Guidelines for Content of Role-Plays

Guidelines for content of role-plays

We want to encourage and not stifle your creativity, but the content of your role play needs to be appropriate for the entire class to see. Please ask your instructor if you are in doubt as to whether something you’re planning to do is appropriate! Here are a few more specific guidelines.

  • German-related content: Your role play must have some connection to German/Austrian/Swiss culture and/or to the texts and videos covered in your German class(es). It should not consist substantially of a translation of an aspect of American or British culture into German.  Concrete examples:
    • OK (but possibly not very creative): a Jeopardy episode with German-related answers and questions – or some other American game-show or reality-show format with entirely German-related content: German/Austrian/Swiss participants, German/Austrian/Swiss recipes, German/Austrian/Swiss situations, etc.
    • OK: isolated references to an American phenomenon in a role play whose content is otherwise substantially “German”
    • Not OK: a German version of “Twas the Night before Christmas”
    • Not OK: a German version of an English song, poem or play,
    • Not OK: a German parody of an American advertising campaign or an American TV show
  • American Politics: Please avoid references to current/recent American politics in your role play.
  • Coronavirus: This topic will be upsetting for many people for many years to come. You CAN refer to it, but please do not make jokes about it, and consider whether the reference is necessary.
  • Violence: References to the kind of absurd violence that occurs e.g. in German fairy tales can be entirely appropriate (and quite amusing) in a German class, but graphic violence is not appropriate in a classroom setting. Neither is sexual violence of any kind, including stalking or vendettas against former lovers.
    • If your role play includes weapons, these should very clearly be props and not real!
  • Appropriate vs. inappropriate humor: The Holocaust and Nazism are not appropriate topics for jokes in a German class.  In general, please bear in mind that what may be acceptable or at least permissible in e.g. The Every Three Weekly or a Mel Brooks movie, which people can choose to read/watch or ignore, is not necessarily acceptable in a classroom setting where all students have a right to a learning environment in which they feel comfortable.
  • Racism, sexism, homophobia: Please be sensitive to these issues. Your role play should not perpetuate hurtful stereotypes.
  • Substance abuse: Drugs and alcohol can be funny and are a part of life, but your role play should not celebrate/glorify alcohol or drug use.  If your role play includes scenes depicting drug use or drinking, it should be clear that you are using props, i.e. that no actual alcohol or drugs are being consumed. No actual drugs and alcohol may be brought into any classroom!