February 28, 2014


Topic: Hamlet by William Shakespeare (characterization)Role_play

Class: 12th (4 h/week, B2 – upper intermediate)

Number of students: 30

Method: role-play

Time: 25’ out of 50’

Segment: practice


–          to improve speaking skills

–          to improve the communication skills of the students


–          to identify key features of the characters

–          to read a dramatic text appropriately

It is not something new for the students to write a characterization, but in this case we are trying to take this ability one step forward. The teacher will not interfere during this segment of the lesson; (s)he will speak with the students while the play is prepared and after, to offer feedback. The teacher will choose ten students and form two groups (five students, both boys and girls, in each one). The students will receive different fragments from the play and instructions to rehearse before appearing “on stage”. Other students, three or four, will provide the props (costumes, make-up, a skull) or take on different roles (e.g. director) in order to make the play more faithful to the script. The goal is not necessarily to recreate the backdrop from a theatre, but to make students understand the importance of good communication and team work.

The teacher will be part of the audience while the chosen students perform (first one team, then the other). If needed, the “actors” will have access to the text during the play. The important aspect if for them to understand the way the characters think, the motivations behind their actions and to make the audience pick up the key features of said characters. While their colleagues bring to life Shakespeare’s characters, the other students will take notes, creating an outline for the personalities of each character. The information will be used afterwards to speak about the features that represent the characters best.

Engaging students in role-playing has various advantages. It is a fun way to learn, it gives them the chance to express their ideas, to explore, to get to know themselves and one another better. It will be easier for them to exercise their speaking skills, to extract specific information from the text (in this case, to describe the characters) and to learn what it means to work in a team, to listen, speak and respect another’s opinion.

by Elena Atudosiei

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