30 Role-plays for TEFL

Do you want to bring some drama and creativity into class? Are you looking for new ways to motivate and engage your teen/adult learners? Are you on the lookout for a good value TEFL resource written by real teachers, for real teachers?

If you answered YES to any of the above…. Here’s 30 Role-plays for TEFL! Woohoo!

Me and my colleague, Richard McCully, have teamed up to produce this book which is packed full of useful resources. There are some great two-person role-plays in here which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • engaging lesson starters
  • interesting and relevant tasks to drive your lesson forward
  • providing a good context to introduce functional language or grammar points
  • providing a route into drama – one of the most underused tools in the EFL classroom!

How did the book come about?


Last term, I was teaching this random lesson on science and discoveries. I was struggling to bring this topic to life for my teens, so I fell back on tried and tested methods. I made a role-play up on-the-spot. This was it…

Student A: You’re a famous scientist. You’ve just made an incredible discovery! Explain your discovery to your partner.

Student B: Your partner is a famous scientist. They’ve just made an incredible discovery! How can it be true?? Ask them questions about their discovery – see how well they can explain their findings.

I scribbled down a prompt for each ‘scientist’, and within about minute or so I had this…

Genuinely, the level of creativity, humour, and most importantly interaction that I saw from my usually placid teens was incredible! It was so fun to hear them trying to justify their ideas – the language that emerged from the activity showed me just how much passive knowledge my students already had. All they needed was a way to tap into that.

After class, I was reflecting on what happened with Richard, and he said:

‘Yeah, there’s nothing like a role-play for confidence! Taking on a role really helps bring out the language – there’s no inhibitions when you’re being someone else…’

Sure, it’s not rocket science. But me and Rich then started to share story after story of the role-plays we’d used and how effective they were. Whether it was for real-world tasks, off-the-cuff stirrers, drama club activities… we suddenly realized that:

  1. our list was endless
  2. we LOVE to teach using role-play
  3. our LEARNERS love to learn through role-play
  4. we just had to write all this down!!!

And when you write things down, the random activities you dream up mid-class, or the ones that you used that need a bit of refining, suddenly start to look… pretty good actually!

What will I find in this book?

This is a TEFL resource book. We’ve produced 30 different role-plays for you to use in class. Many are geared towards teens, but all are suitable for adult learners, and some would be appropriate for YLs (perhaps with some grading).

Speaking of grading – we’ve avoid what lots of resource books do. We have not suggested a level for these resources. We’ve made loose suggestions for relevant target language or topics, but we won’t limit our resources to levels. We feel teacher agency is important – you know your learners so you be the judge. Use as you wish… pre-teach, grade, adapt. Use as a main task, use as a diagnostic for language input, whatever you want. There are plenty of possibilities!

Just as a taster, you’ll find some pretty interesting roles in this resource…

  • a caveman who has just thawed out in the present day
  • airline passengers who have just arrived 30 seconds late at their departure gate
  • dodgy doctors
  • even dodgier art critics!

I’ll be honest – this resource was just as much fun to write as the activities were to deliver in class.


Categories: General, Lesson Ideas, lists, other

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Thank you! Very much appreciated!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Purchased. It looks good – looking forward to using it in the new year. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The link isn’t working for me, it’s a ‘page not found’ problem, and I can’t see any more links for the book on that site.



  1. Materials writing news and views, May 2019 | ELT Planning
  2. Book Review: "30 Role Plays for TEFL" - ELT Experiences
  3. Get published! Working with Peachey Publications | ELT Planning
  4. Self-Publishing for ELT Professionals course (so far) | ELT Planning

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