Tired of English Speaking Apps? Try these 8 Role Play Ideas to Improve Fluency

May 11, 2018
11 May 2018,

Let’s be real for s second. English speaking apps are great of you are beginner of learning English. They are great if you are learning your first 100 words in English and learning how to get directions from the train station. However, the usefulness of English speaking apps diminish heavily as you become an advanced English learner. 

What are some alternatives to English speaking apps? Role playing is an excellent way to improve spoken English specially if you have a vocabulary of around 200 words.  Role playing is picking an English conversation topic and developing a dialogue around it. You can do role playing with a friend or for best results practice with a Skype English partner.

Role plays situations cover every day activities which will enable non-English speakers to feel more confident in daily situations and to be able to converse more easily with natives.  Using Skype for English lessons will give students the ability to relax, learn new vocabulary and practice on a one to one basis before talking with others.  Here are 8 role play ideas perfect for these Skype English speaking lessons between yourself and the Skype tutor:


Go shopping


Think of the items you would like to buy, whether food, clothes or household items, and converse about shops you need to go to buy these items, together with cost.  Play the roles of shopper and sales assistant and then reverse the role play.  Make a shopping list of what you would like to buy and if buying fruit and vegetables think of either how many or weight of each item.  Keep a note of all new words and then look back and review after the lessons and learn all new words. 


Cooking a meal


Discuss cooking a favorite meal.  This will include buying the ingredients and all about how to make the dishes finishing with how you will serve these dishes.  The discussions can also include what drinks you will serve with the meal and why you have chosen this meal, together with how you will lay the table ahead of the meal.  The role play will involve the person cooking the meal and the person who is interested in the preparation of the meal.


Job interview


Have a role play of a job interview playing the interviewee and interviewer.  This role play can cover experience gained in your current job, together with why you would like to change jobs, what qualifications you have, what skills you have to offer, why your experience is relevant and what you can offer the new firm

(Want to dive deeper in to Business English? Read this post on crafting the perfect Business email.)


Speaking with a travel agent


This will involve a role play between a traveler and a travel agent.  This can cover aspects of travel (whether by train, flying, boat and/or car) together with the type of holiday you are looking for and whether it is a beach holiday, a sports holiday, an adventure holiday or a city break.  This can also include booking a hotel, youth hostel, AirBnB or an apartment.


Doctor’s appointment


Role play being the patient and the doctor with patient visiting the doctor to ask for advice as he/she is unwell.  This helps with learning medical words.


Going to the theatre or film


This can involve the role play of the person going to see the film or play telling his/her friend.  Discuss why you have chosen the play/film, where it is being performed/shown, reviews, and actors and actresses who are performing in the play or film.


Asking for directions


This will cover asking for directions of how to get to a certain point.  This could involve asking for directions by car, by train, by plane or by foot.  The role play would involve one asking for directions and the other giving the directions.


Sports discussion


Role play learning a new sport with one describing to the other about a certain sport and how long they have played this sport, where they learnt and how to play.


Role playing can be an entertaining way of learning new language as it teaches vocabulary used in real life situations. Compared to English speaking apps, role playing requires less technical expertise and gives room for more natural interactions. Roleplaying in English helps build confidence without the need to feel embarrassed initially about not knowing the new words.  Make a list of all new words that are covered in these sessions.  Have fun and you will see how quickly your spoken English will improve.

Learning English is like learning to bike