Look into the Future: 6 MORE Role Plays for Practicing Future Tenses

Look into the Future: 6 MORE Role Plays for Practicing Future Tenses

Are you studying the future tense with your ESL class?

Are you looking for some unusual role plays to get them speaking up? In this article (see part one here: Look into the Future: 5 Role Plays for Practicing Future Tenses) you may just find what you are looking for (and what your students will be talking about). These activities will get them thinking about their futures, the environment and how they can help and hinder other people in their plans all while practicing speaking about the future.

Put into Practice the Ideas for Reinforcing Future

  1. 1

    Helping Hands

    This role play works best in groups of about four students and gives them lots of room for independent thinking and creativity. Choose one person in the group to share their plans for a future activity. They will tell the members of their group something that they plan to do, and they will use the simple future to share their plans. For example, someone might say, “I am going to run a marathon.” The other members of the group then jump in with the things they will do to help that person accomplish his or her task. One at a time, the students say what they will do. “I’ll help you buy the right shoes…I’ll run with you when you train…I’ll bring water for you to drink during the race…” Students continue to offer a helping hand until no one can think of any more ways to help. The student with the original plan should feel free to comment on each offer, and once all the offers have been made the group makes a timeline or plan of when and how they will accomplish the tasks. If you like and have the time, have another person in the group share his plans and repeat the process.

  2. 2

    Troublesome In Laws

    In this role play, one student will try to convince another student why his plans are bad ones. One person plays the future son-in-law or daughter-in-law while the other person plays the mother-in-law or father-in-law to be. The SIL or DIL shares plans for after the wedding with the other person. These plans can be about moving, having children, changing jobs or anything that your students can come up with. The in-law then tells the person that what they have planned will not work. He or she then explains what will happen if the SIL or DIL tries do make these changes using the simple future tense. The first student then changes his plans and shares his new idea using the simple future, and the second student again shows why it is impossible. The conversation continues until one person cannot think of anything else to say. The last person who talks in the dialogue is the winner. Then, have students switch roles and repeat the exercise.

  3. 3

    It’s Not Easy Being Green

    This role play not only gets your students using the simple future; it will also have them thinking about protecting the environment. One or two students play the role of an activist trying to tackle an environmental issue: water pollution, the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, renewable resources, or any other topics that your students feel strongly about. (Hint: this is a great opportunity to bring science into the ESL classroom.) This student approaches one or two other students in the class who are playing the role of big company executives. Their business practices are damaging the environment in the specific way the activists are trying to prevent. To persuade the corporate tycoon, the activist tells her what will happen if she does not change her business practices. The tycoon, on the other hand, tells the activist how changing business practices will negatively impact the company. Each side tries to convince the other that they are right. As they do, they should use future tenses. The conversation continues until one person agrees with the other or the two give up and must agree to disagree.

  4. 4

    Back to the Future

    If you have the resources, start this role play with a segment from the classic Michael J. Fox movie Back to the Future. In this movie a teenage boy travels back in time to when his parents were in high school. His mother falls in love with him instead of his father, and comedic results ensue. Your students will role play this scenario. One person travels back in time to when his or her parents were in high school (the time that they fell in love). Two other students play the parents who are no longer in love with each other because of their time travelling child. The student who travelled back in time must convince the two others to get together by telling them about their future. The parents ask questions about the future and say what they think will happen – ether agreeing or disagreeing with their child. Discussion continues until the time traveler can get his parents back together.

  5. 5

    Game Show Winnings

    Stage a game show in your classroom to review class material while practicing the future tenses. Have three contestants in your game show answer questions and win money. You should provide the questions to a third student who plays the host of the show. When a person answers a question correctly, the game show host tells them how much money they will receive for answering that question correctly. That person should then tell the host what he or she will do with that money. This role play serves double duty as your students review content information and use the simple future to ask and answer questions.

  6. 6


    Do you have creative and fashionable students in your classroom? If you do, they might enjoy this makeover themed role play. One person plays the part of a celebrity stylist – someone with knowledge of fashion and beauty. The other person plays the part of a person in need of a minor makeover (either a celebrity, themselves, or a fictional person). The two have a conversation about the makeover they are about to give/receive. They stylist wants the makeover to be extreme, including plastic surgery. The person getting the makeover does not feel such extreme measures are necessary. What will the stylist do? How will the person feel when he or she does it? Have the two discuss the possible makeover until they come to an agreement somewhere in the middle.

Role plays in the ESL classroom are not just practical, they are fun. Your students can imagine themselves in strange or comical situations while speaking boldly and thinking creatively. These role plays will do just that and at the same time will give your students practice with future tenses.

What are your favorite role plays for practicing the future?

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