Role-playing as a way of developing a dialogical form of communication in foreign language lessons in basic secondary education

UDC 372.881.111.1
Publication date: 02.02.2023
International Journal of Professional Science №2-2023

Role-playing as a way of developing a dialogical form of communication in foreign language lessons in basic secondary education

Zhumabekova G.B.,
Zhadyrayeva A.B.
1. Candidate of Pedagogy, Professor
Almaty, Kazakhstan
2. 4th Year Bachelor student
«6B018 – Teacher of two foreign languages»
Ablaikhan KazUIRandWL
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Abstract: This article discusses role-playing as a way to develop a dialogical form of communication in foreign language lessons. Role-playing techniques are a holistic teaching method that instills the process of critical thinking, awakens emotions and moral values, taking into account the fact that the types of role-playing games can vary depending on the level of language skills of students, and that the selection of the right type of role-playing game, which corresponds to the level of knowledge of the students can intensify the learning process. The article shows that role-playing games are extremely useful and can help students to develop their critical thinking, simultaneously teaching them a foreign language for professional purposes.
Keywords: communicative competence; role-playing game; interactive teaching methods; critical thinking; game method.


Nowadays, work on the modernization and improvement of education is going on every day. The higher forces of education are trying to solve numerous problems, including that educational institutions teach not only standard subjects, but similarly prepare students for real life, and develop them diversified.

Frequently, in the process of teaching English, the main goal, namely fluency in the language, is not achieved. Fluency in a language includes pronunciation, correct use of grammar, appropriateness, and the correct expression of emotions. But as practice shows, by the end of learning process, students can know grammar rules and vocabulary well, but speaking is not developed, students cannot put their developed skills into everyday life. «Some of them are not able to produce even some simple sentences. They are not able to describe experiences and events and give explanations for opinions and plans whilst travelling in the area where the language is spoken.» [1, p.71]

Since today’s requirements, the goal set in front of the teacher of a foreign language is to make students speak a foreign language. One of the main tasks of teachers is to study various methods of teaching a foreign language and use the most effective ones in their lessons. Among these methods, the usage of the communicative method is considered essential, since the purpose of this method is to interact and to communicate.

Currently, communicative approach to learning a foreign language is becoming increasingly widespread. If we describe the communicative approach in general terms, we can say that it involves the organization of the speech learning process as a model of the communication process. In other words, the learning process is close to the process of communication and aimed at the practical use of the language and the main requirement can be met through the games, especially directed to speaking skills of the learners. Among all the games — role-playing considered to be one of the most effective, as far as it is a step to psychological preparation of students for speaking a foreign language. In addition, the conducted language material can be repeated several times, which trains them to choose the right word units in specific time in particular circumstances.

R.P. Milrud defines role-playing as «a methodical technique belonging to a group of active ways of teaching practical command of a foreign language». [2, p. 8-13] The role-playing game is based on the interaction of students in accordance with the roles distributed between them and the game plot. So, role-playing is a speech game and educational activity at the same time.

The purpose of the role-playing game is in the activity, where the motive lies in the content of the activity, and not outside of it. The educational nature of the game is not realized by schoolchildren. From the position of the teacher, role-playing can be considered as a form of organization of the educational process of teaching dialogical communication. This technology helps to immerse in a realistic atmosphere for language practice, where there is a certain scenario and each participant is assigned a certain role with its inherent emotions, image, character, which allows to learn not only the language, but similarly the culture of speech. Thus, students prepare for free communication and begin to understand the features of foreign speech. Nevertheless, as practice shows, the possibilities of this method are greatly neglected, especially in the field of foreign language education.

The purpose of this article is to find the ways of intensifying the process of developing dialogical form of communication of students in the basic secondary education based on role-playing.


To achieve this goal, the authors used such a research method as a literature review.

For this, the authors analyzed the works of such authors as Semenova T.V., Semenova M.V., Pravamate Samantaray, Timoshenko N.S. These articles demonstrate how role-playing games can help students consolidate their acquired knowledge and teach them a foreign language.  Role-playing is a teaching method focused on students, which develops their communicative competence. The authors are of the opinion that role-playing games contribute to the application of theoretical knowledge in practice, thus eliminating the gap between theory and practice. The authors note that working on role-playing games requires good organizational preparation to achieve their goals.


After analyzing the sources on the research topic, the authors found out that the effectiveness of this approach in teaching dialogical form of communication can be defined by the level of the teachers’ ability to professionally control the game and to distribute the roles.

Roles in role-playing games are one of the main components and their distribution imposes a great responsibility on the teacher.

The organization of roles requires treating the student as a person, with her inherent characteristics, who may prefer certain roles. That is why the distribution of roles is a responsible pedagogical task. Knowing the motives, interests, and individual relationships of students will allow the teacher to offer them those roles that best correspond to the characteristics of their personality. However, it is important to take into account not only the interests of students, but as well as their psychological characteristics. At the initial stage of role communication, it is advisable to give students the roles that best match their temperament. Overcoming shyness, timidity can only begin when the student has already become accustomed to role-playing communication.

In addition to the motives and interests of students, the socio-psychological characteristics must be considered as well, which means the status of a student in a group. The teacher must consciously manage this status, nominating one or another student to leading positions during the game. It is advisable from time to time to give students who occupy the position of introverted person in life practice the roles of the main characters, and the leaders of the team to assign the roles of characters in a dependent position. Especially carefully must be selected roles for students who do not enjoy authority in the classroom. Such students should receive the roles of positive personalities who have influence and popularity during the game.

