A role-play (/rɒʊl pleɪ/) is an activity where students play-act roles.
Typically, the teacher will set up a situation and give students different roles to play in the encounter. Generally these are structured around language functions, though under some circumstances the role-play will be designed to exploit grammar forms or vocabulary which have recently been taught.
The teacher will usually monitor the activity and later give feedback and advice.
Role-plays differ from simulations in that the latter allow students to respond as they themselves would do in real-life situations, rather than "play" out imaginary situations.
Rationale for role-play
Role-play can be useful for a number of reasons:
- It provides a semi-structured environment for practising language.
- It gives students a reason to use the target language (L2).
- The fact that students are not "themselves" gives them an opportunity to overcome the affective filter.
Typical role-plays include any situation where the student is likely to have to use English. Those related to travelling are often universal, for example:
- car rental role-play
- doctor-patient role-play
- Hotel role-play
- railway station role-play
- shop role-play