Spoken Word Choreographies Integrating Dance and Swedish Language Learning in Upper Secondary School

  • Jusslin, S. (Speaker)
  • Kaisa Korpinen (Speaker)
  • Niina Lilja (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationConference presentation


Recently, interest in the role of embodiment in language learning has increased in language education research. There is an accumulating amount of research that shows how arts-based approaches provide affective benefits to language learning, create meaningful and authentic language learning situations, and strengthen students’ feelings of ownership of language. This research has, however, mostly focused on pre- and primary level education as well as higher education (Jusslin et al., ongoing). Thus, there is still little research-based knowledge about how and if arts-based approaches in language education can contribute to upper secondary school students’ language learning.
Contextualized in the research project Embodied Language Learning through the Arts (2021–2024), the current paper presents an intra-vention that asks “what happens if” (Taylor, 2018) dance and language are integrated and intertwined. More specifically, the study investigates the integration of dance and learning Swedish as L2 in the dance course “Dansa med språk” initiated and held by a dance teacher at a Finnish upper secondary school. Accordingly, the study explores how can language learning be integrated in the practice of dance teaching. It draws on a new materialist approach (Barad, 2007) to language learning, acknowledging knowledge/knowing and language/languaging as embodied, relational, processual and entangled processes (Pennycook, 2016; Toohey, 2019).
A total of 19 students participated in the course on which the study draws. The students had various previous experiences of both Swedish and dancing. Our analytical focus lies on spoken word choreographies created during the course. The spoken word choreographies are word- and dance-based performances where the students engage in expressing issues of femininity and bodies. The choreographies resulted in short video recordings. The research materials for our analysis include video observations, group interviews, reflective diaries, and video recordings of the spoken word choreographies. The presentation will provide examples and analyses of the students’ meaning-making in creating the spoken word choreographies and discuss the implications of using an arts-based approach to language learning in upper secondary school.
Period24 May 2022
Event titleNordens språk som andraspråk
Event typeConference
Conference number15
LocationReykjavík, IcelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational