Lesson 1: Role Plays

Using role-plays is one of the most effective ways to teach and learn the application of Life Skills. Role plays are opportunities to practice new skills and not acting on stage for entertainment. Nobody needs to be a drama specialist to do role plays in the Life Orientation class.

 The students’ role plays need not be perfect. The focus is more on what they learn during the role play, than presenting a perfectly acted out scene. The aim of role plays is to solve problems, show them what to do in a difficult situation and demonstrate how to deal with challenges.

Students do not always have to present role plays to the class. Sometimes, to save time, ask for one or two groups to briefly present.

Role Plays

Using role-plays is one of the most effective ways to teach and learn the application of Life Skills. Role plays are opportunities to practice new skills and not acting on stage for entertainment. Nobody needs to be a drama specialist to do role plays in the Life Orientation class.

The students’ role plays need not be perfect. The focus is more on what they learn during the role play, than presenting a perfectly acted out scene. The aim of role plays is to solve problems, show them what to do in a difficult situation and demonstrate how to deal with challenges.

When students present role plays to the class

  • Ask students to always face the class, i.e. not turn their backs towards the audience.
  • Speak loudly so the whole class can hear.
  • Ensure that role play presentations are short – 1-2 minutes maximum. Preferably, get the students used to the idea that role play presentations may only be one minute. Remind them to focus on only demonstrating the solutions or actions to take.

Always ask questions after each role play presentation. e.g. How did you solve the problem? What did you learn about the situation? How will you apply these skills in a work situation? What else could you do? What did you learn about yourself?

Always follow role-plays up with a discussion or written work. Questions for discussion or written work are provided in lesson plans and Worksheets.

 Always derole the students at the end of a role-play session. To derole means helping them to come out of the roles they were playing. You can do this by asking the students to stand in a circle and shout out loudly – ‘I am… (say name); I am NOT the role I played’. They can also shake their arms and hands vigorously while you say: ‘Shake off the role you played. You are no longer that person!’ It only takes 30 seconds to a minute to derole students, yet it is vital. They may be burdened with a negative role the whole day if you do not help them derole.

Trust the process

Some lecturers feel unsure about doing role plays because it is a new method for them. If you follow the instructions in the Lesson Plan, it is very easy. Trust your students – they will understand what to do and transform the role plays into a valuable learning opportunity. The scenarios to role play are designed to keep the students interested and challenged.

Lesson Content