Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Page to Stage: Dramatizing Literature for Language and Life Skills

Alison Larkin Koushki, American University of Kuwait (Kuwait)


Literature is trending in TESOL as a platform for organic language engagement (Hişmanoğlu, 2005; "Using literature-an Introduction," 2014).  Literature provides a springboard for imagination, higher order thinking, knowledge of self, society, history and culture as well as contextualized practice in reading, writing, listening, and speaking (Gardner, n.d; Shazu, 2015). However, educators may lack strategies for exploiting literature, and students may miss its benefits. This presentation details how another under-utilized approach in language education, drama, can mine the riches of literature (Brinda, 2008). Adding the benefits of project-based learning to the combined strengths of literature and drama creates a pedagogical triangle which can transcend time and space and transform actors and audience (Boudreault, 2010). Through student-centered improvisations, ELL teams and teachers create and direct meaningful scenes while engaging in dynamic language. Multiple intelligences (Healy, 2004) deploy as students choose project roles: script, acting, backstage, costumes, make-up, sound and lights, reporter, advertising, usher, historian, stage managing.  Enacting literature, ELLs flex all four language skills while exploring “7Cs” life skills: creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, compromise, commitment, and confidence (Koushki, 2017). Acting stories humanizes characters and cultures, deepening the impact of page staging. Live footage will show how IEP students in Kuwait embraced a simplified novel, analyzed film versions, adapted a script, and staged the story for an audience of parents, teachers, and classmates. For active engagement, attendees will explore ways to stage one novel page. Participants will depart inspired to try this whole person, whole language, all senses method, and equipped with the presenter’s original materials to do so.

Keywords: Drama Literature Creativity Project Learning English.

[1] Boudreault, C. (2010). The benefits of using drama in the esl/efl classroom. The Internet TESL, XVI.
[2] Brinda, W. (2008). Engaging alliterate students: A literacy/theatre project helps students comprehend, visualize, and enjoy literature. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 51(6) 488-497.
[3] Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. New York, Basic Books.
[4] Healy, C. (2004). Drama in education for language learning. Humanizing Language Teaching, 6(3),1-8.
[5] Hişmanoğlu, M. (2005). Teaching English Through Literature. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 1(1), 53-66.
[6] Koushki, A. L. (2017). Language plus Life Skills: Engaging in English through Literature, Drama, and Art. Perspectives,25(2), 24-27.
[7] Shazu, R. (2014). Use of literature in language teaching and learning: A critical assessment. Journal of Education and Practice. 5(7), 29-35.
[8] Using literature - an introduction. (2014, October 1). Retrieved from

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