Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
    11 to 30 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English

Resource Description

One problem – Different Points of View(Resource ID: 58)

One problem – different points of view” is a role-play method where students discuss about a sustainable related controversial topic based on a news article reading. They then get into roles of different characters and argumentations and try to discuss this topic in a moderated plenum discussion. The goal is to be able to get into a role different to their actual point of view and to improve their discussion and rhetoric skills.

The students read a news article about a controversial topic and slip into a certain role. They prepare in small groups arguments for their points of view. After that a plenum discussion takes place. There, one person of each group volunteers to take this role with the prepared arguments.

The goal is to look at this topic from different perspectives and to get into a certain role. The other students observe the discussion and try to reflect the different roles afterwards.

Following roles are suggested:

The fact checker

He/she argues with facts and as objective as possible with references stated in the article.


The emotional

He/she has an emotional point of view and asks about the feelings and worries of the concerned people


The pessimist

He/she argues only about the difficulties, risks, dangers in the discussion.


The optimistic

He/she is searching for the advantages and chances in this topic. He tries to motivate and cheer the others


The solution maker

He/she is the creative one in this discussion and tries to develop solutions for this problem.


The moderator

He/she leads the discussion and is observing the arguments. He/she makes sure that everybody will contribute to this discussion.


Method description:

  1. Get into the topic

15min short introduction and article reading

The teacher gives a short introduction about the next 1,5hrs and hands out the newspaper article. The students read this article.


  1. Explanation of tasks and collecting the arguments

15min group discussion

Each student takes one role card and build groups of the same roles. They prepare arguments for the following discussion. The students must not explain the roles to other groups.


  1. Discussing the arguments

30min plenum discussion

One student of each group volunteers for the plenum discussion where he/she takes the point of view of his group. The moderator starts with a short introduction into the topic and asks the others to discuss it from their point of view.

The other students observe the discussion without intervening and try to reflect it.


  1. Reflect the discussion

30 min moderated discussion

After finishing the discussion the other students guess who of the discussers was in which role. Following questions might help: Which arguments were raised? Which role carried his point? Who was most authentic? How did the discussers concluded? How they feel in their roles?

Type of teaching method
  • Discussion / debate
Preparation Efforts Description
Controversal news article about a sustainability related topic
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Necessary documents / materials

Controversal news article about a sustainability related topic, role cards

Integration of stakeholders
Topics of sustainability
Different sustainability related topics where controversial viewpoints and discussions are possible
Situations appropriate for this method
Strengths of the method
No preparation needed apart from a news article
Students learn to empathise
Get into roles you never would take; and argue within this role

To get into a certain role
To take a view about a certain topic
To view a topic from different perspectives
Weaknesses of the method
Role plays are often difficult to implement
Assessment / evaluation
Sources and Links


Funded by
This teaching resource, realised within the project ConSus, has been funded with the support of the TEMPUS of the European Union. The contents reflect the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Jonas Meyer
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz


Creative Commons

Type of teaching method

  • Discussion / debate