Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Dr. Elka Todeva


In this thesis, the author makes the case that drama is a powerful tool for language acquisition because it develops and engages embodiment, emotion and identity, important aspects of learning and communication that are often neglected in traditional language classrooms. The thesis establishes a theoretical foundation for the use of drama in the social justice-oriented language classroom, reviews research on drama for language learning and describes common drama techniques. The author connects the theories of embodied cognition and multiliteracies to an intersectional model of identity and argues that drama helps students re-examine the way society positions them based on their embodied identities. The impact of emotions on language learning and the ways students’ emotional experiences are influenced by language and culture are analyzed, with the conclusion that drama can be an effective tool to increase students’ emotional intelligence. The author situates second language identity formation within a narrative identity development framework and proposes identity texts as a form of counter-storytelling. These texts contribute to the creation of a more just society by challenging dominant discourses and encouraging students to envision a wider range of possibilities for their future selves. The thesis concludes with a framework for implementing drama in the language classroom, which contains suggestions for creating a socially responsible drama class as well as a progression of activities that teachers can use with their own students.


Art Education | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Critical and Cultural Studies | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | First and Second Language Acquisition | Language and Literacy Education | Theatre and Performance Studies