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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 4; Issue 6; November 02

Lesson outlines

The Museum Roleplay

by Julie Lecomte,Dutch Teacher I.E.P.S.C.F. – Uccle, Belgium
E-mail: julie.lecomte@skynet.be

Level: all
Time: half an hour
Material: none
Focus: oral practice

This is a speaking activity that can be organized at all levels above complete beginners and for all languages.
Ask the students to place chairs at random throughout the classroom so that the students will be able to move from place to place.
Ask the students to place familiar objects (a book, a ring, a packet of cigarettes, a shoe, a banknote…) on the chairs. A different object should be put on each chair.
Divide the group into two: the museum guides and the museum visitors (the guides can twist a piece of paper into a bowtie shape to distinguish themselves from the visitors)
The guides' most important characteristic is that they know everything. Therefore they must invoke all their powers of creativity and imagination.
The visitors' main characteristic is their avid curiosity. They ask lots of questions and expect detailed answers.
Now the “type of museum” must be selected:

Past Tenses: If you want the students to work on the past tense the museum could be a collection of memorabilia of famous people now dead.

Vocabulary: the museum could display paraphernalia of sports figures and the mascots of their teams.

Comparatives and Superlatives: the students could put two similar objects (eg: 2 books) on each chair and compare and contrast them.

Note: a) explain that it is not necessary for the exchange of information to correspond to historic events. E.g. Julius Caesar and Marilyn Monroe might very well be married
b) as each of the guides finishes his descriptions he moves to the next chair. After one complete circuit, the guides and visitors reverse roles.

This activity has proven to be very successful and popular.