★ TASK: Meet the Candidates
- familiarize yourself with the candidates’ personal and biographical backgrounds through online research.
- prepare and act out an interview between news journalists and so-called 'character witnesses' for the candidates.
1 Research the candidates' background
The aim of this task is to stage a TV interview with so-called character witnesses of the candidates in a role play. (A character witness is a person who attests to another's good reputation in a court of law; in politics, it is a person who testifies to the character and values of a candidate and provides a glimpse into the candidate's private life). You will be given one of the following roles to prepare:
Roles (click on the links for detailed descriptions)
Option: The candidates' children
- You are Ivanka Trump, Donald J. Trump's eldest daughter.
- You are Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton's daughter.
Option: The candidates' former classmates
- You are Donald J. Trump's former classmate (for example, Peter Ticktin).
- You are Hillary Clinton's former classmate (for example, Betsy Ebeling).
Or combine both options and interview both character witnesses for each candidate.
Start your research from here:
Background information on the candidates
- BBC candidate profiles for Hillary Clinton (http://bbc.in/25JK59O) and Donald Trump (http://bbc.in/1VK0Sqz)
- The New York Times – Introducing Her Father, Ivanka Trump Is Character Witness (begin by watching the first two videos in the article)
- CNN politics – How Chelsea Clinton is Helping Her Mother's Campaign
- MSNBC – Chelsea Clinton Lending a Helping Hand in Campaign
- Facebook post – Vote as You Wish, and Let Me Tell You about Trump
- WDR – Donald Trump, Miliardär ohne Tabus (watch the part from 3:57 until 7:33 where Mr. Ticktin is being interviewed)
When browsing your candidate’s profiles, you could focus on questions like:
- What can you learn about your candidate's biography? Their personal, educational, and professional background?
- What is the relationship betweeen the character witness and the candidate?
- How reliable is the character witness for what he/she tells about the candidate?
- What is the character witness's role for the campaign?
When completing your research, get together with the other students representing your role and brief each other on your findings. Support each other in selecting good talking points and arguments for the role play.
2 Stage the role play
Your teacher will assign each student a role and ask you to perform an interview together. The inerview will be spontaneous, so you do not know exactly which questions will be asked or the answers that will be given.
- Interview 1: two interviewers + character witness(es) for Hillary Clinton
- Interview 2: two interviewers + character witness(es) for Donald Trump
3 Extra: Record the role play on video
Record the role plays on video (for example using a tablet or smartphone). Watch the recordings together and discuss how well the roles were represented. Look for the following aspects:
- How accurate and detailed was the information presented? Was it authentic or stereotypical?
- How convincing was the argumentation?
- How well did the students react to topics, arguments, and questions?
- How good was their English?
- How well were gesture and body language employed?
Think about more criteria if necessary and add them to the list.
Self-study tips for this task Role plays