- may be necessary after activities which could evoke strong emotions, such as discussion of values, personal experiences, unfinished stories, scenarios or case studies
- is the processing component of a role play
- has the purpose of drawing out ideas, implications and possible strategies
- enables participants to leave their character or de-role
- aims to dissipate the strong feelings a student may experience while discussing or role playing another person, or remembering and relating a past event, and return the student to their own identity or present situation.
Asking questions like, 'What did you have to change about yourself to play this role?' or 'How different are you to the character?' can be used to focus the debriefing and de-role students.
Debriefing after an activity
When the activity (or lesson) is over, ask students the following:
- How do you feel after that activity/ discussion? Is there anything else that you want to say?
- Tell the person next to you how you felt when we talked about...
- Now tell them how you feel about something you are doing on the weekend.
Debriefing after a role play
When a role play is finished, ask the role player or players such questions as:
- Who are you now?
- How did you feel about playing that role? Is there anything else that you want to say?
After using role play activities be alert in case individual students remain affected by their participation in a role play.
This is usually demonstrated by withdrawn behaviour, but some students may become restless or aggressive. Ensure that the student receives additional individual debriefing as soon as possible. This may involve asking such questions as:
- How did you feel about playing that role?
- How could we have changed the role play to make it better for you?
- What are you doing after school today?
Closing the session
Finish each session in a positive way. Ensure time is allowed for sensitive discussion to be completed before the end of each lesson. Refocussing or relaxation exercises can help release any tensions that may result from discussing sensitive issues.
They are also beneficial in refocusing students on a session to follow, reducing behaviour problems and assisting students to think more clearly.
Similarly, an energiser or short burst of physical activity can help release energy, dispel feelings of discomfort and reinforce positive relationships within the class.