Home Forums iTDi TESOL Certificate Role plays Role plays

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    • #8651


      What is your own experience of follow-up activities like those suggested in Activity 9? If you have no experience, which would you like to try, and why?

      Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.

    • #8676

      Steven Herder

      In activity 9, they suggested 3 ideas for follow-ups to a role play activity:

      1. Perform in front of the class
      2. Write (part of) the dialog in your notebook
      3. Try the role play again with a new partner

      I have done all three of these ideas and, as always, each one can work well depending on the context, level, AND personality of your class. One other thing I have noticed is the “trust” factor. They really need to trust each other a certain amount for the role plays to be fun at the practice stage and at the performance stage. Sometimes, we can create a lot of trust in the room, but other times there are cliques that never seem to feel comfortable working with other students. I do my best, but realize that there are other dynamics besides my language class that may affect my lessons.

      Other ideas I have tried:

      1. Change partners as many times as feels right. That can be 3 times or 7 times depending on the class and the activity.
      2. Have someone record the role play with one of the members’ smart phone. Then have the pair watch it and find one thing they liked, and one thing that is not good enough YET. Google Carol Dweck to learn more about the power of “not yet”.
      3. Do a reflection circle to ask how Ss felt during the role play, with a focus on future activities.

    • #8723

      Rhett Burton

      Few pairs to stand up and repeat their conversation
      Pairs write part of their conversation as a dialogue
      A second conversation with a new partner

      Sadly, I haven’t been doing too many role plays in my class. I have been working on a story play concept, but I rarely incorporate the skills required to perform the tasks (alone, pairs, or groups). I know I sometimes do them, and I do them in phases, but I don’t think that I do them enough to skill-build.

      My level 2 course help children project themselves on the characters. They use monologues to learn patterns. Dialogues do happen, but only when the interaction requires it. I also love it when students can perform the songs (similar to role-plays at an early stage).

      I love having my students write. I have been collecting a lot of evidence that I perform these tasks by writing songs on the board.

      Repetition through role-plays can be tricky with young learners because they don’t always understand ‘deliberate practice.’ I try to hide it (stealth techniques) by breaking up the present, practice, and production stages with a variety of multi-sense activities.

      I am interested in using circling techniques with role-playing to help flood the comprehensible input and output.

      I am a big believer of what Steven mentioned about Carol Dweck research into a growth mindset and the power of ‘not yet.’

      • #8744

        When I was teaching young learners regularly, we didn’t include roleplays although we did so things like pretend to be different animals or do charades. However, as a kid and for my own kids in kindy, having short plays performed for parents is quite common, so why not skits or puppet theatre, which kids do naturally when playing with dolls and soft toys, for example?

        In addition, kids like to dress up and play make-believe, and you can see how Kidzania have capitalized on this massively. Halloween also presents some good opportunities for roleplays and similar activities. You can even combine ideas and have funny twists, too, like a Mummy visiting a doctor or a vampire going to the dentist! 😉

    • #8731

      Barbara Bujtás

      I would have them practice the dialogue with new partners, then write one of the dialogues of their choice. If they are comfortable with creative solutions, I would ask them to swap the dialogues and expand them.

      • #8745

        Sounds good. Which students do you think you might use these activities with?

        Just returning to the first part of the Activity question, Barbi – what have been your experiences with the 3 follow-up activities listed?

        1. Perform in front of the class
        2. Write (part of) the dialog in your notebook
        3. Try the role play again with a new partner
    • #10875

      Masatoshi Shoji

      It’s a nice idea to expand.

    • #10876

      Masatoshi Shoji

      Practicing the dialogue with a new partner is challenging but interesting. However, setting up the situation and instructions must be clear to the students.

      • #10880

        What do you consider challenging about practicing the dialogue again with a new partner?

        Please also add your comments for the other two options:
        1. Perform in front of the class
        2. Write (part of) the dialog in your notebook

        What’s your experience with them or would like to try them and why or why not?

    • #10895

      Masatoshi Shoji

      1: I avoid this as it requires a strong trust.
      2: This is good but sometimes time-consuming.

      I would not try 1 but try 2 due the above reasons.

      • #10915

        1. Yes, it takes time to do well and students definitely need to feel comfortable with each other.

        As such, I’ve typically done skits with Japanese university students after a month or two of classes. Most students enjoy them a lot and the performance factor means they practice themselves out of class, so it’s worth thinking about how to set things up and when to have students perform.

        By giving students the option to use props, including puppets, it also allows shyer students to perform well without having to be on stage directly. One year, a couple of students asked to use the OHP and did a very memorable shadow puppet theatre.

