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An alternative approach to trigger learners’ oral output: Audio-recorded role-plays

Yasuyo Isobe
Chitose Institute of Science and Technology, Chitose, Japan


This study explored the feasibility of audio-recorded interaction as an alternative approach to in-person interaction. A total of 23 university students participated in six English classes (three in-person and three online sessions) that aimed to enhance their speaking and pronunciation skills. All classes contained instruction and practice of pronunciation and speech acts. Pronunciation of English sounds (e.g., /v/) was explicitly taught, and the sounds were practiced with peers. Then, instruction regarding speech acts (e.g., agreeing and disagreeing) was given to enhance the participants’ communication skills. Following instruction of the speech acts, communicative speaking practice was assigned as live role-plays in the in-person classes and as audio-recorded role-plays in the online classes. The participants did regular role-plays with peers in the in-person classes. For the audio-recorded role-plays, each participant first recorded their utterances and then uploaded sound files on Padlet within a given amount of time. Each participant then listened to their peer’s utterances and uploaded their replies within the time limit. After all classes, questionnaires were given to all participants to gather their impressions regarding the two different types of learning settings and role-plays and to examine the feasibility of audio-recorded interaction. In general, the participants preferred in-person learning environments and interaction. However, their preference for in-person role-plays other than small talk was weaker, indicating that audio-recorded role-plays may be effective for more complicated tasks that require fuller understanding of interlocutors’ utterances than simple tasks. Moreover, all participants responded positively about having such audio-recorded role-plays. That is, the participants were able to listen to their peers’ utterances as many times as they wanted in the audio-recorded role-plays, and they welcomed this because they did not need to ask their peers for repetition. Such findings indicate that employing audio-recorded role-plays can be beneficial as a first step towards in-person interaction.


audio-recorded role-plays, in-person role-plays, speaking

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023