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Parents, Parents!

Activity type: this is a role play activity in which students act out being parents and teachers.

Level: Intermediate and above

Teacher's notes:

  1. Begin the lesson by asking students to discuss parents and what they think of them in terms of their roles, how they should behave etc.
  2. You could dictate a few statements questions to get the students talking about the subject.
      • Parents do not pay enough attention to their children these days.
      • Most parents do not know much about their children e.g. if they smoke or not, who they hang out with etc.
      • Television is the reason children are so violent these days; parents are not to blame.
      • The Internet is causing children more children to be anti-social and for parents to have little time with their children.

  3. Ask the students to discuss the sentences in pairs and then bring the class together into a big debate.
  4. At this point, you may want to go over some useful vocabulary i.e. the sheet below.
  5. Once you have gone over the lexical set. Ask them to use the language to answer the questions below:


  1. To be out of control
  2. To be strict
  3. To be lenient
  4. To be difficult to handle
  5. To be spoilt
  6. To be the apple of his/her mother’s/father’s eye
  7. Butter wouldn’t melt in his/her mouth
  8. To be as good as gold
  9. To be told off
  10. To be overbearing

Look at the sentences below and try to guess the meaning of the underlined lexical items.:

  1. Janey was as good as gold at school; she never got into trouble.
  2. He is the apple of his mother’s eye; she thinks he is perfect and couldn’t imagine him doing anything naughty.
  3. The teacher is extremely strict; she won’t even allow talking in class at all!
  4. He gets whatever he asks for. If he wants toys, he gets them. If he wants money he gets it. He is really spoilt.
  5. My mother is really a softie; she never tells me what to do or when to come home she is really lenient. If I get into trouble, she never punishes me. I don’t think that she has ever told me off!
  6. The children in the new school are completely out of control. They fight in class; they throw things at the teachers and they are often absent. The principal doesn’t seem to be able to do anything to stop them.
  7. My sister’s two year old is really difficult; he throws things and has tantrums. He often cries and generally won’t do anything that you ask him to; he’s really difficult to handle.
  8. The little girl looks like an angel; butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth! She is a sweetheart.
  9. Janey’s parents are very overbearing; they are always at school checking on her; they won’t let her go out without them.


  1. Are your parents strict or lenient?
  2. Can you name someone who you think is spoilt?
  3. When was the last time that you were told off and why?
  4. Do you know someone who is difficult to handle?
  5. Are you usually good as gold?
  6. Could you be described with the idiom ‘butter wouldn’t melt’?
  7. Would you say that your parents were overbearing or not?
  8. Now tell the students that they are going to take part a parent’s meeting at a school that is having problems.
  9. Hand out the roles. Explain to the students that the meeting is to decide whether to hold a sport’s day or not. There have been problems with the sport’s days in the past; the school has decided to have a meeting to look at the pros and cons and to make a decision as to whether to have one or not this year.
  10. Put the students into groups with one principal per group. Tell the principal that he/she has to moderate the meeting and to make sure that the students come to a conclusion and a result!
  11. Run the role play and monitor.
  12. Do delayed correction at the end of the activity.


PARENT (Mr. /Ms. Chester)

At the last sport’s day you got up and ran after your child during a race in order to encourage your child. Johnnie is a fabulous child; he always good as gold and quite clearly the best student in the school. You feel that your behavior at the sport’s day was normal; your parenting skills are second to none. Of course you should have a sport’s day. Johnnie will win and you want to see him win. He loves sports and loves to compete. He was a little aggressive last time but it was not his fault that the other student nearly broke her nose; she fell on to Johnnie’s hand!

PRINCIPAL (Mr. /Ms. Smith)

You know that some of the parents feel strongly about the sport’s day but during the last event a parent jumped up and joined in with a race! How ridiculous! Also that child was also involved in a fight although there wasn’t any proof. In your opinion, both the children and the students get too carried away. They become too competitive and too aggressive. You want the parents to either stay away from the day or for the sport’s day to be stopped altogether. The school can have other types of competitions that are less violent! You do love sports though and do feel that it would be a shame to get rid of it. May be only some parents should not be involved?

PARENT (Mr. /Ms. Edwards)

You hate competitive sports and would love to ban the day altogether. You feel that the children should make pots and paint pictures instead. You love harmony and balance; you think the children should be taught to love one another and to care about each other not stand in a line and try to beat each other to a finishing line. Your daughter Daphne got really upset during the last sport’s day when someone pushed her and almost broke her nose. You would love to see the children doing another kind of activity such as dance.

PARENT (Mr. Ms. Plover)

You love sport’s day; it is character building. You think that all children should learn to compete so that when they enter the business world they are prepared. Everyone needs to be competitive; it’s a dog eat dog world. Races are very good for the children because they keep the children healthy and fit. You think that in fact there should be more sports in school. You think there should be fewer activities such as dance and flower arranging- what do they teach?

TEACHER (Ms. / Mr. Sparrow)

You think that it is about time that the school got rid of the sport’s day. It is only about fighting. The boys get aggressive and usually there is a fight. You are tired of having to break up fights and of stopping bullying. You think that the children should do more school work instead such as geography or history. You don’t understand why the principal doesn’t suggest this.

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