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Should Have Said...

Empowering students through role-play

Author: Rosanna Morales

Format: 96 pp book

ISBN: 9781863667401  SCIS No: 1158246

Publisher: Education Services Australia 2004

Audience: Teacher resource

Price: $39.95

Audience year level


Should Have Said reveals the power of role-play in creating a safe space for students to explore emotions and build resilience.

Under the four themes, Bullying, Grief, Anger and Self-esteem, this middle years text is designed to enhance personal development through performance, discussion and the sharing of ideas. The activities will help students become effective communicators and active investigators as they work independently of the teacher, collaborating with their classmates to build trust. Learners can be actively involved in group activities or take part as observers and commentators.

There are opportunities for:

  • performing
  • drawing
  • directing
  • designing
  • writing
  • dancing
  • building

Teachers will value the extensive role-play toolbox, containing warm-up games, tips on writing and activities for mime, movement and improvisation.


Lina Scalfino, Principal, Modbury PS SA.

In my opinion this publication is very suitable for school Primary School children particularly in years 5-7. However with adaptations, it could be used with younger children. I believe that students in the middle- upper primary could identify with the scenarios particularly when it comes to reading the monologue. These monologues are original and would stimulate lots of discussion given that a range of perspectives are highlighted which provides a strong connection back to the children for consideration.

Teachers are always pressured by the overcrowded curriculum. This resource has the advantage of presenting an integrated curriculum approach to the issues and in doing so, will assist teachers to reconceptualise the curriculum and assist students to see the links between curriculum areas while dealing with some real issues affecting them every day. In addition, it is well known that drama will provide a direct connection and engagement with students. This will assist them to deal with the issues in real life- a contrast to just sitting down and learning about it!.

One area that could be further emphasised as an advantage is the power of role plays simply because they are once removed from individuals, providing them with a “licence” to explore their emotions, and different perspectives.

This resource provides teachers with a sense of clarity about the steps to take in introducing and dealing with these difficult topics. The role play tool box is particularly useful to all teachers but particularly to teachers who may not be confident in this curriculum area. It is easy to read and to follow and not congested.

It is my opinion that the author has taken a very constructivist approach to this resource with clear constructivist principles operating including: student voice; engagement; integrated learning and understanding emotions. In other words it is process driven! This has to be an advantage instead of having children at their desks!!

The content emphasises the development of a “positive mind set” assisting students to reframe for themselves the events and understanding the power of thinking in changing emotions and behaviour. This is a great advantage in this book!!

Reprinted with permission.

Liz Veel, Wanguri PS, NT.

The themes of grief, bullying, role play and anger are ones that students deal with daily and this publication contains some great ideas with getting students to verbalise values and behaviours to assist in coping with any of these issues.

It contains some very practical suggestions and the language, ideas and scripts contain some very sensitive, and diverse thought provoking scenarios. This title would work well with Middle Years School teachers (Years 6-9) where peer acclaim/criticism is the most powerful vehicle for modifying values education. Because the publication empowers students ownership of the material through role play.

The self esteem section contains some great practical hints and resources and provides a focus for each student to get on board the issues.

The bullying section is well dealt with and the interview idea is good. The monologues throw a lot of light and shade on the many aspects of bullying.

The anger section contains lots of scripts that would create some great discussion about anger. In many anger workshops that I have mentored it’s hard to finding a starting point about anger. Lot of kids, particularly boys do not have the vocabulary to express feelings about their anger. The activities/ scripts provide useful vehicles for doing this.

I like the role play section. This would assist lots of teachers who find teaching role plays challenging with strategies to do this effectively.

Reprinted with permission

Anna Halafoff, International Conflict Resolution Centre, Univ. of Melbourne

A vital component for effective conflict resolution is good communication. Children do not communicate in the same way that adults do. Children and adolescents especially do not find it easy to express their emotions. Should Have Said… uses role-play as a technique to empower students to communicate effectively. By using ‘play’ instead of ‘real’ experiences, students are given a safe space in which to express how they feel. It is aimed at upper primary and lower secondary students.

Themes of Bullying, Anger, Grief and Self-Esteem are explored through both interactive and scripted plays presented in an easy to navigate handbook. Follow-up activities provide opportunities for more personal reflection. Both scripts and activities are clearly presented and described. Illustrations and language used in handouts will appeal to students and teachers alike. Relatively realistic cartoon characters are used throughout the activities and language is age appropriate and intelligent. These sensitive topics are handled honestly and openly. Children often have a frankness with such issues that adults can lack. This resource deals with difficult emotions and situations in a very matter of fact way that students will both understand and appreciate.

Should Have Said… is a creative learning tool that can be used by teachers and students to explore emotions and build trust through performance and the sharing of ideas. It successfully demonstrates that role-play is a highly effective methodology for developing effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills.

Review in ACResolution

Fall 2004

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