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INTERACTIVE DRAMA AS A TEACHING STRATEGY TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’
COMPENTENCE IN SPEAKING (A Quasi Experimental Study)
Joni Listanto, Hamzah A. Machmoed and Burhanuddin Arafah ABSTRACT
This research aims 1) to justify whether text types of Interactive Drama improve students’ competence in
speaking 2) to find out the students’ interest in learning speaking through the application of
text types of Interactive drama. The design of this study is experimental design. There were
two groups: experimental and control group. The research was conducted at SMP Negeri I Namlea
Buru Regency, and took 60 students as samples. The data were collected by using the pre-test, the
treatment, the post-test, and questionnaire. The speaking test administered to the students of experimental
and control class. The scores were assessed by two assessors. The data were analyzed and
interpreted by using Pearson Product Moment assisted by SPSS 14.0 (Statistical Package for
Service Solution) software program. The result of the research reveals that text types of
Interactive Drama are justifiable to improve students’ competence in speaking and the
application of text types of Interactive Drama increase students’ interest in learning speaking.
The result of the students’ speaking score improvement from pre-test to post test
demonstrates a significant difference. The researcher found that sig.(2 tailed) is 0.000 which
is lower than 0.05. The outcome of the students’ speaking improvement comparison between
experimental and control group is 0.025. It means that the improvement is significant. The
application of text types of Interactive Drama increase students’ interest in speaking. The
finding signifies that text types of Interactive Drama strategy is responded positively by the experimental
class. The answer ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ of the students dominate the questionnaire.
Key words :

Interactive Drama, Integrating Drama Activities into ELT, the Advantages of Teaching
Language through Drama, Procedure Applying Drama in the Classroom.

ABSTRAK
Penelitian ini bertujuan 1) untuk membuktikan apakah tipe teks Interaktif Drama
meningkatkan kompetensi berbicara siswa , 2) untuk mengetahui minat siswa pada
pembelajaran berbicara melalui aplikasi tipe teks Interaktif Drama. Studi ini adalah
experimen design, terdiri dari dua grup: experimental dan kontrol. Penelitian dilaksanakan di
SMP Negeri I Namlea Kabupaten Buru, dengan 60 siswa sebagai sampel yang dipilih secara
purposive. Data dikumpulkan dengan menggunakan pre-test, treatment, post-test, dan
questionnaire. Test berbicara diberikan kepada kedua grup: experimental dan kontrol. Skor
dinilai oleh dua
assessor
. Data dianalisis dan diinterpretasikan dengan menggunakan
Pearson product moment
yang dibantu dengan program software SPSS 14.0. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa tipe
teks Interaktif Drama dapat dibuktikan meningkatkan kompetensi berbicara siswa dan
aplikasi tipe teks
2
Interaktif Drama meningkatkan minat siswa pada pembelajaran berbicara. Hasil peningkatan skor berbicara
siswa dari pre-test ke post-test menunjukkan perbedaan yang siknifikan. Peneliti menemukan
sig.(2 tailed)
adalah 0.000 lebih kecil dari 0.050. Hasil perbandingan peningkatan kemampuan berbicara
siswa atara grup experimen dan kontrol adalah 0.025. Hal ini berarti kopetensi berbicara siswa meningkat
secara siknifikan. Aplikasi tipe teks Interaktif Drama meningkatkan minat siswa pada
pembelajaran berbicara. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa strategi tipe teks Interaktif
Drama direspon positif oleh siswa secara siknifikan. Jawaban ’setuju’ dan ‘sangat setuju’
mendominasi questionnaire.
Kata Kunci :
Interaktif Drama, Integrasi Drama dalam Pengajaran Bahasa Inggris, Kelebihan Mengajar Bahasa
Inggris Menggunakan Drama, Prosedur Pengaplikasian Drama dalam Kelas
INTRODUCTION Background
At present, English becomes an instructional language for any kinds of business field over the
world. Many countries in South East Asia use English either as a medium of learning or a transactional
language, in this case English is categorized as a Second Language (L2), e.g., in Singapore,
Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam. How about the position of English in Indonesia? Is
English categorized as L2? In Indonesia, English is considered as a foreign language, because
not so many people use it either as a daily communication or as a medium of learning.
Considering this phenomenon, the government has decided to include English as the
compulsory subject in secondary school. In the 1994 revised curriculum, English is included as a subject in the
primary school curriculum, starting in the fourth grade. However, only the government
primary and private schools in the urban areas would have the staff to teach English (Kam &
Wong, 2004: 7). This is why many people in Indonesia want to learn English. In learning
English there are four skills should be mastered by the students. Those skills including:
speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Speaking and writing are categorized as productive skills,
while reading and listening are as receptive skills. Each of these skills has different way in mastering and expressing.
Productive skills which include speaking and writing are two important components of
communication process. As Widodo (2008: 3) stated speaking requires a greater degree of language overtime,
while writing requires a greater degree of accuracy and has been considered one of the most
difficult skills for learners to master. Speaking considered as a very crucial skill because it is
one of the basic keys of communication. By mastering speaking skills, we can carry out
communication, express ideas, purpose, and persuade to other people. Everyone needs this
skills, whatever their profession, e.g., an architect, an engineer, a business man, scientists,
teachers, etc., they need speaking skills in order to take an active part in communication
process and also to develop their knowledge. The success of teaching speaking determined by many
factors such as the teacher, the material, and the strategy applied by the teacher.. Interactive Drama
is an alternative strategy to improve students’ competence in speaking. Why do we use Interactive

