SOAS University of London

Criteria and Resources for a Performance Approach to Language Learning

Contact: Meili Fang


This project will develop a documentation of and resources for a Performance Approach to language learning, an approach which has been developed by Meili Fang over several years and has been used for teaching Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese (Hokkien) and Karaim, an endangered language spoken in Lithuania.


In the Performance Approach, performance is a primary goal and learning activity. A range of simple and concrete activities are used, together with group preparation and presentation of an original piece for drama. Audio and video technologies are used to extend the values of the activities.

Performance continually builds up in layers the learner’s repertoire of all skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. The approach is especially effective for rapid learning, in a measurable way, and creating new resources along the way. Some Performance Approach activities, such as drama, are some of the only ways for effectively developing language functions such as modality and expressing emotions.

Aims and Objectives

This project aims to 

  • document the Performance Approach to language learning 
  • create a teacher-friendly document that outlines the criteria for the Performance Approach and examples of how to implement it
  • create video materials showing the value of drama in language learning
  • disseminate the information about the Performance Approach

Products, Outputs & Outcomes

Outputs of the project are

  • a short manual for teachers using the Performance Approach, with examples
  • example curriculum from a course using the Performance Approach
  • evaluation via student questionnaires and structured learner feedback
  • audio recordings of performance examples in classroom situations
  • video documentation of aspects of student drama production, including rehearsal and complete performance
  • a public presentation or a short series of seminars to SOAS/UCL staff outlining and demonstrating the Performance Approach, allowing evaluation of results
Invited talks and keynote speaker