When teaching English, a fantastic way to get your students speaking and practicing English is to use role plays. All students, including kids, teenagers and adults, learn best when they are practicing and using English in a communicative and realistic way.
Role plays allow students to practice their communication skills while acting out different scenarios and using the English language just as they would in real life situations.
To help you plan your next role play class, we have put together this list of 5 fun and interesting role play ideas for English students. All these role play scenarios can be used in English classes with kids, teenagers, or adult English language learners.
Below you will also find some useful tips on how to make your role play class even more fun and effective.
Related: 30 Funny Debate Topics For Kids
Role Play Ideas For Students
1: There’s A Fly In My Soup
Role Play Topic: Ordering and eating food at a restaurant.
Description: In this role play scenario, students would use their knowledge of food vocabulary and common questions to order food in English at a restaurant. This a common role play topic for English classes with beginner learners.
To make this role play more fun, tell students that after they have ordered their food, and the food has been served, they should then act out that there is a ‘problem’ with the food.
This ‘problem’ could be something as simple as “There’s a fly in my soup!” or “My food is too cold!”, but you can let your students be as imaginative as they like.
This will undoubtedly lead to some very funny role plays! Kids especially will enjoy creating funny and crazy scenarios for their role play.
2: Where To?
Role Play Topic: Taking A Taxi And Giving Directions
Description: In this role play one student should be the taxi driver and one or two students should be the passenger(s).
The passenger(s) will tell the taxi driver where they want to go. For example, “Take me to the hospital, please.”, “Take me to the candy shop, please.”, etc.
But, there is a problem! This is the taxi drivers first day on the job. And so he/she does not know how to get to the destination. To get to where they want to go, the passengers must give directions to the taxi driver.
To make this simple role play more fun, ask students to imagine they are in a real taxi and when the passengers give the directions, the ‘taxi’ with the students in must move around the classroom.
Kids will love giving directions as they zoom around the classroom while acting out this fun role play.
3: I Don’t Think So!
Role Play Topic: Debate / Disagreement
Description: In this role play students should act out an argument between two friends.
First choose a fun debate topic. Next, students should act out meeting one of their friends in the street. They begin to talk but everything one person says, the other person disagrees with.
This kind of role play is a great way to teach students how to agree and disagree in English. It is also a fantastic way to prepare students for a real class debate.
4: Teach Me!
Role Play Topic: Giving Instructions
Description: In this role play one student will play the ‘instructor’ and one student will play the student.
The instructor should guide the student on how to complete a task, and the student should follow the instructions and act out what the instructor is saying.
For example, the instructor could be a chef and could teach the student how to make spaghetti.
There are endless possibilities for this kind of role play and students will love having their classmates follow their instructions.
5: News Report
Role Play Topic: Past Tense
Description: This last role play idea is a great way to review past tense with students.
Ask students to imagine a funny / crazy thing that happened in their town and then to create a news report about it. For example, ‘There’s a rhino loose in the city!’.
Tell students to think of a headline which sums up the story and a brief description of what happened. Then, the news report can cut to someone ‘in the field’ where they can interview people on the street about what they saw.
Tips For Using Role Plays In Class
As I am sure you are aware, making a successful role play activity in your class is not as easy as just coming up with a fun role play idea.
Here are some useful tips and ideas to make your role play activity a big hit in your next English class.
Prepare For Success
In order for the role play to be successful, students need some knowledge of the key vocabulary and language structures that are likely to be used in that role play scenario.
Before rehearsing the role play, spend some time drilling the key key structures and vocabulary. Also, once students start to rehearse their role play, the teacher can observe and ‘feed in’ new language if necessary.
Preparing students well will help them to be more confident when performing their role play and will make the role play activity much more enjoyable.
Use Realia And Props
Using real objects and props in your role play will help bring the role play to life for your students.
If available, using realia in your role play can help students to connect what they learn in the classroom with their real life experiences. For example, if you are conducting a ‘telephone call’ role play, you could ask students to use their cell phones.
Of course its not always possible to use the real thing. Instead, making and using simple props can be just as effective.
If you’re teaching kids, creating the props before the role play can be an excellent way to make the activity more fun and enjoyable.
Create The Script Together
Creating role play scripts can take up a lot of a teacher’s lesson planning time. Creating role play scripts together as a class can not only save lesson planning time, but it can also be a great way to introduce the role play topic and contextualize the lesson for students.
Start by introducing the role play scenario. For example, tell students the role play takes place at the airport.
Then, elicit from students the different things they do at an airport before they can board the airplane. For example, check in, going through security, going to the duty free store, etc.
Then, once you have a rough outline of the role play, get input from the students to complete the role play script. For example, in the airport scenario, you might ask your students if they want to fly first class, business class, or economy. Or if they want a window seat or an isle seat.
Creating the role play together like this will help to make the role play more memorable, and is much more effective than just asking students to memorize a script.
Be Imaginative And Have Fun
Role plays in the classroom can be incredibly fun and memorable, especially when students create the role plays themselves.
Let students know that they can let their imaginations wild. Kids especially love to come up with silly and funny scenarios and perform them for their friends and classmates.
You will be surprised just how imaginative students can be!
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some inspiration from these fun role play ideas and role play tips.