3
Drama? By applying Interactive Drama, the students can learn and express themselves both through language
spoken and language expression. The students are more active in verbal communication. Drama is
also as a specific action to make the learning process more active, enjoyable, communicative, and
contextual. As Cheng (2007: 1) stated that Interactive dramas are a language learning activity in which
each student in the class takes a distinct role with specific goals and then interacts with other students in the class to
build alliances and complete common goals. Furthermore, Maley and Duff, (1978: 6) and
Wessels, (1987: 61) have pointed to the values and uses of drama: 'Drama can help the teacher to achieve 'reality' in
several ways. It can overcome the students' resistance to learning the new language.
Problem Statements
Many times the teaching of English language does not fulfill its goals. Even after years of
English teaching, the learners do not gain the confidence of using English in and outside the
class. The learners could not use the language in the real live. Their output in the language learning is just
limited in doing exercise based on the textbooks and in understanding grammar, but isolated with real
communication. Real communication involves ideas, emotions, feelings, appropriateness and
adaptability (Chauhan, 2004: 1) Lazaraton (2001: 108) wrote the challenging of speaking.
Language learners can be overloaded by the need to process incoming language while
simultaneously preparing to produce responses, meaning that few students will have the "confidence to
engage in unplanned conversations with native speakers. Another example from a Taiwanese
university, intermediate non-English majors in an oral communication class expressed the
desire for more practice in spontaneous conversation and the researcher concluded that "the aim and emphasis
of our classrooms should continue to be on dealing with communication problems that arise
in unprepared situations" (Ho, 2003: 277). Alisyahbana, (1990:1) stated, in Indonesia itself
some facts shown that most students in Indonesia find it very hard to express their ideas in
English orally. Most of them cannot communicate to each other in English, either in or
outside the classroom. Furthermore, Mukminatien (1999) found that students of English
Department have a great number of errors when speaking. The errors include pronunciation
(e.g., word stress and intonation) and based on these phenomenon the writer considers to set
the research of a strategy to improve students’ competence in speaking by applying text types
of Interactive Drama. The result of this research is expected to be useful for especially the English teachers in
developing their strategy in improving students’ speaking competence in learning process in
the classroom.
Research Questions
Based on the above statements, a number of problem statements can be formulated as follows: 1.

How are text types of Interactive Drama justifiable to improve students’ competence in
speaking? 2.

To what extend does the application of text types of Interactive Drama increase students’
interest in learning speaking?

4
Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are : 1.

To justify whether text types of Interactive Drama improve students’ speaking competence. 2.

To find out the students’ interest in learning speaking through the application of text types of
Interactive Drama.
Significance of the Study
Theoretically this study is expected to give contribution to the development of teaching
strategy in improving students’ competence in speaking. Moreover, this research can also be the
source of information for teachers or other researchers who want to conduct further study on related topic.
Practically this study is expected to be useful especially for English teachers at SMPN I
Namlea Buru Regency and other teachers generally in improving their students’ competence in
speaking.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE Previous Studies
Sparch (2004: 6) conducts research for 34 junior college students in the Applied Foreign
Languages Department at National Formosa University. He found that out of 34 students, 26 students (76%)
gave positive comments on collaborative community and creative drama in helping
elementary school students; however, 6 students (17%) expressed the difficulty of collaborative
community because (1) kids were not serious on teachers’ instruction; (2) kids did not think they were learning, they
thought they were playing instead; and (3) time conflict and hard to get control of all kids. Two
participants (7%) missed indicating the question. Based on the students’ (kids’)
questionnaire, 26 students (76%) enjoyed the time for drama plays taught by the student
teachers. They began to grow more interests on English. During the instruction, some kids
gave some very good and creative ideas to those student teachers to create an interesting story. Interview data
from the school teacher indicated that the kids also grew more confidence after this creative drama activity. Similar
findings were made in an informal study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, where
English language lessons were conducted using drama techniques (Stern 1980: 77). The study
revealed that drama encourages the operation of certain psychological factors in the
participant which improve communication: heightened self-esteem, motivation, and
spontaneity; increased capacity for empathy; and lowered sensitivity to rejection. Borge in
Hafeez (2010: 156) comes up with findings from an action research carried out at a German classroom. It
was found that the first year students of German had the least interest in learning through
drama whereas the use of drama was quite successful with the second and third year students.
He feels that one of the reasons for this is that the students in the second and third years were familiar
with one another.

