses conducive to spoken interaction, such as decreased anxiety (Atas, 2015), motivation (Ntelioglu, 2012), group bonding (Reed & Seong, 2013) and creativity (Even, 2011). The presenter will try out a variety of IDTs together with participants, and promote discussions on how these activities can be adapted to diverse language levels and interests.

Atas, M. (2015). The Reduction of speaking anxiety in EFL learners through drama techniques. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 176, 961-969, doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.565
Even, S. (2011). Drama grammar: Towards a performative postmethod pedagogy. Language Learning Journal 39/3, 299-312, doi: 10.1080/09571736.2010.543287
Ntelioglou, B.Y. (2012). Insights from a drama-EAL classroom. In J. Winston (Ed.), Second language learning through drama. Oxon: Routledge.
MacIntyre, P., Dörnyei, Z., Clément, R., & Noels, K. A. (1998). Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. The Modern Language Journal, 82(4), 545-562. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.1998.tb05543.x
Reed, J., & Seong, M. H. (2013). Suggestions for an Effective Drama-Based EFL Course at a Korean University. Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 17(2), 91-106.


Originally from the USA, Kristina Goodnight is an English teacher educator at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, where drama is central to her teaching practice. She is now conducting doctoral research in conjunction with Utrecht University on integrating improvisational drama techniques into foreign language classrooms to stimulate spoken interaction.