20 ESL Roleplay ideas for the classroom

As an ESL teacher, you must help your students transition English from the classroom into real-life situations. One effective way to pursue this is through roleplays, which should be in every successful ESL teacher’s arsenal. ESL roleplay ideas are beneficial tools for teachers as the students can learn grammar and vocabulary by practicing with friends in different situations. It gives them a chance to do actions, and they learn the actions by performing. This will prepare them for the world outside.

So, to help you plan your ESL schedule, here we have 20 ESL Roleplay ideas for the classroom that will boost productivity and learning English as a Second Language.

Tips for ESL roleplay ideas

The ESL roleplay ideas should be per real-life situations. You should make sure all the students stay within the boundaries. Also, have some go-to words and phrases on the board so the students can turn to them in case they get stuck.

In addition, you can add props to add more fun to learning!

Let’s now have a look at some catchy roleplay ideas!

ESL Roleplay ideas for classroom

Classroom Behavior ( ESL roleplay ideas)

 In the class, if some behavior is unwanted that you don’t want to see, ask students to roleplay it! They would need to act out the bad behavior and then show its consequences. Every moment is a teachable moment, so use it to teach the students what is acceptable in class and what is unacceptable.

Food role play


In this roleplay, you can ask the students to order food and ask a waiter for certain changes to the food. You can also do a cooking show where the students talk about the ingredients and how to cook something. 

Booking accommodation role play


You can tell the students to act as going to a hotel, making a reservation, and asking out things they would need there.

Taxi role play


Taxi conversations are an excellent real-life game that one can play. All you can get your students doing in this roleplay is getting into the taxi, giving directions, and paying five dollars for their travel. 

Telephone role play for students studying English


Telephone conversations can be as nerve-racking as having conversations in another language on the telephone! Your students can face opposite directions so they can see each other’s mouths or body language and try to have a conversation about a specific topic. 

Arguments in English (ESL Roleplay ideas)


You can roleplay arguments between neighbors and give the students topics like the neighbor who never cuts his grass. You could also do the neighbor who always has his music too loud when you are trying to study. The students who are playing the bad neighbor always seem to have fun with the activity. 

Going to the doctor


In this roleplay, you can act out as going to the doctor’s office and talking about body parts or

something that might be wrong can also be the doctor or the nurse giving advice. 

Be the Teacher

In this ESL roleplay, Students can take the role of teacher and teach a certain part of the lesson. They can also practice asking the teacher questions, so they feel more comfortable asking questions to you later. 

For example, if they don’t understand something or are asking about a test, many students are so nervous to ask the teacher anything, so this is a great opportunity for them to practice it, and in the future, they can use it. Perhaps even something like “teacher, I forgot my homework, my dog ate my homework”, coming up with better excuses for having late work!

Selling things in English


In this roleplay, students can sell a product. They can tell its features and persuade others. They should also ask questions about the product when they’re the buyers, and the other student is selling it. This is a great skill that everybody needs to have!



This roleplay is a bit different. Your students can practice by going to the shop and buying some items.

For example, your student can have a shopping list, ask their mom about what they should get, and then go to the store to get it. Another student (or the teacher) can play the part of the cashier.

Interview Practice


In this roleplay, the students can give interviews and also interview other students.

By doing this, the students can practice this and get comfortable in those situations.

Emergency Role Play


All the students should practice how to react when an emergency happens, how to call for help, and how to react when something bad happens. You can guide students to look at car accidents, call the ambulance, call the police, or how to deal with any type of accident or emergency.

Complaining in English (ESL Roleplay ideas)

This roleplay deals with consumer complaints.

  •  If you have a meal problem, you can call the waiter.
  • If you’ve got a problem with your hotel
  • If there’s something wrong with an item you bought, you can return it for a refund

Students should practice this so that they can do it in real life. 

Party Role Play (ESL Roleplay ideas)

This ESL roleplay can cover a variety of real-life events, such as 

  • Going to a birthday
  • A baby shower, a wedding
  • How to give compliments
  • How to have small talk 
  • How to say congratulations 

Talking about movies in English


In this ideal, you can guide your students to talk about movies they like and actors they like and explain the movie’s plot. Being able to share their ideas on movies makes us all part of this generation.

Giving your Opinion in English


Each of your students can give their opinions in this roleplay. All of us have thoughts and feelings, and it’s important to practice giving opinions in a structured manner.

Having a Debate in English


Coming from opinions, students should also be able to understand both sides of an argument, which is why the debate is very important. Students should look at both sides of the debate and be able to give a logical, structured reason for their belief.

How to advise in English


Everybody needs advice sometime in their life. This is a great role play for students to practice giving advice and receiving advice from friends. It’ll make them better friends and also better people.

Meeting a foreigner in English


Living in a foreign country is difficult, and your students can tell foreigners about their cultural norms by giving advice or telling someone where to go and which way to eat.

 This is a fantastic role play for students to understand how someone else might feel when they come to their country. It can also be really funny when a student pretends to be a local from a country they’ve never been to before while the other student is pretending to visit there

Conclusion (ESL Roleplay ideas)

ESL Role play is a worthwhile experience for teachers and learners. Not only do students get the opportunity to act and interact with their peers, but they also get to practice English.

Students learn how to use the language in a more realistic, practical way. Thus, they become more aware of the usefulness and practicality of the English language.

We hope these 25 ESL role plays for the classroom will help students connect the language to their real lives.


20 ESL Roleplay ideas for the classroom: Act English out!

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