Using role play in teaching english dialogues for students at primary schools
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4 th Annual International Conference on TESOL “ ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING: A FOCUS ON THE LEARNER” Ho Chi Minh, August 2013. USING ROLE – PLAY IN TEACHING ENGLISH DIALOGUES FOR STUDENTS AT PRIMARY SCHOOLS ----- ------ ------- ------ ------ ------ ---- By: Pham Thi Vinh Hien

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4th Annual International Conference on TESOL“ ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING: A FOCUS ON THE LEARNER”Ho Chi Minh, August 2013


----- ------ ------- ------ ------ ------ ----

By: Pham Thi Vinh Hien

Nghe An Teacher Training College, Vietnam









Literature review

Method of the study

Research finding




  • Developing Primary students’ oral communication skills

  • Scripted role – plays improve primary students’ language skill in general and speaking skill in particular

  • Teachers’ and students’ attitude toward Role –play

  • The effectiveness of using role – play

  • The suggested procedure of teaching dialogues for primary students with using role - play

Literature Review

  • “ Role play is a way of bringing situations from real life into the classroom. In role play, students need to imagine a role, a context, or both and improvise a conversation. The context is usually determined, but students develop the dialogue as they proceed” Doff (1990: 232).

  • Donn Byrne (2001, p.57), role-play can be grouped into two forms: scripted and unscripted role- play

  • Scullard (1986:83) presents, “Scripted role – play is undoubtedly an excellent way of beginning the preparation for communicative activities since language is presented in meaningful context”.

Method of the study

Research findings

  • The real situation : Using role-plays in English lessons

  • 80% of the EFL teachers at Foreign Language Centers

  • 30% of the EFL teachers at Primary schools

  • 100% of the teacher indicated that they used role – plays in post – reading dialogues.

  • 87% teachers expressed that Role Play should be used in teaching English dialogues for Primary students because its effectiveness

  • 13% of them thought that it’s quite difficult because of the problems such as crowed classes making noise, students’ low ability, students’ shyness, not easy to control.

Research findings

Teachers’ and Students’ evaluation on Students’ participation in role play activities

Research findings (cont’)

Teachers’ and Students’ opinions about Students’ problems in role – plays

Research findings (cont’)

Teachers’ and Students’ suggestion by using role – play in teaching English dialogues for Primary students

Research findings (cont’)

  • Students’ evaluation on effectiveness of Role Play in post – reading English dialogues


The effectiveness of using role plays in teaching English dialogues for primary students

  • To create an opportunity to practice the rules of social behavior and the various sociolinguistic elements of communication.

    enable Students gradually become familiar with the content of normal conversation in their lives

    bridge the gap between the classroom and the world outside the classroom.

Recommendations (cont’)

  • To act out a dialogue allows students to activate new vocabulary and structures.

    be easy for students to discover their own level and the teacher to feedback.

  • To ask students to go on the stage and perform, so students have to concentrate and speak out in class actively.

    help students improve their speaking skills.

  • To make students feel safe and more willing to speak out in the class together with the teachers’ support

    Increase students’ confidence and motivation positively to excel in English.

Recommendations (cont’)

  • To require students to repeat the dialogue (in phrases) after the teacher/tape/CD.

    An excellent way to practice pronunciation and improve listening skill.

  • To make students feel fun, cheerful and comfortable in role – plays

    They enjoy learning English more and participate in English lesson more actively.

  • EFL students feel that they are really using the language for a communicative purpose.

    contribute to students’ confidence in their ability to use English.

Recommendations (cont’)

  • To force students to remember the content of dialogues to role play without texts .

    It is a good way to practice and promote their memory.

  • To ask students to role another person in real situations in pairs or groups .

    Increase students’ interest , involvement, motivation and student – student interaction in the classroom

Recommendations (cont’)

The suggested procedure of teaching dialogues for students at Primary schools with using role play

  • Step 1: Establish the setting

    Ask students questions to identify the context

  • Step 2: Pre – teach selected items ( optional)

    Deal with any difficulties in overall understanding and enjoyment of the dialogue

  • Step 3: Set a listening task and ask the students to listen

    Hand out a listening task before listening or Ask questions to check comprehension after listening

Recommendations (cont’)

  • Step 4: Ask students to listen

    Let students listen to the dialogue again and follow the words of the story.

  • Step 5: Explain any difficulties

    Explain if students find new words or phrases in the dialogue.

  • Step 6: Ask the students to listen and repeat

    Play the recording and pause each line for the students to repeat the dialogue in chorus.

  • Step 7: Let students practice saying the dialogue in pairs or groups

    Students read the dialogue in pairs or groups, then repeat a different role in the story from their memory.

Recommendations (cont’)

  • Step 8: Ask students to practice role playing in pairs or groups

    Ask students to repeat their character’s lines without the text. Students remember the dialogue and act their role in groups with actions as they speak.

  • Step 9: Ask students to role play

    Ask two or three groups to come to in front of the class to role play the dialogue from their memory.

  • Step 10: Evaluate students’ acting

    Teacher evaluates on how role plays carry out.


  • Role play activities are really effective and should be applied widely and regularly in teaching English dialogues for primary students

  • Solving ELT teachers’ great challenges in improving oral communication skills for Primary students

  • Role play activities should be supplement in Post - reading dialogues in English text books for students at Primary schools by Vietnam Education Publishing House.


  • [1] Blatner, Adam. (2009) Role Playing in Education, from Adam

  • [2] Byrne, D. (1976) Teaching Oral English : Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers.

  • [3] Byrne, D. (2001). Role play in Language Learning, Longman.

  • [4] Clark, R, (1992). Index Card Games for ESL. Brattleboro, VT: The Experiment Press.

  • [5] Doff, A. (1990) Teach English: A Training Course for Teachers Trainers’ Handbooks, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press in Association with the British Council.

  • [6] Freeman, Diana Larsen (1986). Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • [7] Kenneth O. Gangel. (2008).Teaching Through Role Playing from Journal.

  • [8] Ladousse, G.P. (1996). Role – play: A Resource Book for Language Teachers. Maley, Alan: Oxford University Press.

  • [9] Poorman, P.B. (2002). Biography and Role – playing: Fostering Empathy in Abnormal Psychology, Teaching of Psychology, 29(1), 32-36.

  • [10] Richard – Amato, P. (1996). Making It Happen: Interaction in the Second Language Classroom, from Practice to Theory: White Plains, NY: Addison – Wesley.

  • [11] Scullard, S (1986).Teaching Speaking Skill from Role – play to Communicative Competence via Information – gap and Information – gap activities: One Teacher’s Approach – The British Journal of Language Teaching, No 2.



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