Hot Seating

Definition

A convention in which students allow themselves to be questioned by the rest of the group. The questioners may speak as themselves or in role (e.g., as reporters).
(2009 Ontario Arts Curriculum)

An Instructional Approach

Class discussion

What might we discover if we were able to interrogate a character from this story? Who might ask questions?  This discussion can be supported by the use of a graphic organizer listing 1. What we Know, 2. What we want to know, 3. Who or what might be able to tell us the answers we seek.

Modeled example

Teacher takes on the role of a character from a story that the class has been reading or from a well-known story. Students work in pairs or small groups to plan questions that they might ask the character. The teacher invites students to ask questions of the character that she/he is roleplaying and answers them in role.

Guided Practice

The teacher invites a student volunteer to take over the role and continue to answer questions. The teacher supports the students by rewording questions or making suggestions for answers.

Reflective discussion

The teacher leads the group through a reflective discussion after the role playing has ended. "Did we get the answers we were seeking? Why/not?", "Did we treat the character the way we would treat a real guest to our classroom? What was different?", "What new information do we have now?"

Variations for Different Levels of Readiness

  • Hot seat three students, acting as a single character.
  • Secretly suggest to students on the hotseat that they assume a stance as either good and truthful, or bad and deceitful or evasive.
  • Allow students to review written questions and prepare their answers before beginning the role play 
  • Allow students to "phone a friend" if they cannot think of an answer 
  • Focus on facts or focus on motivation, but not both at the same time.

Extensions

  • Study a script and encourage students to examine the underlying subtext to determine what the character's thoughts and memories might be.
  • Combine hotseating with 'voice-in-the-head' to allow students to hear what the character says and what the character chooses not to speak.
  • Repeat the same questions but imagine different characters asking them (ie: a police officer, a friend, a parent). Examine the differences in the answers given from the hotseat.

Cross Curricular Uses 

Law - examine two sides of an issue.
Dance - students move the thoughts of the character instead of vocalizing.
Any subject - use this strategy for reviewing material by putting students in role as 'experts' in the hot seat.