A role-play is an integral part of a productive English lesson since it is engaging, fun, motivating and memorable. Imaginary people, situations and functional language play a great role in learning the language. Hence, using different role-play activities in the ESL classroom is a must. In our previous article we have already introduced the benefits of using role-plays in the classroom and have provided some general recommendations. During summer lessons, students get a chance to rehearse their English in various situations, such as “At the restaurant”, “At the airport”, “Asking for directions”, etc. Here we present several role-play ideas for your English classes.

Giving directions

In this role play, one student should be a local, and the other two or three students should be tourists. The tourists want to find the best sights in the city, such as museums, squares, monuments, cafes and restaurants. They ask a passer-by how to get there. You can also provide your students with a map to have a clear idea of where to go and useful language. Use real maps to find the most popular places of interest in the city, e.g. Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, etc.

Alternatively, some student can be a tourist and others can play the role of the voice navigation of Google Maps.


Useful language

Go straight…

Turn left/right at the traffic lights.

Go past…

Go over the junction.

Walk along the road until…

The … is on your left/right.

It’s opposite…

It’s next to…

Booking a Hotel

Some countries are already opening their borders after the lockdown, and most people tend to restore their travelling. Of course, they also need to book a hotel room or rent a flat. To rehearse telephone conversation or text messaging with the hotel management, you can ask one of your students to take the role of the tourist, and the other — the manager of the hotel. Don’t forget to provide your students with a specific vocabulary list.

Here , here and here you will find lots of interesting exercises to role-play dialogues on the topic “Hotel”.

At a Restaurant

In this role-play scenario, students practise the vocabulary on the topic “Food” and use common questions to order a meal in English at a restaurant. This role play topic is mostly used with Elementary and Pre-Intermediate level students. To make the task more challenging you can also ask your students to complain about the service or the food thus using more complicated words and phrases.

Useful expressions for conversations at a restaurant can be found here.

Travel agency

Practise descriptions of places using photos from travel brochures and persuasive language. One student is a travel agent, others are people looking for a perfect trip. A travel agent should pick a holiday for a honeymoon couple, a group of teenagers and a retired couple and persuade their customers.

Persuasive language

— I am certain…

— I’m sure that you can see that…

— I ask you to think about…

— Obviously…

— Surely…

— If [ ] were to happen, then…

— Although it may seem…

Job interview

Many students learn English for work and to get ready for their job interview. As a result, using interview role-plays may be a great motivating and effective way to get your students hone their speaking skills and make sure they feel comfortable with it. In summer you can ask students to imagine that they are trying to get a temporary summer job or job as a camp counsellor.

Follow the link to find out the detailed scheme of preparing your students for job interviews

A great idea would be to prepare a list of the possible questions according to the working sphere, get your students to think over these questions and if necessary write them down.


In our everyday life, we face different types of situations where we have to argue with someone. This can be our parents, friends, neighbours, colleagues, etc. Whatever the circumstances, students will need a specific vocabulary to argue. Here you can find various topics for arguments.

“It’s a heat wave” arguments

Neighbour problems

Argument situations

Eight short argument role-plays

I usually introduce expressions such as:

— I agree

— I disagree

— You are right/wrong

— I totally agree

— Indeed

— I absolutely disagree

— No way!

— It’s true/obvious/evident that … However, …

— While you might say that …, it’s important to remember that …

— I agree with you that … On the other hand, …

We hope that the ideas for role-play activities introduced in the article will come in handy and will enable your students to hone their speaking skills.

Wish you interactive and engaging classes with your English learners!

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