Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 October 2023


'Role play' is a drama activity on completion of reading a newspaper report.

Stage 1: Warm up

Introduce the story of Ncumis Jilata by reading the newspaper article about their journey to become Africa’s youngest neurosurgeon. 

Stage 2

Discuss the text with the class. Do they have any questions? If so, address these. Was there anything surprising about the story? What do they think were the key events that led to Ncumis Jilata becoming a neurosurgeon?

Stage 3

Explain that the class will work in mixed gender and ability groups to act out some of Jilata’s story. Divide the group into smaller groups of 3 or 4, or whatever works best in your classroom. Explain they can choose a specific moment from the life of Jilata to act out, or they can act out a summary of the events. Allow 30 minutes for the group to prepare what they would like to dramatise. 

Stage 4

On completion of the rehearsal time, bring the class back together. Ask groups to perform their skit one group at a time. Encourage the other groups watching to consider positive feedback and a next step for each group. Take this feedback from a variety of learners after each performance.  

Stage 5

When all groups have performed, discuss as a group which events features throughout most/all of the performances. Why did the learners feel like these moments were most important in Jilata’s life? 

Stage 6: Plenary

Discuss whether Jilata’s achievments are any more impressive because she identifies as female. What are the opinions of learners on this?

Gender Responsive Notes: Ensure gender neutral language throughout; mixed gender groupings to ensure engagement with learners of all genders; ensure answers are taken from a variety of learners; the opportunity to analyse a text through a gender lens. 


Plenary: the final task in a lesson that rounds up the learning. 

Gender Neutral Language: language that avoids bias towards a particular sex or gender. In English, this includes use of nouns that are not gender-specific to refer to roles or professions, formation of phrases in a coequal manner, and discontinuing the blanket use of male or female terms. For example, it’s referring to someone you don’t know as “they” rather than using the pronoun “he” or “she,” or  perhaps addressing a group as “everyone” rather than saying, “Hey, guys, and adapting gendered terms such as businessman to business person instead.

Want to know more about the GLE Team?

In a groundbreaking initiative, the British Council, under the English Connects programme, undertook a transformative mission to champion gender-inclusive practices in Sub-Saharan Africa with a cohort of 41 dedicated teacher educators and teachers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. This dynamic group referred to as the GLE Team worked together to design this resource.

Read about our Creating Gender Pedagogy Resources for Teachers project:

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