Just Speak! Role play activity

Saida RashidovaSaida Rashidova is collecting ideas from teachers in our country and summarises them for your use. 


Every teacher wishes his/her students to continue speaking in English even if they make mistakes. Telling or asking students to talk doesn’t work in most cases. The activity below is from Inna Khan, an ELT teacher. According to her, all of her efforts to make students speak in English were unsuccessful until she started using.

Just Speak! Role play activity.

Make sure that you organize the activity properly, let students know what they are expected to do, let them lead the activity and then just watch. They will do all by themselves. Just try it once and you will see how effective it is. Be ready for your classroom to be very noisy. Enjoy!

Purpose ● To provide opportunities for students to practice their speaking skills
● To improve students fluency
● To break speaking barrier
● To help students develop communication strategies
Materials needed Whiteboard, printed vocabulary lists, desks, chairs, timer, signal or a bell
Pre-requisites  Intermediate level of English
Students are expected to know certain vocabulary to practice during activity.
Classroom set up Desks set for pair work
Additional skills students will gain ● Persuasion
● Communication skills
● Speaking spontaneously
● Reasoning

It is 2060 now. Children are allowed to travel to space without their parents. Are parents ready to let them go?

Task for children is to persuade parents to let them go.
Task for parents is to not let their child go because children are not ready to explore space in such an early age.
Task for both is to use the vocabulary provided.
(You can create your own topic ensuring that it is debatable)

Activity period 40-45 min
Instructions  1. Prepare the classroom, set the tables for pair work.
2. Prepare and print the appropriate vocabulary list for the topic and have enough printouts for two groups of students.
3. Divide the class into two groups. Nominate “children” and “parents”. Distribute the vocabulary. Ensure that there is one child and one parent in a pair and that they understand what to do.
4. Say that when students hear a signal, “children” will have to rotate.
5. Model the first argument with examples. Have them written in advance on the board.
6. Start the first round. Stop it in 5 minutes and make sure “parents” or “children” rotate.
7. Start another round.
8. Do not interfere into conversations. Just WATCH AND LISTEN.
9. Once students have gone through all rounds, start the discussion and let the students share their impressions and provide feedback.
10. Select one exemplary “parent” and “child”. Have them talk in front of the whole class.
11. Thank children for participation and sum up the class.
Additional hints  To make sure that students use assigned vocabulary, it is good to organize a group of listeners who are given a checklist with the words. In this case there can be 3 groups - parents, children and listeners. This way of organizing the activity gives a teacher less pairs and less people to talk but it will let a teacher get feedback from every pair. For the next activity, teacher makes sure that “listeners” get a chance to be either “a parent” or “a child”.
This activity may also be used to practice grammar instead of vocabulary or some speaking aspects such as word stress or pronunciation.
It is a revision activity. It is done when students have learned a certain topic, for example, “Our life in future” including grammar structures and vocabulary connected with the topic. By means of this activity students start speaking without freely. Here are some reasons why, first, they speak to their peers, not to their teacher. A teacher just assists with organizational issues. Second, strong desire of persuasion beats feeling of fear of speaking. Students have such a strong desire to persuade their partners that they just forget about this fear.
It is a very effective speaking exercise. Due to rotation, students have chance to talk. Because every time they have a new partner, it prevents them from monotonous speaking. A new partner means a new challenge which can be won through inventing or creating something new. Thus, this activity trains students to increase the range of vocabulary because they are asked to use particular words during their speaking.
Make sure just to listen and watch while they lead the whole class. Sometimes it can be hard but this is the support we as teachers can provide.


Taken from ALT FL №1 2015

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