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Exploring the use of drama pedagogy to develop lifelong learning through "College Chinese": a drama program case study in the Communication University of China



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Wang, Lu 


Lifelong Learning is the development of human potential through a continuously supportive process which stimulates individuals to acquire knowledge and skills throughout their lifetimes (Dewey, 1910; Leicester & Field, 2000). It is significant both for the individual and the society in the 21st century, especially for China. Inspired by the Lisbon Key Competences (Cziboly, 2010) and Capability Approach, the author defined five core capabilities for lifelong learning related to this educational research: language capability, learning capability, creative capability, aesthetic and cultural capabilities, and social and civic capabilities.

Drama in educational settings is the focus on the educational function to define drama as a teaching and learning method (DfES, 2003). It incorporates elements of an actor’s training to facilitate students’ physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Drama used as a pedagogy in education is seen as a valuable tool for learning in many aspects related to language learning and lifelong learning (Cziboly, 2010). However, influenced by culture and history, drama pedagogy is less well developed in China compared to the West, in terms of both theory and practice.

In this research, the author conducted a case study using drama pedagogy to design a drama program through “College Chinese” teaching in the Communication University of China. The two main research questions were 1) to explore the relationship between drama pedagogy and lifelong learning and 2) to discover the positive and negative effects of using drama pedagogy in the Chinese context. For the second question, the author used the concept of “localisation”, which is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. Although it is a term that is more often used in business and economics, the author used it in this research because it is closely related to the idea of adapting a teaching strategy from one distinct cultural area (e.g. the West) to another (e.g. China).

This research contributes to the theory of the relationship between drama pedagogy and lifelong learning. It also has implications for the localisation of liberal pedagogy in indigenous contexts and the future educational reform in China.





Morrison, Morag


Lifelong Learning, Drama Pedagogy, Localisation


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
China Scholarship Council