Activity: Addressing the concerned parent

Transversal Skills:
Creative and critical thinking
Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills

Teaching- Learning Approach:


   Miller Pyramid

Learning outcomes

By the end of the activity, students should be able to:

  • Foster empathy in situations of conflict and the different reactions that the involved parties may have.
  • Develop communicative strategies adapted to the circumstances and needs of the individuals involved.
  • Reflect on the impact of communication by healthcare and social work professionals on the resolution of professional situations.
  • Develop creative communication proposals to facilitate conflict resolution in the professional field.

As regards transversal skills, students should be able to:

Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills:

  • Express ideas clearly and fluently
  • Use precise and descriptive/content-specific vocabulary to enhance the topic or message
  • Share information in an organised and interesting way
  • Share an analysis of the main message to interpret, synthesise and/or evaluate the meaning of the content in order to draw a logical conclusion about the topic
  • Show empathy and use non-verbal communication and active listening
  • Persevere in the face of difficulties
  • Develop positive and emotionally safe interaction and develop and co-create teamwork
  • Create a non-discrimination atmosphere
  • Facilitate conflict resolution, remain calm under pressure, and control one’s emotions in conflict situations
  • Be aware and accept other cultures, as well as understand people from different backgrounds and embrace diversity.

Critical and creative thinking:

  • Identify and deal creatively with unexpected, unforeseen, and complex situations that can be exploited, and to evaluate different solutions
  • Acquire, process, produce, and evaluate information critically and from the perspectives of different fields and decisions, taking into account both individual and community perspectives
  • Question norms, practices, and opinions, and to reflect on own one’s values, perceptions and actions
  • Develop innovative solutions to answer different questions and to create new and worthwhile ideas; elaborate and evaluate ideas in order to improve and maximise their creative efforts


Brief description of the activity

The students need to improvise how to act in front of behaviours that may be encountered when interacting with patients, clients or their family members. In this activity, multiple points of view of the same scenario will be put into practice. Departing from the example of a child suffering cyberbullying, students performing the role of different characters will need to practise their critical thinking, communication skills and active listening. They will also be able to get into the skin of people with other points of view, such as the patient or the patients’ family, which will help them reflect on their own professional performance. 


Activity plan: step by step


Before the activity

Case description. 

For the implementation of this activity, a starting case must be defined. Here is the example titled “Addressing the concerned parent”

A family composed of two parents bring their young child to a physician’s office for a routine check-up. While doing the examination, the nurse notices that the child missed the standard schedule for its vaccines. S/he has a brief conversation with the parents about this. The healthcare team and a social worker have to speak with the parents in order to find out their reasoning and try to find a solution to it. 

Given this starting situation, multiple versions of the participants’ role are proposed. You can use them all in different sub-groups or merge them as you see they fit your learning objectives. You can also eliminate one or more characters if these they don’t fit your learning objectives.

Version A

  • Role 1: Parent 1. Well engaged in the health of the child. Wants the best for her/him but is convinced that vaccinations are not necessary and may even be harmful for people’s health.
  • Role 2: Parent 2. Insecure but willing to hear and discuss with the professional team.
  • Role 3: Physician. Well engaged. S/he is willing to participate in resolving the problem.
  • Role 4: Nurse. Annoyed, answers only in short sentences and tries not to contribute to the solution.
  • Role 5: Social worker. Arrives promptly, communicates adequately with the child and parents. 

Version B

  • Role 1: Parent 1. Does not understand why not vaccinating the child is a problem, undermines the importance of the situation but listens to and communicates with everybody.
  • Role 2: Parent 2. Aggravated with the healthcare system. S/he does not trust healthcare workers and the pharma industry and wants to leave.
  • Role 3: Physician. Annoyed and very strict with the parents.
  • Role 4: Nurse. Well engaged, willing to participate in resolving the problem.
  • Role 5: Social worker. Arrives late and becomes condescending with the parents. 