Apart from distribution of roles, the ability of selecting the right type of role-playing games has an enormous role in the productivity of the game. There are several types of role-playing games: controlled, moderately controlled and free.

According to the level of learners, teacher must analyze the general characteristics of the class and determine the most appropriate type of role-playing games. For instance, controlled role-playing game is the simplest type, which is made on the basis of dialogue or text. In the first case, students get acquainted with the basic dialogue and practice it. Then, together with the teacher, they discuss the content of the dialogue, work out the norms of the speech vocabulary and the necessary vocabulary. After that, students are invited to compose their own version of the dialogue, based on the basic one and using the supports written on the blackboard. The new dialog may be similar to the basic one, but it needs to use a different content, a different form of questions and answers, this dialog may be shorter or longer than the basic one. In addition, as necessary, the teacher can give instructions on the course of the role-playing game. In this case, it is mostly used in the beginning of the course, where students only get acknowledge with role-playing and it may assist them in further activities.

In contrast, free role–playing is a game when students receive only the circumstances of communication. This game serves to form individual and group skills of independent work on the subject. Participants themselves must decide what vocabulary to use, how the action will develop. The teacher only names the topic of the role-playing game, and then asks students to compose various situations affecting various aspects of this topic. This type of role-playing requires high level of speaking skills, increased involvement of learners and it results in the developed creative thinking and notable results.

A properly organized situation of role-based communication, in which certain problems or communicative tasks need to be solved, is the strongest method for the development of spontaneous speech. Therefore, a plot is very important, in accordance with the chosen communicative situation and the role relationships between the communication participants.




In the role-playing game, the teacher manages the educational and cognitive activities of students. Role-playing game functions as a real process that involves all students of the class, without exception, in active learning activities.

But, like any activity in the educational process, role-playing games have their shortcomings. One of them is resource consumption. It demands a lot of time to organize and conduct a full-fledged role-playing game. For example, one small game will require at least 40 minutes of training time, which, compared with the number of foreign language lessons in basic school, it is equal to an entire lesson. Cosequently, it may significantly slow down the process of learning.

Another drawback of the game is that role-playing games can lead to a high level of detachment of students in a foreign language lesson, since in the teenage period it may seem for them as kids’ activity or simply they will be shy to participate.

According to Semenova T.V. and Semenova M.V. the learning process cannot completely coincide with the process of communication in real life, therefore teachers take an attempt the maximum convergence of the learning process and real communication. [3, p 16-18] Although, after the games, the acquired skills can be useful in their professional activities. Working out various extreme situations will help not to get lost in the circumstances that might be similar to situations in real life.

Furthermore, depending on the professionalism of the teacher, this method can motivate students and increase their interest in learning a foreign language. It is important for the teacher in cases of loss of control over the content and the learning process to be able to quickly adapt. It is crucial to know that the role-playing game will not go according to plan almost always, and the teacher should be ready for all kind of situations.

However, as soon as teacher passes the first stage of implementing role-playing games in foreign language lessons, lessons will become predominantly productive and effective, because role-playing gives everyone the opportunity to participate and use new words in their speech, provides participants with the opportunity to get a diverse range and content of experience «here and now», develops critical thinking, teaches improvisation and quick adaptation to the situation, which leads by itself to the fact that students will unconsciously begin to think in a target language, allowing students to make mistakes and learn from each other.

The identified shortcomings of the role-playing method do not detract from its capabilities, because all these disadvantages can be eliminated by approaching the matter carefully. Namely, there are several recommendations for teachers when using this method. Firstly, before starting a role-playing game teacher should discuss with the participants typical situations from life, similar to those that will be reproduced, and the behavior of the actors in them. For example, making a discussion in target language with participants what difficulties they may encounter in their practice, which will allow everyone to better orient themselves in the subject and be more ready to play a role naturally and productively.

Secondly, Timoshenko stated that the distribution of roles and determining situations of a role-playing game is an equally significant aspect of successful role-playing game. [4, p. 11-15] Roles are designed based on the objectives of the role-playing game. The situation should be formed in a way with an opportunity to work out the necessary skills in it, in our case dialogical speaking competence, so the participant can act correctly or choose an effective behavior strategy.

In the context of the introduction of information technologies into the educational process, the use of game methods based on information and communication technologies opens up great opportunities for the development of a culture of communication of students through immersion in conditional situations in which their professional personality is formed. [5, p. 201-204]

Moreover, it will assist participants to influence the content, process, and pace of the game.


Role–playing is a good opportunity for the emancipation of participants, for the manifestation of skills to analyze, communicate, make decisions. This contributes to the activity of students in the classroom, the expansion of their horizons, the creation of a language environment, the implementation of knowledge testing. This gives students confidence in themselves and their knowledge, a more serious attitude to the subject; enrichment of their knowledge.

One of the ways to manifest dialogic speech is a role-playing game, which can be considered an effective way to create communicative competence in foreign language lessons. With the help of a role-playing game, learners can accurately and easily reproduce the model of foreign language communication. In such an organizational form of learning as a role-playing game, individual paired and group forms are optimally combined in the lesson. Role-playing must be one of the structural components of a foreign language lesson. In the game, the child freely communicates with peers and with the teacher, while simultaneously forming his dialogic speech. In order for a role-playing game to go «without a hitch», it must be well planned and carefully prepared by teacher.

Therefore, role–playing is one of the most flexible and participant-oriented methods of interactive learning.


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