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November 24, 2006

Tips and Tricks- Setting up a Roleplay

Hello Readers,

Chances are, you've probably had your students work on a role-play at some point in time. Do you know what your goal is during the activity? Do they run smoothly? Do you know what you should be doing before, during and after a role-play? Do you have any resources to help guide you through a role-play or other fluency activity?

If you can't answer the above questions on your own...

... then continue reading for some of the answers.

First of all, a role-play is just one kind of fluency activity. Other kinds of activities that try to get students communicating include pair interviews, picture differences and planning a holiday (see "Learning Teaching", by J. Scrivener, for more ideas).

The goal of this kind of activity is fluency. Whether a student speaks with 100% accuracy or not is of no concern to you. Instead, the focus should be on getting the students to speak freely about the topic that you give them.

If your role-plays have not run smoothly in the past, take a look at what you should be doing before, during and after a role-play.

1. Set up a clear context.
2. Teach any vocabulary that the students will need to know in order to complete the activity
3. Give clear instructions, demonstrating the activity if necessary
4. Set a time limit
5. Give students time to think about what they're saying before they start

1. Try not to interfere unless there is a communication breakdown
2. Listen to the students to monitor their work
3. Write down examples of the language used (both good and bad examples)

1. Ask the students to give feedback about the task itself
2. Use the examples of the language used (during the RP) as feedback
3. Praise the students on their efforts

For further reading about using role-plays in the classroom, you might want to check out the following book: "Learning Teaching," by Jim Scrivener.

What do you think about these suggestions? Do you agree, disagree, or have any further suggestions to add to the list? Feel free to comment below.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*For more ESL Tips & Tricks from ESL-Lesson-Plan, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at November 24, 2006 12:17 PM

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