The purpose of this paper is to confirm the usefulness of using a radio drama in general English writing classes at the university level. Authentic audio-visual materials often motivate learners to watch and listen to the information provided in the target language. Recently, a lot of research has identified the merits of using films, TV dramas, and other visual materials for developing students’ listening abilities. However, there have been very few papers reporting on the usefulness of radio dramas used in foreign language classrooms, especially the use of them as input to stimulate writing practice, namely to promote output activities. One of those few papers is the author’s former article in the 2015 edition of this journal.
A radio-style drama of 11 episodes, Acapulco Vacation, was used for an English writing course in the autumn semesters of 2013 and 2014. Three different groups of students (in total 77 students) took it as a compulsory subject. One of the three groups is comprised of lower-intermediate education major students (average TOEIC score of 373.3) and the other two are comprised of intermediate-level engineering and human-science students (average TOEIC scores of 623.3 and 593.3). The students were expected to listen to one of the 11 episodes before each class, and worked on open-type comprehension questions, writing their answers on a worksheet every week. Also, each student wrote a 500-word summary of the whole story as an assignment at the end of the course. A questionnaire was conducted in the last lesson to evaluate the course.
The results of the survey indicated that most of the students found it useful to use the radio drama to practice writing as well as listening, regardless of the differences in their English proficiency or their majors. They also felt that their writing abilities had improved. In addition, many comments indicated that the use of the radio drama created positive attitudes and motivation for second/foreign language learning.