Author: Adrian Tennant | Published on 1 December 2023


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

I use role-play a lot in my classes. The best thing about role-play is that we can create situations in the class that are similar to ones in the real world. Last week we did a role-play in which the learners worked in pairs. One was a visitor and the other had to give directions to help the visitor get around.

 Stage 1: Prepare

Role-plays are a good way of getting learners to practice grammar and vocabulary in real-life situations. 

Before class, think about:

  1. A good topic for a role-play (e.g. something you have been studying recently in class) 
  2. The language needed for the role-play
  3. The grammar needed for the role-play 

Stage 2: Pre-teach

For example, the role-play might be At the doctor’s. At the start of the lesson, you could elicit / teach the following: 

  • Parts of the body: head, finger, arm, ankle, stomach etc
  • Words connected to injury i.e. ache, twist(ed), break / broken, cut, pain etc.
  • Words connected to cures: medicine, tablets, rest, etc


How can I help you?

Doctor, I’ve … 

What should I do?

You should …

Why don’t you …?

Stage 3: Introduce

Put learners in pairs and say: 'One of you is a doctor. The other is a patient. The patient should tell the doctor what is wrong with them and the doctor should give some advice.'

Model the role-play with a learner at the front of he class, with you as the doctor. Afterwards, you could also get two learners to model a role-play. 

Stage 4: Do

Get the learners to do the role-play. Monitor and help where necessary. Then say: 'Swap roles and do the role-play again.'

You could also tell the learners to work with different partners, and repeat the task. 

Stage 5: Present

Ask a few pairs to come out to the front of the class and act out their role-play.

Rather than providing learners with the vocabulary, you could get them to work in groups and brainstorm the vocabulary and structures that they need. Role-plays are a good way at the end to practise language taught during the lesson.


real-life: everyday situations

advice: recommendation

monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.

Swap: change