5
Furthermore, Miccoli (2001: 157) investigates the effects of drama on the students of English as foreign language in
a Brazilian University. She used drama in an oral skill class and claims that it brought about changes
in the perspective and behaviour of not only the learners but also the teacher. It means that
drama contributes the improvement of learner’s competence in speaking. Students’ behaviour
changed to become more active in speaking. Cheng in Hafeez (2010: 158) undertakes a study
to investigate the students’ perception on drama activities in an advanced university English
major class. Students

feedback was solicited after drama activities. Majority of the students felt that drama was
useful for oral skills development. Moreover, the students appreciated the fact that they could
work with peers who acted as scaffolding for their learning. Drama was also found to be a motivating agent
for interaction. The study concludes that through the drama activities, the students get extensive
speaking practice. Gray (2002: 88) conducts a cross study analysis of children's writing from five
classrooms using process drama. The teacher and the students read “Where the Wild Things
Are” written by Sendak. After the reading, the teacher put the students in the wild settings
assuming wild roles. Then the teacher and the students discussed their feelings about the
activity, jungle and journey, and the new things they had learnt. Having done that, the teacher
asked the students to pen down their experiences. The activity revealed that the students took a great
interest in the writing activity. All the other classes responded in the similar manner. O
‟Gara in
Hafeez (2010: 157) undertakes an experimental study to gauge the effectiveness of using drama to teach
verb tenses to English as foreign language Italian school students. Though the results are hardly
replicable due to very small class size and an enviable socio-cultural background of the students, the
study concludes that the use of drama to teach tenses is more effective compared to the use of traditional
methodology. O
‟Gara found that the students taught through drama were more enthusiastic than their
counterparts in the control group. The studies mentioned above discussed the use of drama in
English Language Teaching but none of them has discussed what text types of dramas that
have been applied in the classroom or How the strategies to integrate drama into learning
process have been chosen or preferable. However, text types of drama and strategies to
integrate them into learning process are important part in improving students’ speaking
ability. It is therefore, the researcher interested in conducting the research “Interactive Drama
as a Teaching Strategy to Improve Students’ Competence in Speaking”.
What is Interactive Drama?
According to Phillips (1996:3), Interactive Drama is a form of deconstructed drama which takes the
Environmental Theatre paradigm of combining spaces for audience and performer and eliminates the
difference between the two completely. In Interactive Drama, the actor is the audience. Cheng (2007:1) states
that Interactive dramas are a language learning activity in which each student in the class takes a
distinct role with specific goals and then interacts with other students in the class to build alliances and
complete common goals. It means that an interactive drama is an event in which the director and players
work together to create a role. The player comes to the venue of the activity, immerses himself
or herself into the role, and then begins to interact with the other characters involved in the
activity. They often interact in small groups to exchange information, create alliances, or
negotiate

6
treaties. Players often try to discover the secrets of other players while at the same time suppressing the
dissemination of their own secrets. As the participants interact, a story is created. The twists
of the plot depend on the actions taken by the participants in the drama. Alptekin (2002:58)
points out that Interactive dramas provide an alternative way to expose students to the Culture
that native English speakers have as part of their background knowledge. They also provide
students with a activity for practicing the appropriate use of language. Interactive dramas are
also social activities that are played through the verbal interchange of the players making
them ideal activities for language learners (Phillips & Cheng 2004:228).
Integrating Drama Activities into ELT
Holden suggests the following five-point plan for integrating drama activities into the lesson
(Holden 1982: 14). 1.

Firstly, the teacher presents the idea, theme, or problem to the students, organizing any
preliminary work and making sure that the students know precisely what to do. 2.

Secondly, the students discuss in groups what they are going to do and exactly how they are
going to do this. 3.

Thirdly, the students experiment in groups with various interpretations until they are satisfied
with one. 4.

Fourthly, it consists of students showing their interpretation or solution to another group or to


the rest of the class. 5.

Fifthly, even in place of the fourth stage-the students may discuss their solution in groups or
with the rest of the class. This discussion can serve as a form of assessment for the students of their work.
The Advantage of Teaching Language through Drama
Heldenbrand in Hafeez (2010:3) reviews the research on using drama in teaching English and
highlights several advantages of teaching speaking through drama which include : 1. Drama is
fun. 2. Drama is a relaxed and informal way to learn English. 3. Drama helps to learn new vocabulary and
expressions in their proper environment. 4. Drama helps in proper pronunciation and intonation in
English 5. Drama builds confidence in the learner
‟s ability to speak English.
6. Drama builds a better understanding of culture 7. Drama motivates the student of English 8. Drama
removes the focus from English textbook 9. Drama involves the whole person as a total physical activity

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