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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsHow was this user's guide to creative training produced?
View the documentIt came one night...
Open this folder and view contentsBasic facilitation skills
Open this folder and view contentsTraining needs assessment
View the documentWII-FM (what's in it for me?)
Open this folder and view contentsEvaluation techniques
Open this folder and view contentsEnergizers
View the documentForming groups
View the documentCreative congratulations
View the documentRelaxers
Open this folder and view contentsMood setting exercises
Open this folder and view contentsLectures
View the documentMind mapping
View the documentCreative use of overhead projectors
View the documentSlide/photo presentations
View the documentVisual spicers
View the documentPosters as problem-posing materials
Open this folder and view contentsDrawing and chalk talk
Open this folder and view contentsSelf-expression through pictures
View the documentBody language
View the documentVisual gestural communication
View the documentShadow plays
View the documentEasy puppets
View the documentBasic theater skills
View the documentRole play
View the documentAnimated comics role play activity
View the documentFolkstorytelling: Stories come alive!
View the documentOral testimonies
View the documentLifeline
View the documentTimelines
View the documentMap-making
Open this folder and view contentsMaking and using case studies
View the documentAction research
Open this folder and view contentsField trips
Open this folder and view contentsPhysical activities as educational tools
Open this folder and view contentsGames
View the documentContact organizations
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentWorkshop production staff

Role play

Role play is an activity where participants act out a situation and the facilitator leads the discussion of ideas and feelings that emerge. Participants receive a problem situation and a short description of the characters. They take the role of the characters and make up their own lines.



Role play is often used to show the emotional reactions of people involved in the situation and can be used to practise interaction with other people.

Other uses of role play are:

· training and communication;
· behaviour rehearsal and behavior modeling; demonstration; and
· assessment and evaluation.

Suggested materials

· objects to make the scene more realistic (e.g., tables, chairs, brooms, etc.);
· costumes or clothes appropriate to the role the person is playing;
· posters or signs (e.g., a sign saying, "welcome to your health clinic"); and
· props (e.g., dolls, cardboard animals).


· Basins or tubs are useful in making the sound of someone knocking on a door.
· Crinkle some cellophane to sound like fire.
· All role play action should start from the left side of the training venue.

Types of role play

A role play can be acted out by several groups at once or by only one group. The single group role play is done when one group carries out the role play in front of the rest of the participants. In the multiple role play, several small groups are established. These groups then act out the same play simultaneously. Experiences, thoughts and emotions from the role play are then reported back to the entire group.


Suggested approach


· Guide questions must be very clear to come up with the desired output, if not the whole activity could get out of hand.

· To avoid confusion, do not give suggestions or instructions during the activity.


1. Choose a problem situation related to your objectives, interesting to your learners and suitable for acting.

2. Collect all the props and materials needed for the session.

3. Plan some questions to ask during the preview discussion.

4. Describe the characters and roles to your participants.

5. Choose two or three participants to act as characters in the role play and encourage them to feel and act like the characters they are supposed to be.


1. Be sure that everyone can see and hear well enough to follow the role play.

2. Watch carefully to see if the players are raising issues appropriate to the main problem. Take notes during the role play and refer to your notes during the discussion that follows.

3. Watch everyone else during the role play to see if they are still interested, or are becoming bored and restless.

4. Stop the role play when you feel the actors have shown the feelings and ideas which are important to the situation.

5. Thank the actors for their help and good work.


I. Ask the actors and other participants to discuss their feelings, what they discovered during the activity, how this relates to what they already know and how this information can help them in their daily lives and work.


Sometimes, situations can be emotional, so debriefing must be done sensitively. Remind the participants that they must "de-role" and become themselves again. A relaxation technique can help reduce emotional tension and refocus on reality.

2. Refer to the questions that you have prepared. When you have posed all the questions, move onto the next stage.


1. Ask the participants if this was a valuable activity for them: why or why not?

2. Listen to the comments. Do the participants have a better understanding of personal feelings and values which are part of the problem or situation?

3. Ask for suggestions on how the role play could be improved next time.


· A very flexible activity because it can be used any time in the workshop and for most topics of discussion.

· Can be done two to three times eliciting various outcomes. Can also be interrupted mid-flow to debrief on feelings at the height of action.

· Identifies attitude changes effectively by placing people in specific roles. This demonstrates that a person's behavior is not only a function of their personality but also of the situation they happen to be in.

· Shows different ways of handling a problem or situation.


· Sometimes, participants are inhibited by either personality or cultural norms.



It may take a long time for groups to get organized and be ready for the presentation.

A group, who has been provided with a safe forum for expressing their emotional feelings could now more easily work out any conflicts between them or with other related parties. The role play activity has enabled the group to work together and a discussion of the problem or issues can now be facilitated.


Role play can be useful to facilitate discussions of illegal fishing and fishery laws in communities and to help in seminars on apprehension, arrest, filing of cases and court room procedures. One example can be the fish warden deputy training. Participants can act out different scenes during the life of fisherfolk, fish wardens, representatives from the Department of Agriculture and court fiscals, etc.

A discussion about illegal fishing occurs. Another participant can then join in the role play as a fish warden.

A fisherfolk is "caught in the act" using illegal means of fishing. What happens next? What issues are raised? For effective synthesis, the following questions can be asked to start, discussion:

· What did you feel as you were acting out the role?
· Has this situation or something similar ever happened to you in your community or in your line of work?
· What did you do? What did other people do in such a situation?
· What insights have you gained regarding the role of a fish warden and the culture of the people?