Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Kathleen Graves


This paper documents the implementation of a year-long drama project that was conducted with adult immigrant English as a Second Language (ESL) students at Asian Human Services, a community-based organization in Chicago. Throughout the year, during the fall, winter, and spring terms, three classes of students dramatized their life stories. This paper provides background for the project by explaining the history and role of drama in language education. It also considers the teacher’s motivations for the project and its design; its ultimate challenges and successes; as well as the insights that it provides about what it means to be a teacher and a student, and how these roles may at times blur. Classroom videos document the students rehearsing, performing, and offering feedback on their dramas. These videos then serve as the basis for an analysis of the drama lessons, together with student comments and teacher reflections.* In addition, a detailed account of the dramatic lessons that were used throughout the year, as well the primary resources that inspired them, is provided in the appendix. In the conclusion, these experiences are used as a rationale for making recommendations about teaching drama to adult ESL students. Finally, the implications of this project are considered for the future of drama in language education.


Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | First and Second Language Acquisition | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development | Other Theatre and Performance Studies