2. Using role play to explore community relationships

Respecting others and behaving in appropriate ways between different generations is important in holding communities together. In your classroom, how your pupils speak and interact with each other can affect their interest in school and learning. Role play can be used to explore how to behave in different situations. 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)]   for guidance.

You will need to spend some time preparing appropriate role plays. Remember, the purpose is to help your pupils explore their own beliefs, knowledge and attitudes, and role play is a non-threatening way to do this.

Case Study 2 shows how one teacher used role play with younger pupils to explore the rules of behaviour in their families. Activity 2 uses role play to investigate community relationships.

Case Study 2: Family rules

Mrs Mjoli teaches Grade 3 in Cancele School in Eastern Cape. She asked her pupils to talk to their grandparents or other older family members and ask them about the rules of behaviour that are used in their families.

The next day, in class, they shared the rules from their different families and found that many were the same. One or two children had rules the others did not have, and they talked about why some families need different rules. They found that most of the rules were for children! (Resource 3: One family’s rules has some rules you could discuss with your class.)

Mrs Mjoli chose small groups of pupils to perform a role play about one of the rules. This helped the class to discuss the behaviours shown and when the rules are used.

They found that there were sometimes different rules for boys and girls. They talked about this and found that there were specific tasks to be carried out by boys and different ones for girls. They felt that, mostly, the girls were not treated as well as the boys. In the end, the whole class agreed it was not fair and that the rules should be the same for everyone.

At the end, Mrs Mjoli explained why the rules are important. She also made a note in her book to plan a lesson on gender issues to further explore and possibly challenge the differences in the treatment of girls and boys.

Activity 2: Using role play to explore community relationships

Prepare some role plays set in different community situations:

  • Thabo meets the chief
  • Mr Ntshona the storekeeper
  • Danisile and his grandfather

(See Resource 4: Role play on community relationships for more details on these ideas. You could add your own activities.)

Ask your pupils to act out each role play and have a class or small group discussion after each one. Identify the good or bad behaviour. Ask the class how the people in the story should behave.

Ask the pupils, in groups, to think up their own story to role play. Guide them to make sure they think of relevant situations. Allow each group to present their role play, and repeat the class or small group discussions to think about ways to resolve the situations.

1. Exploring the local community

3. Learning to respect differences