User:Eli Gil/literature

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Teaching Grammar through Role Play

Most of the times, English courses are based on grammatical explanations where teachers provide declarative knowledge that affects students´ development of language instead of procedural knowledge of grammatical points. According to Hymes (1972), the methods for teaching grammar have changed according to students´ needs who study English as foreign language (EFL). Nowadays, to teach grammar through communicative perspectives represents an excellent option for people that want to be able to produce natural language in real contexts. Grammar, as part of any English course, represents a set of rules that determine the correct use of written and spoken language. English classes are based on grammar explanations and written practice. On the other hand, EFL students who attempt to use language tend to face big challenges. To produce natural language and use it in real context is one of the main objectives for them. For these reasons, the ways for teaching grammar has changed. According to Richards (1985), grammar has a different grade of importance for each person. The importance of grammar for each person depends on age, proficiency level and educational background. For adults, young adults or children, grammar has an important impact depending on the way a teacher explains grammatical points. According to Comeau (1992), an English teacher can promote communicative activities in the classroom by interactive grammar exercises. These exercises need to have five qualities: Be communicative, meaningful, provide limited choices, be expressive and integrate other English skills.

The role of Grammar explanations in an EFL classroom

The deductive grammar method represents a set of grammatical rules that students practice through written exercises. At present, some English teachers still base their classes on the deductive grammar method. According to Eisentein (1987), the most noticeable aspect of the deductive grammar method is the lack of students´ involvement and low comprehension of the topics. The teacher is the center of the class and creativity and imagination are not necessary from her or him. The lack of creativity affects students´ learning because grammar classes tend to be repetitive. Teachers seldom look for attractive input and practice. Deductive grammar explanations should be precise and clearly stated. If a teacher provides clear instruction then students feel secure and they are able just to write or answer written exercises. In some cases, teachers and students do not experiment serious problems during the presentation and practice of the grammatical points, but students face problems in real life situations because they do not receive authentic practice of grammatical aspects. For most of the EFL students, to reach out grammatical competence in a communicative way represents the main goal of an English course. When students face these situations, they feel discouraged because they do not perceive themselves as people able to interact and exchange information in real situations.

Nowadays, the inductive grammar method offers contact and use with real language in contexts outside the classroom. Furthermore, the inductive grammar method defeats the deductive grammar method because the former promotes students´ mental effort when they have to analyze pieces of written language. “Inductive grammar method helps students rediscover their subconscious knowledge of English grammar and brings it to the consciousness knowledge” Chomsky, N. A. (1986) cited in Ke, Z. An Inductive Approach to English Grammar Teaching (2008). When students are conscious of their grammatical knowledge, they are able to classify, organize and produce language accurately. Inductive classes are based on the presentation of the topic by visuals and meaningful materials for students. Moreover, teachers can give examples related to students’ reality. The class has to be simple but well organized. Also, students have to identify, recognize and infer the grammatical points and practice them through dynamics, activities and tasks. Rivers (1983) claims that students that are exposed to the inductive grammar method have a close relationship with the item learning and the system learning. The item learning refers to knowledge of expressions with certain structural order. On the other hand, when students learn the function of these expressions they are inside of the system learning, that means they are able to use language beyond written exercises.

To integrate grammar in communicative language teaching has as an objective the creation of classroom environments that facilitate EFL language acquisition. At present, communicative language teaching represents an approach which provides real opportunities of grammar in use. According to Pekoz (1996), communicative language teaching establishes that grammar has changed from grammatical deductive explanations and a lower production in terms of communicative purposes. Communicative language teaching has as purpose to create students that can satisfy their necessities about the use of real language and contexts. In addition, Pekoz (1996) claims that grammar lessons in communicative language teaching are divided into pre, while and post stages. In each one of these stages, teachers have to provide examples and exercises where students can use and discover the grammatical rules by authentic use in communicative situations. The presentation of topics is supported by pictures or realia in order to enhance their comprehension. During the while-grammar stage, the teacher provides examples related to the topic and students´ reality as personal likes, dislikes or emotions. Finally, in the post grammar stage, the teacher asks students to compare and link the new grammatical point with grammatical points that they knew in previous sessions. Grammar in communicative language teaching is a new organization of grammar classes.

