Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



Second Language teachers are challenged to consistently create communicative and meaningful activities while maintaining a low-anxiety classroom for language acquisition. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the theatrical technique of improvisation and to understand if the technique improved students’ self-efficacy, oral proficiency, and learning satisfaction. This mixed method study was conducted with an experimental group (n = 10) and a control group (n = 3) at an English language program on a university campus through convenience sampling. Qualitative data were collected through class observations, student interviews, student journals, and video observations and three quantitative pre and posttest measurements (learning satisfaction measurement, self-efficacy measurement, and TOEFL Independent Speaking question). The experimental group received lessons using the improvisational technique twice a week for five weeks while the control group did not receive the treatment but were observed over the same period of time. The qualitative data were analyzed both with a prioricodes and open-coding while the quantitative data were analyzed using the nonparametric Wilcoxon Signed Ranks with SPSS software.

The results were compiled in a narrative format to provide a complete picture of the classroom activities and interactions. From the qualitative sources, the frequency of code instances demonstrated that students were more creative, communicative, and spontaneous with the second language compared to the control group. Furthermore, the students in the experimental group presented more classroom satisfaction. The Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test for the experimental group was p = 0.114 for self-efficacy, p = 0.026 for TOEFL independent question, and p = 0.028 learning satisfaction.

The qualitative findings indicated that improvisation had a positive impact on self-efficacy, oral proficiency and overall learning satisfaction in the classroom. These findings are significant given the impact they have on second language acquisition. Furthermore, it is essential for second language teachers to have a reliable tool that increases acquisition as well as creating a fun and engaging classroom.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret Mary



Available for download on Thursday, September 18, 2025