Role-play is a classroom activity in which learners take on a ‘role’, they play the part of someone else, from a simple discussion between a tourist when asking for directions in a new city or at the airport, to more elaborate conversation about the American Dream or Genetics. Role-play is a useful tool not only for developing language skills, but also for increasing sociocultural knowledge and intercultural awareness.
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Depending on how a role-play is designed and set up, it can be used for wide variety of purposes. Frequently, role plays are used to offer a chance to practice the language of particular situations, but they can also be used to practice particular areas of grammar, sets of vocabulary, functional language and even features of pronunciation. They may not even have a specific language focus and can be used to provide opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills. Role-plays are simple but important way of extending the range of useful practice.
There are many good reasons for using role-plays in class: – role-plays elp students cope with real-life situations, commonly used expressions, forcing them to think “on their feet”; – role-plays help students work together as a team or group, and communicate in order to understand each other, because role-plays are not simple acts of reading or reproduction the information from a piece of paper; role-plays can be adapted to the needs of the students, they may use specific vocabulary for specific situations, as learning English is sometimes done for a specific – role-plays give learners more responsibility in their learning, purpose; role-plays offer students the chance to evaluate their encouraging interaction; learning progress and their level of English.
Role-plays in general tend to have some common characteristics: they are usually spoken, but they can be conducted in written form, they usually involve role cards (role cards are very useful but not always necessary); in role plays learners are pretending to be someone else, there are also contexts when learners can play themselves; role plays, most of the time, involve some preparation, this does not mean that role-plays
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are always planned in advance. When using role-play as a teaching tool there are some stages to be followed: 1. Preparation time: it is very important to give students time to prepare themselves in order to understand the task and role card, to think some ideas and appropriate language. 2. Students ought to be watched and actively helped, but the teacher should avoid interrupting or interfering too much in the role-play because a role-play is usually a chance to practice using language to communicate.
It is often more important being fluent and getting one’s message across than getting it 100% correct. Afterwards the teacher must give his/her feedback and correct the mistakes students have made. 3. All students should be involved as they may feel watched and judged. It is very easy to turn many activities into role-plays besides those from textbooks. Many teachers like to support role-plays with some kind of prop or realia. Using props can help make a role-play feel more real and more fun. Props and realia level of security and confidence. Props that are easily used, being present in the classroom can be: mobile phones, a hat, sunglasses, newspapers and magazines.