Effective input through creative teaching promotes EFL students´ develop of language.

Throughout the years, the theory of input hypothesis has changed, and human beings are able to understand a target language without conscious knowledge of grammar. According to Krashen (1985), human beings acquire language through a meaningful input based on real contact with language by natural communication, avoiding the use of grammatical structures or exercises based on drills. At present, to talk about one method for teaching grammar is unfashionable because each student learns in different ways. As a result, English teachers provide input by creative teaching supported by different aids such as pictures or small discussions about attractive topics for students. Moreover, Krashen (1985) claims that there is only one way in which grammar can be considered language acquisition and become competent and this is when students decide to learn grammar as a formal subject. Students who are immersed in the study of grammar as means of acquiring language require that the teacher provides skillful grammatical explanations, that is, comprehensible input. Students that decide to learn formal grammar believe that grammar is giving them progress in the acquisition of language, but their progress comes from the medium, not the message. For that reason, EFL learners need contact with real language that does not include grammar explanations in order to be able to produce real language.

Acquisition is the process where students do not realize that they are having contact with language rules during the practice. In accordance with Harmer (1989), teachers and students do not know where the learning or acquisition process takes place. This process is supported by unconscious and informal communication. Teachers and students are responsible of creating perfect environments and meaningful scenarios where students can acquire and use language. In addition, acquisition of language is the first process that human beings experiment regarding language. Similarly, second language acquisition has the same purpose which is to provide human beings with tools for interaction. By contrast, language learning process is the process where students learn through formal instruction. The language learning process works as monitor where students realize about their own grammar errors when they produce language. Grammar is supported by vocabulary and other English skills in formal environments designed and directed by the teacher. According to Rivers (1983), the monitor process increases students’ anxiety and modifies their production of language in a negative way. As a result, their affective filter affects their production of language. Either way, acquisition or learning processes have to provide authentic opportunities regarding the use of language beyond formal instruction in the classroom.

Students that are exposed to language learning processes commonly increase their levels of nervousness and anxiety as a result of unnatural settings in the classroom. Dulay and Burt (1977) claim that the affective filter hypothesis measures students’ performance during formal or informal instruction of language. Furthermore, teacher’s creativity helps students to decrease their affective filter as well as increase students’ confidence, motivation and attitude towards language. Whenever students face high levels of anxiety or a negative attitude towards language (as a consequence of poor or deficient instruction from the teacher), their high filter blocks their mental process and production of language. High levels of anxiety during the production of language can be originated by the teacher, “Anxiety can result from an overzealous attempt by the teacher to develop natural communication where it is not welcome” (Gardner 1982). Furthermore, there are specific activities that lower students’ affective filter. These activities have to be natural, related to students’ life and interest. Sometimes, for some EFL learners, to prepare their dialogue or design the situations where they have to talk about actual topics is easier than topics set by the teacher. Second language learning has to cover students’ needs of language through an effective and creative input from the teacher.

Role play helps students to be more creative and learn how to use English in a natural way

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is an approach rather than a method, because it involves a set of teaching principles supported by classroom activities. According to Hymes (1972), CLT emerged with the necessity of a humanistic approach that takes into consideration students’ communicative necessities in real contexts and scenarios. Nowadays, CLT is supported by different classroom procedures such as text-based materials. This kind of materials develops debates and discussions in classroom and task-based materials such as realia, role play and simulations. On the other hand, Comeau (1992) claims that the main objective of communicative language teaching is to develop students’ communicative competence. Communicative competence includes grammar competence, pragmatic competence and socio-cultural competence. Socio-cultural competence refers to interpersonal interaction; participants in communication have different communicative roles or functions inside a dialogue or a conversation. When students are able to write or create their dialogues, they are having contact with structured language. Communicative language teaching is supported by interactive oral grammar exercises. According to Comeau (1992), interactive oral grammar exercises promote the teaching of grammar into social activities. They provide teachers and students with freedom for practicing grammatical points through debates, discussion or role plays.

