5 Real-life Role-plays For the EFL Classroom

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Drama and role-plays are just one of many teaching tools you have at your disposal in your teaching arsenal. Young Learners, teens, adults and even professionals can participate in role-plays as a way of consolidating and practicing language functions. Role-plays help learners become comfortable using new language, familiar using the language effectively in appropriate situations and confident in their communicative abilities. Plus, for the most part students enjoy role-plays as an alternative to coursework and the usual classroom activities.

The Key to Effective Role-plays

However, role-plays need to be utilised effectively. The key to effective role-plays is authenticity. Acting out a situation which is never going to take place in a learner’s real-world experience is a waste of time for everyone involved. Learners will not be interested in scenarios which bear no resemblance to their real lives and they will not be able to see the relevance to their learning. Make sure you understand your learners’ needs in order to develop role-plays which mirror possible English situations your students might find themselves in.

At the Restaurant

For learners who are living in an English-speaking country or who are planning on visiting one, this is important language to know as it will probably be used on a regular basis. Ordering food at a restaurant involves stock phrases which can be altered according to the situation. Use this role-play to teach set phrases, such as What would you like to eat/drink? I’d like… and Can we get the bill, please? and show your students how these can be manipulated according to the restaurant. This is also a great opportunity to teach or practise food- and cooking-related vocabulary.

At the Doctor’s

Needing medical help in a foreign country is a stressful experience, so it’s a good idea for your students to be prepared. Role-plays related to this topic can include describing common ailments – I have flu, I have a stomach bug, I’m feeling nauseous – to the more serious problems – broken leg, heart attack, call an ambulance. You can find out if there are any particular ailments your students suffer from and make sure they know how to communicate this – I’m allergic to…, I have high blood pressure, I have asthma. Of course, knowing how to communicate symptoms and medical problems is one thing, but you also need to teach common phrases that will be heard at the doctor’s and to understand how to take medication.

Job Interview

Role-playing a job interview won’t be appropriate for all students, but it will be for students about to graduate or for those who are trying to get a job in an English-speaking environment. Job interviews are stressful in your own language so tackling one in English will put your students under enormous pressure. Practising common interview questions – Where did you study? What experience has prepared you for this role? Why do you want this job? – and appropriate responses will help your students feel more comfortable and confident when going for an interview, which will give them more chance of getting that job!

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