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  • Writer's pictureIshani Wijayasiri

How role play improves your speaking English language skills

Speaking is an important skill for English students to learn, even though English covers four skills: speaking, listening, speaking, and writing. Speaking is the primary means by which students learn English. Unfortunately, the students found it difficult to improve their speaking skills because they were more accustomed to using their native language in their daily lives than English. The facts stated above indicate that the lecturer should use techniques that encourage students to speak and engage students in encouraging activities. Role play is one technique for encouraging students to speak up. We do role plays in Institute of Technical Education- Nochchimoddai. We develop their speaking ability using this method.

Even though English covers four skills: speaking, listening, speaking, and writing, speaking is an important skill for English students to learn. Students learn English primarily through speaking. Unfortunately, the students struggled to improve their speaking skills because they were more accustomed to using their native language than English in their daily lives. According to the facts stated above, the lecturer should employ techniques that encourage students to speak and engage students in encouraging activities. One technique for encouraging students to speak up is role play.

Based on his observations in the conversation class, Hatting’s (1993) believes that role play is the ideal activity in which students can use their English creatively. It aims to stimulate a conversation situation in which students may find themselves and give them an opportunity to practice and develop their communication skills. Furthermore, role play encompasses all aspects of English proficiency: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Students will practice making the conversation interesting in order to entice the audience. They will then learn to simulate their speaking before giving a performance. It shows that students are motivated to give good public speaking performances.

There are five criteria how students achieve better speaking skill

1. Vocabulary. It is defined vocabulary as total number of words in a language or list of word with their meaning. This criterion has a massive reflection toward people speaking skill in order to express their idea. Lacking of vocabulary cause a gap in every conversation.

2. Pronunciation. It is related reverential meaning by stress and intonation of target language. People who have good speaking skill produce a proper utterance and can be comprehend by listener in every word.

3. Effort is the third criteria to measure a good speaking skill. the quality of student effort is defined as how much voluntary behavior or personal investment a student makes for their education. It has been examined as how often students carry out learning activities, such as taking detailed notes during class, giving proper appreciation on student’s effort is very important to bring encouragement in learning process.

4. Fluency is an ability to talk in coherent and fill time with talk. In other definition, this word can be defined as ‘flow’ in Latin origin. People with a good speaking skill tend to more fluent, accurate, smooth, lucid, and efficient when they engage conversation.

5. The last criteria is Creativity is the abilities that are most characteristic of creative people. In line with Jarger in Wolf (2012) explains that creativity can be defined as ability to produce something appropriate, generative, and influential. It may not directly measure people speaking skill, but in context of role play and simulation technique. Creativity appreciation provide students encouragement.

In the Institute of Technical Education—Nochchimodai, we are doing our English class online. That teacher uses role-playing methods for our students. Because of this method, our students' skills are improving well.

Benefits of Role Playing

Role playing can be effectively used in the classroom to:

· Motivate and engage students

· Enhance current teaching strategies

· Provide real-world scenarios to help students learn

· Learn skills used in real-world situations (negotiation, debate, teamwork, cooperation, persuasion)

Provide opportunities for critical observation of peers

Guidelines in Developing Role-Playing Exercises

Using a set of guidelines can be helpful in planning role playing exercise.

· If you plan to use role playing as a graded exercise, introduce small, non-graded role plays early in and during the semester to help students prepare for a larger role play which will be assessed.

· Determine how the role play will be assessed: will observers be given an assessment rubric? Will observers’ remarks and scores be shared with the role players? Will the observers’ scores be included with the instructor’s scores? Will the role players be given the opportunity to revise and present the role play again? Will observers be taught how to properly assess the performance (include meaningful feedback that is not purely judgmental but rather justify all remarks that are practical and unbiased)?

· Instruct students that the purpose of the role play is to communicate a message about the topic and not focus as much on the actual person acting the role.

· Tie role plays to learning objectives so students see their relevance to course content.

· Allow time for students to practice the role play, even if it is spontaneous, so they will be able to think deeply about the role and present it in a meaningful way.

· Reduce large chunks of content into smaller sections which can be more effectively presented as a role play.

· When assigning a role play, explain its purpose and answer questions so students are able to properly prepare the exercise. Provide guidelines about content to include: general presentation behavior (eye contact, gestures, voice projection); use of props; and specific language to be used (content-related vocabulary) and language not to be used (profanity, slang).

· Challenge all students equally when assigning role plays so everyone will be assessed on equal ground.

Examples of Role Play Exercises

Students can gain additional (and alternative) meaning from the context of role playing than from non-context specific book learning and lectures. By means of guidance from clearly developed objectives and instructions, role plays can help students gain knowledge and skills from a variety of learning situations:

Interview practice—In preparation for career interviews, students can assume the role of the interviewer and/or the interviewee.

Marketing—In preparation for a class presentation, students can assume the position of a sales representative and sell a product.

Retailing—To help prepare students for a guest speaker in merchandising course, students can play the role of sales manager and sales representative to gain better insight on the responsibilities of these positions.

Counselling—In preparing for clinical practice, students can role play a family therapist whose client has revealed she has committed a criminal act.

Teaching—In preparation for a job fair, students can role play the teacher and the student, or the administrator and the student, or the teacher and a parent.

Debates—As a spontaneous exercise, the instructor has students briefly prepare arguments for and arguments against positions on a topic such as Logging in the Northwest and the Spotted Owl, Arab-Israeli Conflict or Air

line Flight Departure Delays.

As an Institute of Technical Education -Nochchimoddai, we prepare our students for their future. So, we do our best for them. We are an educational institute, so we have responsibility for their future.

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