In order to develop communicative activities, teachers and students have to follow certain procedures that help to achieve students’ communicative competence. Rivers (1983) affirms that an EFL teacher has to set the conditions for language learning and development. At the same time, one of the teacher’s greatest responsibilities is to promote and achieve a good attitude towards language in students. An EFL teacher has to be a facilitator, a source of language and a model in the EFL classroom. An EFL teacher has to be respectful and create through activities a healthy classroom environment where students feel comfortable and they can express feelings, opinions and ideas by the use of authentic language practice in the classroom. On the other hand, students also have a specific role inside the EFL classroom. In accordance to Hymes (1972), students are the protagonists of the EFL classroom. Students will always have to show a good attitude and accept to be guided by the teacher in order to achieve communicative competence. Errors represent one of the biggest obstacles that students face in language production. Students have to understand that if the teacher makes any correction during their performance, they have to be mature and avoid feeling offended or repressed.

Role play as a technique has its origin in the theory of communicative language teaching. It was developed by Scarcella and Crookall (1990). According to Tomkins (1998), this theory claims that language is acquired by practice when learners are exposed to clear and comprehensible input. The main objective of role play is to promote motivation about the contents that they are learning and, when they have the opportunity, to produce language accurately by the correct use of grammar. Another purpose of role play is to teach grammatical contents by authentic communication among participants. As a result, this interaction develops the real use of language in real life situations. Role play activities should be supported by a specific environment in order to promote students’ creativity when they are producing language. According to Bartle (1995), role play provides EFL students with the opportunity of learning through real situations. At the same time, role play becomes attractive and engaging. Each student in an EFL classroom can develop language through role play activities because it brings outside situations inside a comfortable classroom environment.


Commonly, when EFL learners study English through courses based on grammar explanations, they feel frustrated when they notice that after long time they are not able to produce language by themselves. Grammar plays an essential role to acquire knowledge of the target language. Even when grammar is essential, there are different methods for teaching it. These methods are well known: Deductive, inductive and integrated grammar in communicative language teaching. Most of the times, EFL teachers block the development of language because of deductive grammar explanations. The teacher becomes the center of the class and the practice of grammar is through written pieces of language so students are not exposed to a natural use of language. On the other hand, inductive grammar helps students to discover their grammatical knowledge of grammar and promotes the practice of real language in the classroom. Nowadays, integrated grammar in communicative language teaching is supported by activities and techniques based on communicative practice. Communicative practice inside the classroom provides students with competence when they use language in real situations. The input provided by the teacher should be clear and creative, that is, to be supported by activities that get students’ attention and take into account their opinions, feelings and thoughts.

To acquire a second language requires activities based on students’ reality. Furthermore, attractive activities decrease anxiety and nervousness when students are practicing through communicative activities. In order to enhance students’ development of language, it is necessary that EFL teachers carry out techniques that promote the practice of natural language inside the classroom. Techniques, such as role play, enhance students’ use of language. At present, role play is considered a good option that EFL teachers and students can use in the classroom. When an EFL teacher implements this kind of activities, he or she is creating outside situations inside the classroom.The EFL classroom needs to be a space where students have favorable time and meaningful learning about language. Moreover, the practice of role play enables them to learn grammatical structures in a dynamic way and gain confidence when they express ideas in the target language.

Regarding further research to this topic, I consider that it is necessary to investigate more about role play and age. I could notice that authors express their ideas in general, but I consider that more information is necessary about the effects of communicative activities on children, teenagers, young adults and adults. I consider that there are theories that explain that age is a conditional for acquiring a second language accurately. Also, it would be interesting to know which setting is more appropriate for the implementation of role play in order to acquire a second language.


You are missing your references section.

Annotated bibliography

Bartle, P. (1995). Role Playing or Simulation What Is It and Why Is It Useful? Retrived from:

In this article Bartle argues that role playing means learn through acting. Also Bartle discusses that role play is a teacher technique that has to be complement with specific situations in the EFL classroom. The author is focus on role play as useful aim for developing students´ humanistic perspective of language. The author explains that role play technique has three stages: Setting up, play stage and follow up. This article is important to my work, in order to know more about this teacher techniques and how are apply it in the EFL classroom. This article will be useful, because it contains important information for my literature review.

