Talking heads – role play with masks – for teenagers and young adults

Ok, so this is a bit off the wall but it is a quite a good laugh if you have a young class or students who have a sense of humour. This is a simple role-play class using masks of famous people.

How to run the class

The biggest part of getting this class to run successfully is how well you sell it to your students. It is a kind of drama activity and yes, it is a bit wet, but, your students will only think that if you don’t sell it to them correctly.

Say and think this :Make no bones about it, speaking and using English language creatively are absolute cornerstones of learning a language and by delivering this class you are doing your job well and the students are learning.

Don’t say or think this: this class is a bit of messing about where we all get to make up stupid dialogues and laugh at each other.

Put students into groups of three and give them a copy of the masks from here: http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/masks-of-famous-and-interesting-people.docx. You can ask students to cut them out or stick them on cardboard if they’re a little younger. If you can laminte them it will make them a little more durable. You can also cut out their eyes if you want, but you don’t need to.

Tell your students they have ten minutes to make a dialogue, they are going to hold the masks in front of their faces and  then speak as the famous or interesting person. They can use all of them, or just three of them, they can change their character at any time. They can use any subject they want as long as it’s not rude or offensive.

It all depends on you if you want them to write their dialogue down or just try to remember it. I get them to try and remember it and ad lib.

Write these three headings on the board and explain them to the class before they start:

Introduction: There needs to be a starting point, the characters can tell us where they are and what they are doing. Where are they? In the forest, at home, in their office? Tell us.

Conflict: There needs to be something that the characters have to come up against, they need some conflict to make the dialogue interesting. This could be against each other or something else. Are they at war? What problem do they have to solve? Do they have a problem with each other?

Resolution: Finally, whatever problem they have, there has to be a resolution. It has to finish and come to an end.

Now ask students to work together on their dialogue. Some groups won’t be able to do this because they are not creative enough, you have to circulate and help them. Offer any ideas you come up with and encourage them. This is a crucial stage and if you don’t help them a little bit, the results won’t be great.

When students have made their dialogue, ask them to perform them for the rest of the class. If this is too hard, ask them to perfom it for another group.

Variations

I tried to pick people that my students would know but you could use any face you like. Just go to www.googleimages.com and search for ‘famous person’s name mask’ and you’ll find loads of faces that might be more relevant to your students.

Further ideas

You could video them doing this and stick on www.youtube.com .

You could use themes that you want them to develop. You could ask them to make a patient going to see the doctor role-play or a shopping role-play or anything that fits in with what you’re studying.

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