        2. Yes, it can be time-consuming but if it’s a simple dialogue, it need not take so much time in class. You can also scaffold certain dialogues by providing some phrases, for example.

        For dialogues that students need to create entirely by themselves, I tend to set this as an assignment out of class. Then they share their dialogues in class the following week and find partners/small groups they would like to work with. There are a number of possibilities, for example, (a) they can take turns to direct their dialogue, or (b) work together to develop a new dialogue – somewhat easier once they’ve been through the process once already on their own. If it’s a new dialogue, it’s helpful to have students discuss and storyboard it first.

    • #12933

      Rhett Burton

      1. Ask a few pairs to stand up and repeat their conversation.
      2. Pairs write part of their conversation as a dialogue.
      3. Students have a second conversation with a new partner.

      These three steps are good at doing controlled practice during an emergent task. When I worked in an English village, we used to do roleplays work with games like Bingo. The kids were excited to repeat the speaking task because they were always rewarded. These sorts of roleplay grids didn’t work when playing in small pairs because students were more interested in winning the game, not using the dialogues.

      Students are willing to play along with the idea of roleplaying when they know about the characters, theme, and situation. Once I tried using figurines to roleplay situations as I did with my toys when I was young. But I never succeeded because the children had no investment into who the character or why their journey mattered. This observation led me to the character-first approach, where I have to find characters my students knew, liked, and could relate to.

      • #12945

        Whilst 1 and 2 serve more like controlled practice activities with 1 aimed at fluency development and 2 more able to focus on accuracy, number 3 can involve a lot freer language use depending on the students.

        That’s a good point you make about mingling bingo activities (or Find Someone Who grids) with students more focused on winning the game than using the language. One tweak that works well is to have follow-up questions so that each box is worth up to 3 points, e.g. 1 point for the initial question with up to 2 bonuses for follow-up questions. This leads to 2-3 turn mini-dialogues as students realised they can get more points by talking to the same partners a bit longer before switching:

        e.g. Have you ever been to another country?
        YES -> Where? … When? … Who with? etc
        NO -> Really? Why not? … Would you like to?

        You also make an excellent point about getting into character which is also important to ensure more successful roleplays even with adults. Asking questions to involve students in setting the scene as well as developing their character really help and can be built into the practice stage:
        e.g. Imagine you’re a famous character. Who are you? What do you look like? Are you ___ or ___ etc.
        Imagine you’re at a restaurant. What kind of restaurant is it? Is is quiet or busy? etc

    • #12935

      Jessica Sohn

      I would have them practice the dialogue with new partners.
      I find it very useful in my classes.

      1.Perform in front of class
      2.Write the dialogue
      3.Try the role play again with a new partner.

      I’ve tried 1 & 3. Not totally the same but in a similar matter.
      I haven’t tried 2, but I think my higher level class can handle that.

      With 1, I normally had it done when we had skit practices. But I still see majority of my students getting too nervous and uncomfortable.
      They still need some more practice in presentation.

      With 3, I use it with speaking circles, usually in my YL speaking class. Have them in groups/pairs. Have them practice a lot so they naturally memorize the dialogue. Have them meet up with new partners. repeat the process.

      • #12946

        I’ve often use repeat roleplays with new partners as good practice for performance in front of the rest of class (or half or less in larger classes), sometimes with dialogue writing interwoven to help.

    • #13308

      scott gray

      Perform in front of the class I did a lot more a few years ago as we had a drama class so that was a regular occurrence and it can work well but really depends a lot on the teachers attitude.

      writing part or even the whole in their notebooks can be really effective if you let them take it further by changing the information or adding extra details to it.

      as for doing it with a new partner this can be great especially if you do it in lines or an inner and outer circle where they change, especially if you make it a fluency practice by reducing the time they have to do with a new partner.

      • #13314

        All good stuff, Scott.

        For anyone else interested, inner/outer circle, is also know as inside/outside, double circle, kaitenzushi (revolving sushi). Here’s an article that describes it, with references to research and some variations:

    • #17031

      Rhett Burton

      For my TDV 8 video, I had the student do a build-your-own pizza activity. I had the students roll dice to see how many of each topping they wanted on their pizza. I gave the students roles as the customer, server, and cook after choosing the toppings. They had to use language to complete the task.

      The students enjoyed the role-play and used lots of the language that they practiced. That being said, I believe I could double down on some specific aspects of the role-play to provide them with more focus on forms in different scenarios and skills on using numbers that relate to life in a pizza kitchen.

      • #17046

        It was good to see the kids enjoying the roleplays with rotating roles that followed the build-your-own-pizza activity. What might you do as a follow-up to the RP?

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