Lesson:Golf course role-play
Note to teachers: The following role-play has been used successfully with advanced level adult students. It doesn't follow standard recommendations for teachers regarding avoidance of certain taboo subjects (see the section on taboos in general) and should therefore only be used with a group that the teacher has "tested" on previous occasions with other, possibly less polemic issues and provided the teacher is confident of his/her ability to put out fires if need be...
The lead-in consists of a dictation exercise for the last 10-15 minutes of a class. It serves as the background to the role-play and once correction of each paragraph has been made, it should be discussed fully before going on to the role-play. Natural (?) pauses are marked /
Once the background has been dealt with, and to prevent any suspicion of foul play, students pick their roles out of a "hat" and spend as long as they want to prepare their role, asking the teacher for help with any language if done as a classroom activity, or for homework.
A promoter has selected / the surroundings of your village / as the ideal location for a golf course. / He has promised / direct employment for / 35 full-time staff / and indirect employment / for the service industry / of some 150 jobs.
The mayor has decided / that the income generated, / not only from the initial building licences, / but also from the subsequent / exploitation of the business, / added to which are / the extra jobs created,/ is enough to offset any / negative aspects of the project, / including any ecological issues. / However, / a worrying number of local citizens / have expressed their concern, / and with elections coming up soon, / he has convened a meeting / to come up with a decision / that frees him of any personal responsibility / in the decision-making process.
Role 1[edit source]
You are a councillor of your village. You know that the finances of the corporation are dire and that the future is even bleaker. Although you aren’t really convinced that the golf course is the gold mine that your region needs, you think that there is no alternative but to accept the offer rather than wait for a better project to come along. Moreover, your mayor has insinuated that your future on the council depends on the project going ahead. And you are very much aware of the upcoming elections.
Role 2[edit source]
You are the local representative of an ecologist group. You realise that you are in a minority at the meeting, but you have the advantage of knowing that the project is extremely unpopular with many local residents, and with elections coming up shortly. The project is a disaster from both the ecological aspect and from the business aspect – it is only viable if the local administrations inject huge amounts of cash into it. The country is littered with golf courses that have shut down once the subsidies have run out.
Role 3[edit source]
You are a local businessperson. And a golf player This is the break your area has been waiting for. The extra revenue from visitors to the golf course in terms of overnight stays at the small hotel and the spending on food and drinks will boost the local service industry and draw attention to your village and region. However, you do have a slight doubt because your daughter, who has an MBA, and whose opinion you respect, has drawn up her own business case for the project and isn’t so convinced that the figures work out.
Role 4[edit source]
You are a retired professor of economics whose house backs onto the proposed course. You have never been involved in politics before, but as an honoured citizen of the village, your opinion carries some weight. You have access to sufficient literature to know perfectly well that the economics of golf courses are always based on Mickey Mouse figures and, that without public money, they are not viable in the long run. That is, they are always built as a result of political decisions, not because of the sound economics behind them.
Role 5[edit source]
You are the marketing manager for the promoter behind the golf course. Your company is behind half a dozen other golf courses in the country and specialises in raising the capital from local businessmen and the local authorities. Experience tells you that the former are usually quite enthusiastic and the latter too cash-strapped to consider turning down the opportunity to create jobs. Your participation in the project finishes once permission is granted for the construction of the course.
Role 6[edit source]
You are the president of the regional golf federation. You, and the body you represent, are whole-heartedly in favour of the project. The more golf courses – and federated golfers – in the country, the better. Apart from the financial aspects, such as licences and sponsoring, your federation will now have modern facilities in the only region that had no golf course and you know that the international federation likes to offer the European championships to newly built courses.