An Open Table for Using Dungeons & Dragons with University EFL Students at a Foreign Language Resource Center
Tabletop role-playing games (TTRGPs) are growing in importance to the culture of the English-speaking world. 2022 marks the 10th year since the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons was introduced, with the game's growth and profitability soaring to record heights at a point when most TTRPGs would have reached market saturation and the end of its commercial viability (Abadia, 2021a). This record success has encouraged Hasbro to push Dungeons & Dragons further into the entertainment space (Abadia, 2021b), resulting in representations of Dungeons & Dragons in TV (Lawrence, 2021), movies (Ashton, 2021), and video games (Wilde, 2021). Given the continuing media saturation of Dungeons & Dragons into the English-speaking world, teaching the language and culture of TTRPGs is increasing in importance as a worthwhile area of language teaching. In addition, the shared storytelling nature of Dungeons & Dragons naturally lends itself to positive relationship building (Shea, 2019) through creating an environment requiring communication, a necessary component for language acquisition (Long, 1981). In this Show & Tell presentation, the presenter will describe the process of creating a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game club at the Global Education Research Center of a large university in Tokyo. After briefly covering how the game of Dungeons & Dragons has become more prevalent in the English-speaking culture, the presenter will describe the principles used to orient the club as a language learning environment: namely, the after-school enrichment program model of education and open-table design principles (Alexander, 2011, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c). Following this, the presenter will outline the online resources, including blogs, podcasts, and videos that inspired the club's structure and content. Next, the presenter will describe the process of navigating the administration structure of the resource center. Finally, the presenter will describe the reactions of the students who attend.