Role-play provides the learner opportunities to practice not only language structures for various functions but also different aspects of the enactment and the actual roles he may need to perform in the world outside the school. It offers the possibility of learning appropriate communicative behavior. What to say, to whom, when, how, why and where are the essential elements in any interaction situation. It also involves the confident and appropriate use of movements, gestures and facial expressions along with rhythm, stress and intonation for oral interaction. All these elements promote a natural, spontaneous and realistic expression of language behavior for present and future communication need.
Role-play is most effective where the teacher acts as a facilitator rather than a person who determines each move of the learners. The teacher’s role in important for the selection of materials, that is, sentence patterns and lexical terms needed to perform specific language functions in a particular role-play. She must also provide adequate practice of these materials in activities which precedes the active role-play in class. The learner’s needs and expectations must also be kept in mind while planning a role-play situation. The teacher could make a list of situations in which a learner is likely to use English, for example, buying things, travelling, going to the doctor’s, etc. Functions such as politely
asking for and giving information, agreeing and disagreeing, greetings and thanking can also be listed in terms of the actual structured used.
Before role-play is actually done in class, both teacher and pupils must make adequate preparation for a smooth performance. This preparation is multi-pronged and is made up of various elements and skills. It includes…
i. Selecting a situation : Buying things like a toy, a book, a pen, etc.
ii. Determining roles to be played : Customer, salesperson, etc.
iii. Making a list : Asking for information about items to be purchased, expressing
preference for colour and size, asking for and stating the price of goods bought.
iv. Listing out vocabulary items related to buying and selling like names of shops, kinds of shops, goods, numbers, weights, measurements, colours,
sums of money, containers, etc.
v. Deciding on intonation for various utterances like questions, statements,
vi. Listing features of oral interaction, including gap-fillers, questions, tags, etc, for spontaneous, natural sounding English.
vii. Writing down the dialogues to be practiced.
viii.Listing discrete units of body language, that is, posture, gait, facial expressions, gestures, body movements of head , shoulders, torso and limbs.
ix. Collecting teaching aids such as pictures of a variety of goods, posters, toys, paper money, audio cassettes for music and role-play cards.
x. Demarcating space and arranging furniture in the classroom where the roleplay is to be enacted.