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Home » Role play Activities » Role-play Scenarios for ESL: Discussing Different Topics and Situations, Even Vaccination!

Role-play Scenarios for ESL: Discussing Different Topics and Situations, Even Vaccination!

role play scenario

What is a role-play scenario?

Role-play is any speaking activity when you either put yourself into somebody else’s shoes, or when you stay in your own shoes but put yourself into an imaginary situation, also called a scenario!

I put together my favorite role-play scenarios and speaking activities which I used in the classroom and can be easily used on Zoom. Some of them are suitable for more advanced students, for example the science, and environment role-play scenarios. Other can be used with all levels, so they are also great for lower level, or younger students, for example the traveling and negotiation role-play scenarios.

When we use the activity on Zoom I always send the role-play activity to them in advance and when we have our online lesson I also share my screen with the role-play activity, so they can take a screenshot if they haven’t downloaded it. Then I put the students in the breakout rooms and they usually have 5-10 minutes for the pair work activity.

During that time, I always pop in to different breakout rooms to listen in. I correct, help and answer any questions if needed. What activities do you use on Zoom?

Role-play: Traveling

A1: You are a receptionist of a 5* hotel. You are very polite and you can deal with annoyed guests. Try to calm down the guest and solve any issues they have. Try to avoid calling the manager.

B1: You are a wealthy businessman staying at a 5* hotel. You are used to quality service and luxury, but this hotel doesn’t offer it. The room is too small, staff is rude, AC is noisy. You want to talk to the manager.

For more traveling role-plays click here.

Role-play: Negotiation

role play scenarios
A negotiation, simply put, is a compromise. Two or more parties come together, have a discussion, and reach an outcome that addresses the needs of everyone involved.” – Forbes

A1: You have too much on your plate right now and you need help with your English essay assignment which is due on Friday. Ask your classmate for help. What would you be willing to do for them if they helped you? Think of the things you are willing to offer:

B1: Your classmate needs your help with the English essay assignment which is due on Friday. You might consider helping them if they can provide the right incentives. Think of four things you want for helping them(can’t be money):

If they agree with three of the four, you might consider helping them.

For more negotiation role-plays click here.

Role-play: Science

A1: You decided not to vaccinate your children. You read articles about vaccination and you learned how dangerous it is. It causes autism and contains lead and other toxic elements. You know what is best for your child and herbal teas and some meditation will work just fine. You are angry that your friend doesn’t support you.

B1: You are a person of science. A rational being. You believe in data, facts, and verifiable experiments. Your friend decided not to vaccinate their children. They believe that vaccination causes autism and that it is dangerous. Try to explain the benefits of vaccination and to disprove those absurd theories.

For more science role-plays click here.

Role-play: Environment

role play scenario
“The Earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry

A1: Many of your friends use cars to commute to work even though it is more expensive than public transport. You are concerned about the impact this irresponsible behavior has on our planet. Try to persuade your friend to switch to more eco-friendly transportation.

B1: You drive to work every day. You live in a free country and you don’t feel the need to explain yourself to anyone. Why shouldn’t you drive? Your friend’s been nagging you about it for a while. Talk to them.

For more environment role-plays click here.

Role-play: Work problems

A1: You are a project manager who has been assigned to a new project. One of the members of your new team is not co-operating with the other team members. He opposes every idea, causes conflict, and is generally difficult to work with. Talk to him and solve the problem.

B1: You have worked for this company for 10 years and you feel unappreciated. You started to work on a new project with co-workers who are not so experienced as you are and you think your manager is incompetent. You complain a lot because things do not work as they should. Your manager wants to talk to you.

For more office problems role-plays click here.

ESL conversation topics

5 thoughts on “Role-play Scenarios for ESL: Discussing Different Topics and Situations, Even Vaccination!”

  1. Pingback: ESL Conversation Topics for English Practice

  2. As someone who has close loved ones both sides of the vaccination debate, I find your roleplaying prompt to be very aggressive and inconsiderate. I find it to be very biased towards being pro-vaccination and language like “You are a person of science. A rational being” and “disprove those absurd theories” makes it seem like if you disagree with vaccinations, that you are not intelligent, smart or rational and are in fact, absurd. You can be completely rational and not believe vaccinations are good for your health, and you can research and find different side effects that could be negative for ones health. I understand that this is roleplay and that they are taking on a persona, but is the persona you want the roleplayers to take on one that is already fixed in their viewpoint? Negotiation is about listening to both sides of the story and argument.
    I want to be clear that I am not trying to argue one way or another, but I do think you should reexamine the roleplaying prompt and fix the language that is used there.

    1. “You can be completely rational and not believe vaccinations are good for your health (…)”

      Good point, Laura… Although, no, not at all. If you are completely rational, there is no room for “belief”. You would understand that the body of evidence supporting vaccination use, accumulated over decades and decades by thousands and thousands of different people of all kinds and ilk, does not really allow for a variety of beliefs on the use of vaccination.
      On the other hand, being exposed to people who doubt the benefit of vaccination after watching two YT videos and reading one book from one M.D. can be a maddening experience. Especially if these people start having an impact on the re-emergence of certain long-gone diseases.
      So I believe it is that emotion of frustration the teacher who prepared these roleplays tried to communicate in his/her use of aggressive language.

      1. Thank you Esteban, you practically said it for me. Also, thank you for pointing out that the language was agressive, I didn’t think about that before. I am from Eastern Europe and we can be quite direct.

    2. Laura, what Esteban said. Pseudoscience and hoaxes are not research. And yes, they take on a persona for the role-play and the point is(among other things) to show them how difficult it is to deal with some people.

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