In recent years Odisha has become a hub of technical educational institutions. The focus in these institutions is the development of technical skills. However, it has also been observed that mere technical expertise does not ensure employability. Good communication skills are required to succeed in the profession. Hence, an attempt is being made to impart communication skills to technical students. The participation of students in English language classroom, however, is not very encouraging. There are various reasons for this, like low confidence level, stage fear, improper exposure to the target language, low enthusiasm level, and less practice of language skills etc. Moreover, most of the English language classrooms in this state are teacher-centered and the participation of the students in the classroom is very low. Reading text books and listening to lectures do not make learning meaningful. To overcome these difficulties, teachers can introduce various activity-based language learning like, Role plays, group discussions, simulations, language games and dramas etc. in the language classrooms. This study will examine the effectiveness of using one of the language learning activities like Role play as a tool to promote language development. There are many types of instructional techniques. The focus of this study is to understand to what extent role-plays help in promoting language development.
Role Play as a language learning activity
Role play is a very useful technique in learning communication skills, because it gives the learner an opportunity to practice communicating in different social contexts and in different social roles. Role play provides students an amicable atmosphere to learn the speaking skills in which the participants play different imaginary roles without any tense and shyness. It also provides the opportunities for all the learners equally to speak and practice the target language. Many researchers have come up with many different definitions of the role play across the world.
According to Stephen D Hattings based on his observation in the conversation class, role play would seem to be ideal activity in which students could use their creativity and it aims to stimulate a conversation situation in which students might find themselves and give them an opportunity to practice and develop their communication skill.
Stern (1983) suggested "role playing helps the individual to become more flexible" and "develop a sense of mastery in many situations". She suggested "through role play, L2 learners can experience many kinds of situations in which they will use the language; and as they develop a sense of mastery in them, they should be able to apply the language more easily to new situations." Role play is really a worthwhile learning experience for both the students and the teacher.
Larsen-Freeman (2000), points out that role plays are very important in Communicative Approach because they give students an...