Using non-scripted role-play to teach speaking skills: A study of English conversation of Thai college students at Yala Rajbhat University

Nuchanan Naksevee
M.A.Candidate Department of Language and Linguistics
Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University, Songkla, Thailand

Kemtong Sinwongsywat
Assistant Professor, Dr.
Department of Language and Linguistics
Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University, Songkla, Thailand

Nuchanan Naksevee and Kemtong Sinwongsywat

Naksevee, N., & Sinwongsywat, K. (2015). Using non-scripted role-play to teach speaking skills: A study of English conversation of Thai college students at Yala Rajbhat University. Asian International Journal of Social Sciences, 15(1), 104 – 120.

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Abstract: This study investigated the use of the non-scripted role-play activities to improve the oral performance of Thai college students with high and low English proficiency. It attempted to address the following questions: a) Do high and low proficiency students perform differently in non-scripted role-play based on scores obtained from pre- and post-tests? If so, how? ; and b) Can non-scripted role-play enhance the students’ speaking skills? Which group of students performs better in the non-scripted role-play? The data examined were obtained from tape recorded role-play of 16 non-English-major students (8 each proficiency level) during their pre- and post-tests at Yala Rajabhat University in Southern Thailand. The role- play conversations were transcribed and analyzed following the Conversation Analysis (CA) framework. The study found that the post test scores of both groups were significantly higher than their pre-test scores at the level of 0.00. The t-test result also revealed that the low proficiency students showed a significant degree of speaking improvement in terms of manner of expression and ability to interact at the level of 0.04 and 0.02 respectively. On the other hand, while improving on the same aspects, the high proficiency students also showed significant improvement in terms of fluency (sig = 0.02). The findings indicated that non- scripted role-play activities helped improve the students’ speaking skills and develop their ability to use the language naturally. Close single-case analyses additionally revealed that despite being traditionally taught conversation lessons with more focus on form and meaning, the participants trained with role-play noticeably improved on the language functions of genuine conversation. It was recommended that role-play activities be used in company with function-focused conversation lessons for the learners’ greater benefits.

Keywords: communicative language teaching, speaking skills, non-scripted role-play, Thai college students



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