5 Embodied Language Performance: Drama and the ZPD in the Second Language Classroom
John R Haught [+]
Wright State University
Steven G. McCafferty [+]
University of Nevada -- Las Vegas
In the chapter by Haught and McCafferty ‘Embodied Language Performance: Drama and the ZPD in the Second Language Classroom,’ play in the ZPD is not concerned directly with students’ lived experiences but rather with engaging them in the life and identity of another. These authors build directly on Vygotsky’s analysis of role playing as a leading activity in child development to devise an ESL pedagogy around drama. While acknowledging that the value of drama in the classroom has been recognized for some time, Haught and McCafferty argue that through a process of careful modeling by the teacher, individual and class rehearsals and eventual performance, learners are guided into ‘playing’ beyond their current level of development. In other words, drama serves as a mediating activity to support learners’ development as they act out the part of another in the L2. The power of drama-based pedagogy, according to Haught and McCafferty, is that rehearsal and performance involve not simply repeating lines or copying a model but imitation in the Vygotskian sense of transformative appropriation, or internalization, of ways of thinking and behaving. They also rely on Bakhtin’s notion of ventriloquation to explicate the dynamics of learners’ emergent and embodied performances, which went well beyond the teacher’s modeling to include unique interpretations of characters, their feelings and motivations as communicated through facial expression, gesture, intonation and improvisation. In effect, the students created roles for themselves through the second language and culture.