Comeau, R. F. (1992). Interactive oral grammar exercises. In Rivers, W. M. (Ed), Interactive language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

In this book the author claims his concept about an interactive oral grammar exercises. Furthermore, the author mentions that a good interactive oral grammar exercise has five qualities: Be communicative, meaningful, provide limited choice, be expressive and integrate other English skills. Comeau is focus on series of oral activities in the classroom. This chapter will performed an important part in my literature review, because through the reading I could find more than one way for promoting communicative competence in the EFL classroom. This chapter did not provide me a lot of information, but it will be useful in some parts of my literature review.

Dulay, H. and Burt, M. (1977). The Affective filter hypothesis. In Krashen, S. D. (Ed). Principles and Practice in Second language acquisition. USA: Pergamon Press Inc.

In this book, Dulay and Burt explain the origin of the affective filter hypothesis. The authors affirm that there are three categories closely related to the affective filter hypothesis. The first one is motivation, self confidence and anxiety. The authors use data in order to prove that EFL learners´ language acquisition is affected by their filter hypothesis. For Dulay and Burt teachers have to set the conditions where EFL learners feel comfortable in order to produce language. This book not forms the basis of my literature review but it contributed in a meaningful way in the development of important ideas of my work.

Eisenstein, M.R. (1987). Grammatical explanations in ESL: Teach the student, not the method. New York: Newbury House Publishers.

In this book, Eisenstein explains the role of deductive grammar explanations in the EFL classroom. In addition, Eisenstein discusses the effect of deductive grammar explanations on EFL learners. The main aim of this book is to describe teachers´ lack of creativity and how EFL learners use language through deductive grammar explanations. This book represents an essential part of my literature review, because the author provides excellent examples about deductive grammar explanations and describes the main EFL learners’ desires towards language. Additionally, the author explains communicative problems that EFL learners face through the practice of deductive grammar explanations and practice.

ESL Role-play (n.d.). Retrieved from:

In this website are exposed some requirements in order to practice a second language by role play activities. For instance, role play requires from students more imagination than in simulations activities. In activities based on role play students have to imagine that they are the angry neighbor or a doctor with out any authentic material and in unpredictable situations. This website is focus on describe role play technique as provider of vocabulary and accurate use of language. For that reason, role play is an effective technique that increases EFL learners’ language production. This web page represents a good source of information, but just in the last part of my literature review.

Gardner, H. (1982). Natural language use. In In Krashen, S. D, Terrel, T.D. (Eds). The Natural Approach Language Acquisition in the classroom. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

In this book, Gardner explains that anxiety is promoted by the teacher. EFL teachers can decrease EFL students´ levels of anxiety through activities that promote the natural communication in the classroom. For Gardner teachers have to know more about each students´ personal life and use this information for designing attractive activities in the class. This book is useful to my work because add new information and complement my data about affective filter hypothesis. This book represents a good source to my work because I could obtain essential information about natural use of language and how decrease students´ levels of anxiety.

Harmer, J. (1989). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Retrieved from:

This article describes how a role play has to be performed in the English classroom. In the article Harmer describes that role play constitutes any speaking activity that a teacher leads in an ELF classroom. This activity should be supported by a specific environment, in order to promote students´ creativity when they are producing language. This article focuses on the role of shy students. For Harmer, shy students have the opportunity of use language in an accurate way and improve their interaction in the classroom. This article is important for my literature review because describes the correct environments for developing EFL learners´ use of language inside and outside the classroom

Hymes, D. (1972). Communicative language teaching. In J. Richards, (1986) & T. Rodgers,(1986) (Eds) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In this book, the author explains the role of communicative language teaching related to grammar. The aim of this book is explains that Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) was defined as approach stead of a method, because it involves a set of principles supported by classroom activities. CLT emerged with the necessity of a humanistic approach that takes into consideration students´ communicative necessities in real context and through real scenarios. Also the book provides important information about old methods used in language teaching. This book is useful for my literature review because of especially in the last part of my work.

Immersion Role-playing. Retrieved from

This website describes the difference between role play activities based on written dialogues before the speaking presentation of them and unexpected situations established by the teacher. The aim of this website is to provide advices in order to develop role play activities in the EFL classroom. This website focuses on the idea that students should be immersing in the role play activities through situations that represents usefulness in their real life. This website is useful for my work because it describes in detail students and teachers´ roles in communicative activities, as a result this information helps me to develop better ideas in my work.

