Reader's Forum: Doing role-play successfully in Japanese language classrooms

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Eric Bray



Roleplay is a traditional EFL technique included in many books on EFL methodology as well as mass-market English textbooks. However, roleplay can be a challenge in Japanese EFL classrooms, and teachers are often wary of the uncomfortable silence that can result when trying this relatively open-ended activity with students accustomed to teacher-fronted classes and tightly controlled language-practice activities focused on form. In fact, roleplay can be a great tool for language learning and considerable fun for students and the teacher alike if set up and monitored carefully with attention to a few key points. When done successfully, roleplays can also transform the atmosphere of the classroom as students manage the risk and unpredictability of freer language use.