Promoting interculturalism, tolerance and diversity in the learning process

Teaching techniques: Role Playing Factor (Discouraging factor # 1 and #2)

  • Factor # 1: Language and communication barriers
  • Factor #2: Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion

Learning objectives:

To learn, in a safe environment, to deal with difficult situations (taken from the client’s real life) in a more efficient way;

To master such techniques and behavior patterns which would bring better results in given situations than those used so far;

To reduce fear and anxiety of difficult or conflict situations which the client has to face.


The necessary time will vary depending on the number of participants but is estimated between 1 and 2 hours.

Necessary materials:

Material and technical equipment, which help to create the impression of realness of the simulated situation.

Description of the activity:

The Role-Playing method is based on simulation of a real situation. In a given situation, clients are assigned different roles, which should be performed as realistically as possible. To ensure an efficient implementation of this method, it is essential that the coach should be carefully prepared, have a set goal and motivate and instruct the participant or participants in an appropriate way.

Example of the procedure:

  • Theme specification – defining the theme of the simulation, specifying the situation and the problems, describing the roles of the participants.
  • Role distribution – determining the number of participants that will take part in the simulation and the number of observers if there are any. It is convenient to involve, in an appropriate way, even less self-assertive and less active participants.
  • Thinking about the role or individual rehearsal of the role – it is essential to provide the participants with enough time to think about the situation and their role. The participants must obtain all the necessary information from the coach to be able to handle it. The roles should represent realistic, common situations so that the participants would not find it difficult to identify with them. The participants are also provided with a place where they could rehearse parts of their roles individually.
  • Demonstration of the simulated situation, role playing– performance of the assigned simulated situation. It is also possible to interrupt the simulation and ask the observers, e.g. what other solutions they propose. Role chance – sometimes it is convenient to exchange the roles and re-play the situation so that the participants can look at it from a contrary or different point of view. It improves empathy skills and makes the experience more compact.
  • The end of the simulated situation – to end the simulated situation it is recommended to make it clear that the simulation is finished. It can be done by making a particular gesture or pronouncing a particular word or giving a sound signal which clearly demonstrates that the participant is completely liberated from the role they have been performing.
  • Verbal expression of feelings and emotions – it is very important to allow every participant space for expressing their feelings, emotions and observations, which have been induced by the recently finished simulation.
  • Discussion, linking theory and practice, final recommendations and summarization – the final discussion is usually moderated by the coach. He should make the participants of the simulation familiar with the theoretical knowledge related to the situation. His task is to link the experience with the theory relevant to the given situation. In this phase conclusions concerning the simulated type of situations are drawn, and at the same time new information is acquired and improvements are proposed. The coach should help the participants find more efficient ways or patterns of behavior, which can be used in a given situation.
  • Repeating the simulation with new behavior patterns – the participants of the simulation can re-play the situation putting into effect the knowledge and the new information and behavior patterns, which they have acquired. Subsequently, they evaluate their progress. The goal of this process is to apply the newly acquired knowledge and more efficient behavior patterns to their everyday real life.


Useful tips:

  1. Roleplaying can be recorded on a video camera. A video recording gives the client the possibility of feedback. The clients can go through their behavior repeatedly; they can see their achievements and what could still be improved.
  2. Using this method can meet with difficulties when put into practice. The participants often fear that they will not be able to deal with the role and, therefore, their social status will suffer. Some participants can perceive the performed situation as extremely stressful and thus their behavior may diverge from the defined role. Sometimes, the room where the simulation takes place and the presence of the coach and observers do not create a setting that would be sufficiently authentic for the participant to be able to identify themselves with their role. If the clients are not given enough space for expressing their negative feelings, they could take them back home and feel in a bad mood after the simulation. An experienced coach keeps these risks in mind and knows how to minimize them.
  3. The method can be used as part of individual coaching, but also in a group, e.g. as part of training courses. When used as part of individual coaching, the coach performs one of the roles.
  4. What has proved to be successful is playing instructive, educational and even entertaining videos from the Internet, which show similar situations or e.g. demonstrations of different types of behavior in a given situation. Videos can also be used as a humorous introduction or conclusion of the method to make atmosphere less serious.