Ke, Z, (2008) An Inductive Approach to English Grammar Teaching. Retrieved from HKBU Papers in Applied Language Studies, Vol. 12, 2008)

In this article, Ke explains in detail the inductive approach to teaching grammar. The author based this article in previous research by other authors regarding to the topic. Ke´ s main objective is to introduce the inductive grammar approach as tool that helps students to rediscover their subconscious knowledge of grammar and how to bring this knowledge of grammar to the real practice of language. The article focuses on how EFL learners can modify their practice of grammar from deductive grammar explanation to inductive grammar. This article represents an essential for my work because I could find excellent and concise information that I could not find in books.

Krashen, S. D. (1985), The input hypothesis issues and implications. New York: Longman.

In this book, Krashen discuss how human beings can acquire and learn a new language. The author affirms that humans being are able to understand a new language through meaningful and natural input. This input has to be based on authentic contact with the second language by communication. I could notice that the author believes that human beings do not need to receive grammatical explanations in order to use accurately a second language. This book is useful for my work because I could find essentialinformation.

Pekoz B. (2008) Integrating Grammar for Communicative Language Teaching. Retrieved from: The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XIV, No. 10.

In this article, Pekoz explains that during the grammar explanations teacher should promote communicative input supported by the classroom context. The author provides information about three new stages that substitute the presentation, practice and production stages. The author focuses on three new stages named pre, while and post grammar. Each one of these new stages provide students the opportunity of using real language in the classroom through grammar instruction and attractive activities for students. This article is useful for me because I could know a new way for teaching grammar through communicative activities and increase my knowledge and information about my work.

Richards, J.C. (1985). The status of grammar in the language curriculum. The context of language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

In this book, Richards explains the role of grammar in language teaching and how language proficiency could be acquired throughout the study of grammar. He focuses on grammar as language proficiency. This book is useful for my work because it explains the language learning process and accurate use of language. One of the limitations that I found was that the author talks a lot of teacher´ error correction during speaking activities and students´ reactions. Even though, the book describes many details of error correction provides me useful information that will be necessary for developing the idea of grammar and language proficiency in an EFL classroom.

Rivers, W. M. (1983). Communicating naturally in a second language. USA: Cambridge University Press.

In this book, Rivers explains that an EFL teacher has to set the conditions for language learning and development. At the same time, one of the teacher´ greatest responsibilities is to promote and achieve students´ good attitude towards language. Rivers focuses on the role of an EFL teacher as a facilitator, source of language and a model in the EFL classroom. The aim of this book is to describe the conditions that facilitated natural communication inside of EFL classrooms. This book represents an essential bibliography for my work, because it provides me useful information about situations that facilitated or not students´ production of language.

Tomkins, P. K. (1998). Role playing. Retrieved from: The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 8.

This article describes that role play as technique was born by the theory of language developed by Scarcella and Crookall (1990). The author claims that language is acquired by practice, when learners are exposed to clear and comprehensible input, when the feel motivation about the contents that they are learning. The main aim is that role play as technique promotes interaction among participants. This interaction develops the real, in order to solve problems in the real life. This article represents an important source of information in my work, because it provides different information that I could not find in books regarding to role play as technique.


  • Word count 2,405; Your missing your references. Alphabetize your annotated bibliography and make sure you have the exact same references in your references section (with heading) as you do in your annotated bibliography. Work on your introduction, making sure that you state a problem in the first sentence of the first paragraph and that you include a thesis statement in your second paragraph that links to your problem.  The reasons section of your thesis statement will be your topics you cover in each of the three sections of your literature review.  Click here to see some helpful videos.  Link your conclusion to your thesis statement and summarize the main points that you've previously discussed. Remember not to include any new information in your conclusion. Also, discuss future implications and ideas for further research related to your topic. --Bnleez 16:12, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
  • See my comments above but play close attention to article rules, mainly when to use them and when not to use them. --Bnleez 01:33, 30 November 2011 (UTC)