This activity is a role play that allows students to take control, decide how the story will develop, and use their imagination. It can be used with a range of levels as students drive the content, but they will have to think on their feet and use the language in real time as they can’t prepare for what is going to happen.

Stuart Wiffin

The activity is very suitable for learners who are confident and who would like a chance to try out their English in a 'real' situation, but it can equally be used with a less confident group of learners given the right support.


No preparation is required.


  • In open class ask students to imagine they are going on a dream holiday and ask for suggestions for a destination.
  • Establish they are at this destination now, on holiday. Ask them to suggest what they have been doing during their stay, who they are with and how the holiday has been going. 
  • Either ask for volunteers or select two confident speakers and ask them to come to the front of the class. Clear desks to give them plenty of space. Ask your two volunteers for their (role play) names and write these on the board. Then ask them the name of the hotel they are staying in and the room number. Write these on the board as they will be needed later! Tell them they have returned to their room to find that their passports are no longer in the drawer where they left them. Encourage them to actively search for the passports but don’t allow them to find them. Then ask them to say what they would do next.
  • When they give you an idea e.g. call the reception, indicate that they have to choose another student in the class to be the receptionist. The three students then play out the scene and decide what they’ll do next e.g. call the manager, the police etc. The student then chooses someone else in the class to be the next character and the first three students include the next student in the role play. 
  • The students soon get the idea and more and more characters are called e.g. the cleaner, a witness (guest in next room), a journalist etc.  As the role play develops the teacher is there to help manage decisions and guide students when they have difficulties, but in general the important decisions are left up to the students.
  • While the role play is going the teacher makes a note of language errors and also notes down language and phrases that are missing or wrong in terms of polite communication.  This could be, for example, phrases such as: I’m sorry to disturb you but... Or Would you mind telling me... Or any other language the teacher feels might help the communication go more smoothly.
  • Once the role play has come to a natural end the teacher can go through the language on the board and practise any pronunciation points with the students.
Language Level


Submitted by gregdohe on Fri, 07/09/2010 - 20:06


Introducing intrigue and mystery in the game helps to make it fun and keeps children engaged. Reminds me a lot of the board game Cluedo.

Submitted by besherry on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:33


I think allowing them to have an input keeps them engaged; they'll know they're witnessing something unique and they took part in its creation!

Submitted by RuthS on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 16:37


I did this with my first-year intermediate business school students and it worked very well!

Submitted by Gulshan Huseynli on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 06:30


That's cool activity. It is creative and full of improvisations. This activity can wake up the doziest class. I'd like to try it with teachers first.  It will be very fun.

Submitted by agayeva shefeq7394 on Sat, 05/21/2011 - 22:49


This activity is fun, interesting and transforming the process of learning English into something enjoyable, I think.Hopefully, my students also will approve when I try the lesson

Submitted by daboooshka on Fri, 09/30/2016 - 02:02


I used this during my TTC for explaining the communicative approach and it worked wonders!!! Thank you so very much!!!

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