online casino for mac os http://www.euro-online.org *-online.org

Role-Play to Stimulate Large Reading Classes

Writer(s): 
I-Jung Chen, Takming College, Taipei

QUICK GUIDE

  • Key Words:Reading classes, role-play
  • Learner English Level: Pre-intermediate and higher
  • Learner Maturity Level: Junior high school to college
  • Preparation Time: Very little
  • Activity Time: Two classes

Role-play has been widely adopted in conversation classrooms, because it creates a situation for the learners to actively interact in the language, thereby making language learning more meaningful (Krish, 2001). Ladousse (1987) states that role-play also uses different communicative techniques to develop fluency in the language, promoting interaction and increasing motivation.

In the following activity, role-play acts to stimulate large reading classes, engaging students in the four language skills simultaneously (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The steps presented below integrate the training of the different skills, resulting in an overall improvement of students' language competencies.

As reading classes are often large, there may be some students who seem uninvolved, acting indifferently. Peer evaluation helps students to interact with others, and they have the benefit of observing others' performances. It is also a good way to focus students on the task of the class.

The evaluation criteria for role-plays are: fluency, pronunciation, clearness and loudness, relevance to the article, and extra creativity. Points for clearness and loudness are awarded in order to encourage performers, because language learners often feel uncomfortable speaking, especially in front of the whole class. Points for relevance encourage groups to use words and sentences from the article while preparing scripts, functioning to reinforce language learned (like pattern drilling), but presented and practiced in a meaningful way. Creativity points may be awarded to students who put extra effort into their performance, including designing good dialogues, using props, or contributing anything that increases the fun of the activity.

Procedure

Class 1:

Students are introduced to an article from a reading textbook.

Step 1: The instructor explains new vocabulary, sentence patterns, and relevant cultural background information.

Step 2: Students form groups of three to five members.

Step 3: In preparation for the role-play, the teacher provides the following guidance: Each group will follow the scenario in the text and create a 5-minute conversation with at least five lines of speaking for each group member.

Step 4: Students prepare the scripts as homework prior to the next class meeting.

Class 2:

Following a preliminary review of the text, this class features the role-play activity.

Step 1: Students act out their plays. While groups perform, the other groups evaluate performances, recording points from one through five (one point is the lowest) for each category on the Evaluation Sheet, reproduced below.

Table 1: Evaluation Sheet

Circle the number of points you would like to give in each category (1 is the lowest).

 

Fluency

Pronunciation

Clearness & Loudness

Relevance to the Article

Extra Creativity

Total

Group 1

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

 

Group 2

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

 

Group 3

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

 

…….

…….

…….

…….

…….

…….

 

Step 2: Students comment in English on other groups' performances. Each group chooses a presenter to talk about the most impressive events&emdash;good, bad, or funny&emdash;during the performance. For lower level students, the instructor may offer a few sentence patterns, such as I like group #, because they are very _______. or Group # is _______, because they have/don't have_______.

Step 3: Reflection. Students are required to write a short report in English about this activity as homework. Anything they wish to share with the teacher regarding this activity is welcomed. This assignment has two purposes: (a) to solicit students' reactions, and (b) to give the chance to practice writing skills.

Outcomes

Upon announcing this role-play assignment, it was obvious that I had caught the students' attention. I noticed, particularly, that students' attitudes changed significantly from passive to active engagement in practicing pronunciation and exploring the content of the article. The number of questions posed by class members also increased dramatically.

During the performance, students were not only engaged, but also enthusiastic. Laughter was a sure sign that class members enjoyed themselves. Since the scripts were all based on the same text, most of the role-plays employed similar sentence patterns and vocabulary. This made the performances easy for students to pay attention to, and understand, facilitating helpful evaluations at the end.

References

Krish, P. (2001). A role-play activity with distance learners in an English language classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, 7 (7). [Online]. Available: iteslj.org/Articles/Krish-Role-play.html
Ladousse, G. P. (1987). Role-play. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Website developed by deuxcode.com