Asian Social Science
Role-play in English Language Teaching
Feng Liu & Yun Ding School of Foreign Languages, Qingdao University of Science and Technology Qingdao 266061, China Tel: 86-532-8895-8959 Abstract Role-play is an effective technique to animate the teaching and learning atmosphere, arouse the interests of learners, and make the language acquisition impressive. So this research will mainly focus on how to apply it successfully and take the most advantage of it in English class. The outcome shows there are four crucial factors for its success: the topic chosen should be real and relevant; the teacher need 'feed-in' the appropriate language; correct errors in a proper way; some of teachers role are facilitator, spectator or participant. Incorporating role-play into the classroom adds variety, a change of pace and opportunities for a lot of language production and also a lot of fun! Keywords: Role-play, Procedure, Feed-in The main elements of Communicative Approach usually appear as three steps in classroom teaching: 1) presentation 2) practices 3) production. Applied to the third period, one of the effective practice is role-play, which emphasizes much on the comprehensively performance of the target language. While many researchers proved this means to be useful, many second language teachers still address to researchers: how to take most advantage of role-play and how to make a balance between it and the normal presentation of class room teaching? The research followed is an attempt to answer such questions by analyzing several related researches and some empirical evidence. 1. Related research From the discussion of communicative teaching methodology, we can find that the function of language is not elicited from the forms of language, but its obligatory contexts .the contexts may be various; however, the forms of contexts still have some regular patterns to follow. D.Wilkins (1976) thus raised the notional syllabuses, which arranged teaching program mostly on the basis of contexts instead of being limited by the forms of sentences .to apply to the teaching contents to the desire of language application, communication becomes a widely used technique. According to it, Wilkins put forward the issue of role-play, which is actually an imitation the reality .the students are required to speak properly in line with the contexts and their "roles". The whole procedure is as follows: When organizing the practice of role-play, the teacher must provide a context and several roles for students to prepare and then perform in the class. The performance can be developed by several groups. When one is performing, the other students are audience and discuss its advantages and disadvantages afterward .the discussion itself is also a kind of practice. Empirical evidence derived from Wilkins' research and theories proved that role-play is an effective technique to animate the teaching and learning atmosphere, arouse the interests of learners, and make the language acquisition impressive. Wilkins had proposed the general figures and theories for role-play, while some further researches were applied for this subject by the other researchers; more problems were thus raised to be solved afterwards. Fraser, Rintell, and Walters (1980) proffer role-play as a useful means to study learners' pragmatic competence. Therefore, many contextual features are important in determining how a speaker will behave .in a role-play; the speech act can be kept constant while the contextual features are varied. Many dimensions of a learner's pragmatic competence may be explored in this way .in Fraser, Rintell and Walter's procedure; they also used role-plays with puppets when the subjects have been children. From the two theoretical and empirical studies, we can get general concepts of role-play. Some further and more concise issues may be raised by the research as follows: 140
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