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Immersive practices in English language teaching/learning at university: drama and virtual reality





International audience Virtual reality has been brought into the language classroom through the use of virtual worlds such as Second Life (Wigham & Chanier, 2013) to immerse learners in authentic communication situations. Then, technology has made further progress to give way to an even more augmented version of virtual reality through the use of virtual reality headsets that promise 360° immersion in virtual environments. Language learning/teaching has taken hold of these new objects in order to study their educational value (Chateau et al., 2019). However, the use of these high-tech objects raises many questions: how to live and make immersion come alive? What are the effects of affordances on the feeling of immersion? And, as English teachers, we wonder about the consequences of their use on communication skills, particularly in oral comprehension and production. In other words, the question is whether immersion makes it possible to understand and speak better if it is experienced in a situation. Indeed, scientific research on the feeling of presence seems to put the light on greater participatory and cognitive engagement on the part of learners when they feel present/ telepresent. This presentation will allow me to focus on the observation and evaluation of these immersive practices by comparing them to drama practices including role-play in a pedagogical context in order to provide some answers to the questions above-mentioned. I will illustrate my presentation by referring to a series of experiments carried out at the University of Lorraine using VR headsets and drama practices to promote oral comprehension and production by language students.

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