3. Using role play and scenarios

If pupils are to learn actively, then they need to be either physically or mentally active – or both! There are many ways you can promote active learning to make sure your pupils are getting the most out of their lessons. Which methods you use to teach HIV and AIDS will depend very much on the size of your class and the age of your pupils – and also on what you know about their preferred methods of learning.

You know that role play is a good strategy to use for helping pupils discuss sensitive topics. In HIV and AIDS lessons, it will allow pupils to discuss situations that are not their own but to think about how these relate to their own experiences. This is used in the Key Activity.

Another effective method is the quiz (see Resource 3: HIV and AIDS quiz). In Case Study 3, one teacher uses a quiz activity to find out how much her primary class knows about HIV and AIDS.

Case Study 3: Using a quiz activity to learn about HIV and AIDS

Maria used the Internet to prepare herself for working on HIV and AIDS with her class. She is lucky that she is upgrading her teaching qualification through distance learning and has access to the computer room at the study centre.

She found the website listed in Resource 1 and decided to try one of the activities found there. This is set out inResource 4: Transmission runaround.

Maria followed the instructions and found that the method was very helpful in discovering some of the misconceptions her pupils had about HIV and AIDS. She also found that it took much longer with her big class of 56 pupils, and it was a bit chaotic the first time she did it.

So, the next time, she split the class into two groups and had one group write about things they knew or thought they did about HIV and AIDS while the others did the activity. In the following lesson, she swapped the groups around. Between lessons she was able to think about what the pupils already knew or thought they knew about HIV and AIDS and this helped her plan the next lesson.

Key Activity: Role play for HIV and AIDS lessons

Plan some role play lessons on an HIV and AIDS theme (see Key Resource: Using role play/dialogue/drama in the classroom [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   and Resource 5: Role play for HIV/AIDS lessons) that are suitable for the age of your pupils. If they are sexually active, you might focus on prevention. Here are some examples of scenarios to use:

  • John says he is in love with Mary. On a date, when they are alone, John tries to pressurise Mary to have sex with him.
  • Jennifer, a pretty and clever girl, does not have the beautiful things some of her classmates have. Her uncle introduces her to his friend who likes Jennifer and wants to ‘look after’ her – but only if she will have sex with him.

You could use these scenarios to discuss the problems first and then ask your pupils to role play ways to deal with the problem.

With younger pupils, you could devise role plays which deal with misconceptions such as:

  • Precious and Becky are in the washrooms at school. Precious wants to use the toilet but she says she will wait until she gets home or go in the bush because she does not want to catch AIDS.

Make your plan and then carry out the lesson. At the end, ask yourself: How well did it go? What did you do well? How could you improve your approach to help pupils understand and feel secure?

2. Preparing pupils to discuss sensitive topics

Resource 1: HIV and AIDS in Africa