Involving and Motivating Learners Through Dialogue Writing and Role-Play

Writer(s): 
Yaser Khajavi, Shiraz University

Quick Guide 

  • Keywords: Dialogue writing, role play, motivation, involvement
  • Learner English level: Intermediate and above
  • Learner maturity: Junior high school through high school 
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Materials: Varies depending on student activity
  • Activity time: 10 minutes per group

Almost all teachers like to have active and cooperative students. One problem some teachers in foreign language contexts face is a lack of student participation and cooperation when practicing dialogues. This may be because the dialogues are not interesting or relevant to students’ lives. Personalized learning is regarded as an effective strategy for engaging students in the process of learning. The following activity proved successful in motivating and engaging students in my classes.

Preparation

Step 1: Divide students into self-selected groups with three or four to a group.

Step 2: Explain the features of a good dialogue, such as context, characters, and so on.

Step 3: Provide basic materials such as markers and paper.

Procedure

Step 1: Have students write short, meaningful dialogues in their groups using words they know or have learnt in their lessons. Their dialogues should have an original context and purpose with original characters they have devised. They can adopt different situations, such as in a bank or restaurant. The teacher acts as facilitator at this stage and should not overtly provide ideas on dialogues.

Step 2: After completion of their dialogues, learners should perform in front of the class. This takes the form of role-plays. Students are allowed to use props such as pictures, signs, and other materials when performing. They may choose to make use of costumes or other props to demonstrate their job or identity.

Step 3: Assign scores to each group based on the quality of their dialogues and their performance. This can be done using a checklist.

Step 4: Point out the strengths and weaknesses of the groups at the end of the class, paying special attention to pronunciation mistakes, word choice problems, and other technical aspects of the language.

Step 5: Announce one group as the winner to encourage them and motivate other groups for future role-plays.

Conclusion

This activity involves students and helps them develop their abilities. The strengths of the activity include encouraging student creativity, increasing engagement, and motivating students to take active ownership of their dialogue. Teachers can use this activity in their classes as a project or end of term challenge. They should see more active and cooperative students.

 
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