The Impact of the Storyline Method on the Foreign Language Classroom: An Action Research Case Study with Military Linguist Cadets

PhD Thesis

Mitchell, Peter 2016. The Impact of the Storyline Method on the Foreign Language Classroom: An Action Research Case Study with Military Linguist Cadets. PhD Thesis
AuthorsMitchell, Peter
TypePhD Thesis

The Storyline method requires learners to create a fictive world and take on the role of characters in a story which they develop themselves. The story, co-created with the teacher, is based around a topic in the curriculum. In the course of the story, key questions based on curriculum-mandated aims are asked by the teacher in order to engage the learners in tasks during which learning occurs. Although Storyline has been used for many years in the classroom, its applicability to the foreign language classroom has only been researched recently and not extensively. By establishing a simulated ‘real world’ and providing students with ownership of their learning, students can use and improve their language skills, developing intercultural communicative competence in a meaningful context. This action research case study investigated the impact of the Storyline method on the foreign language classroom in the context of teaching military linguist cadets at a Russian university. A fictive base of a United Nations military observation mission, invented by the students themselves, served as a meaningful context for learning. The aim of the study was to improve the effectiveness of teaching in terms of developing language skills and raising student motivation, in the context of teaching English as a foreign language to military linguist cadets. The study found that the student response was positive, with improvements in motivation and satisfaction with the teaching and learning process. Moreover, students also showed improvements in terms of English language skills. It was also discovered that Storyline could benefit from adaption to include form-focused instruction for teaching grammar points. Additionally, explicit explanations of certain Storyline activities, in particular art work, might be beneficial when working with military linguist cadets. Ultimately Storyline was found to be an effective foreign language teaching method for military linguist cadets in Russia and has potential for use in other foreign language teaching for specific purposes contexts owing to its capacity for making language learning more relevant to the real life contexts in which professionals find themselves.

KeywordsStoryline Method; Foreign Language Teaching; ELT; Military Linguist; Action research; Case study
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/609884
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited19 May 2016, 15:37
Publication datesApr 2016
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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