Provided you have more than three students in a class, and provided they have enough knowledge of the language to function in at least simple situations, group preparation of Role Plays can provide several advantages:

  1. By working in groups more people are speaking.
  2. They are working on a task in the target language.
  3. Peer pressure should push them to produce something of high quality.
  4. The teacher can concentrate attention where most required.
  5. As students prepare the RP in groups, each group's RP, when acted out should have an element of surprise for the others.

Step 1

  • Consists of a generalised preparation filling in vocab gaps with the whole group and talking over the situation to be acted out.
  • Get ideas from the pupils as to what sort of problems might occur in the situation being explored.
  • Students may come up with totally new ideas or variants when it actually comes to putting ideas down on paper but don't count on it. Make sure that an adequate choice of workable ideas has been provided which the pupils can fall back on if they don't have any original ones themselves.


Step 2

  • Split class into groups of 2 or 3 .
  • Tell them to prepare the dialogue of a Role Play on paper, tell them it is to be acted out when completed.
  • The teacher moves from group to group advising. He should reject ideas too complicated for the level and simplify concepts so that they can be expressed in available structures.
  • Students decide who is to play the parts.
  • If groups of 3 are formed, locate the pupil in each group who is least inclined to participate actively and make him do the writing. That way he is forced to communicate with the others and to take a more active part.
  • Make groups of 3 move to table ends with one on either side of the writer who is at the table end. It makes for better group dynamics.

Step 3

  • People nominated from each group act out their prepared Role Plays. Groups do this in turn.
  • Students can either read their lines from written notes or try to do without them. This depends upon the teacher's opinion of their ability to handle the role play without notes, if they try to do without them they can appeal to the third person in their group, if there is one, for help if needed.

Step 4

  • When each group has acted out its role play, and if third members of groups have done nothing active as yet, get them to give summaries of what happened in another role play to that in which they helped.


If it is the first time a group has done a Role Play you can seriously consider instigating applause for the first effort. If you can get them to clap each other's performance it will act as an additional spur to put more real theatrical effort into their performances next time.


BK08c 2000
reviewed May 2020