Version C

  • Role 1: Parent 1. Undermines the problem and thinks that the child will be stronger when faced with “natural exposure and immunity”. 
  • Role 2: Parent 2. Speaks to the professional team openly and tries to peacefully and constructively explain their point of view. S/he understands their concerns but believes that they are doing the best for their child.
  • Role 3: Physician. Well engaged, willing to participate in resolving the problem and is focused on engaging the parents.
  • Role 4: Nurse. Supportive, warm, well intentioned. Tries to calm down the social worker and soften the way s/he communicates with the parents.
  • Role 5: Social worker. Arrives promptly but shows animosity and anger with the parents. 

Things to take into account prior to the activity:


  1. Context. You should decide whether all students perform the scenario simultaneously or only one group of students perform it while the others observe. For this decision, be aware of the number of students and teachers that you have, as well as the characteristics of the room.
  2. Materials necessary for its implementation. The room(s) in which the activity takes place should allow the performance of the scenario as well as time for reflection and open debate afterwards. If one room is not enough, you should make sure that you have more than one room available. You should also bring the printed sheets with the case description and the description of each role. Make sure that only one role appears in each sheet, so that students performing the other roles don’t know what to expect from the other characters. 
  3. Human resources necessary for its implementation. You may need more than one teacher if you decide that all the students perform the scenario simultaneously. If more than one teacher participates in the activity, make sure that they are aligned and coordinated. The teacher(s) should have a facilitating role, particularly at the end of the session. During the performance, s/he or they should not participate much. 


During the activity

Step 1. Description of the activity. The teacher gives students specific instructions about the activity by defining the objective of the exercise and clarifying that role-playing is not equivalent to “doing theatre”; as well as explaining the workflow of the activity as described below. S/he should also give them the sheets describing the scenario and their specific role in it. (10 minutes)

Step 2. Role preparation. Once the students are aware of their role, they may need 5 to 10 minutes to prepare it. 

Step 3. Performance. The students should start performing the scenario, either simultaneously or only one group performs it and the others observe. The scenario should not take longer than 10 minutes.

Step 4. Reflection. Students should reflect on how they felt, how they made others feel, and whether they would have done things differently if they encountered the scenario in their professional life. (20 minutes)


After the activity

After group reflection it’s time for self-reflection. You can either give them a blank sheet so that they can write down their impressions or encourage them to think about all the topics that emerged during the group reflection on their own. It is interesting to make them think about the most striking learning that they earnt during the activity.

Evaluation tool

Transversal skills are difficult to evaluate, particularly among big groups of students. Therefore, in this section we propose a tool for students to self-assess the development of these skills. The tool is divided into three dimensions: suitability of the learning activity, level of achievement of learning outcomes, and transferability to professional settings. You can adapt the dimensions and/or indicators that you use according to your teaching-learning context and needs. 


Evaluation tool to self-assess the development of skills during the activity

For each of the following statements, select the best answer on a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 means “Not at all” and 4 indicates “Yes, totally”. N/A means “not applicable”.

  1 2 3 4 N/A
DIMENSION 1. Suitability of the learning activity
I found this learning activity adequate in terms of time          
I found this learning activity adequate in terms of resources (material resources, physical space, etc.)          
I found this learning activity adequate in terms of content          
I found this learning activity engaging          
I found this learning activity challenging          
I found this learning activity disruptive in comparison with other learning methodologies          
I found this learning activity useful to learn [add the subject]          
I found this learning activity useful to retain knowledge          
This learning activity motivated me to deepen my knowledge of [add subject or hard skill]          
This learning activity allowed me to feel emotions that would be rather difficult to experience with other learning methodologies          
I would recommend this learning activity to others          
DIMENSION 2. Level of achievement of learning outcomes
This learning activity helped me to improve… 
…my ability to [add a row for each learning outcome of the activity that you performed, both related to hard and transversal skills]          
DIMENSION 3. Transferability to professional settings
After this learning activity…
…I will be better able to apply what I learned to my reality (everyday life, classroom, professional life)          
…I feel more capable to perform in a professional setting          
…I feel I can make better choices regarding professional situations          
…I feel more prepared and self-confident to address professional situations          

OPEN QUESTION – Use this space to explain whatever you think is remarkable from the learning activity, including strengths, weaknesses, improvements, potential uses, feelings or dilemmas you encountered during the activity. 




Download evaluation tool in pdf here.




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           Author / Creator

          Sandra Kostic


          Nela Kelam


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