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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Role play cards

Oral language and Reading Strategies: Role play cards

ESOL Principles:

Most strategies can be used to support all seven of the ESOL principles dependent upon how the teacher decides to use the strategy within their teaching and learning planning cycle. This strategy is usually used to support:

Principle 4: Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language. Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?

Principle 6: Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language. Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language in this lesson?


Role play cards

Role play cards invite students to assume the role of a specific person or character and to react to a stimulus or prompt as that person. They provide English language learners opportunities to use language and content in a variety of situations. They can be used in subject areas to link learning to real life contexts.

video icon Secondary level: Making Language and Learning Work DVD 2 - year 13 Economics.

Teaching and learning sequence planning example:

Secondary level:

Some possible Teacher Inquiry questions:

  • How do role plays help to link the learning to the student’s real life?
  • As I observe the role plays what do I notice about the student’s language that can inform my future planning?
  • What language will be required to complete the activity? Does some of this language need to be pre-taught or will some students require a scaffold such as a speaking frame?
  • Do my students demonstrate new understandings through their role play that they have not previously demonstrated?


Useful websites:

Published on: 13 Aug 2012