Gram Panchayat: A lesson in life skills

Vandana Aggarwal

Social studies teachers often face the problem of teaching lessons with concepts that students don’t relate to. One such lesson is the topic of ‘Gram Panchayat’ which is usually introduced in Class 3 and in greater detail in Class 6. For most students studying in urban schools, the idea of the Panchayat is alien and they struggle with it. To provide a better understanding, I taught the lesson using a role-play exercise spread across a few days, which turned out to be a very effective teaching strategy in explaining this difficult concept.


  • Students are divided into groups of 5 each
  • Each group must have at least one girl
  • Each group elects a leader who will be the Sarpanch
  • Each group takes turns to play the part of the Panchayat
  • While the first group is acting out its part the rest of the group play the role of villagers
  • The villagers present a problem before the Panchayat which the Panchayat tries to solve after a debate
  • Members of the Panchayat discuss the problem amongst themselves and with the villagers
  • The Sarpanch must announce the decision
  • The next group takes over until all groups have had a chance to play the role of Panchayat member

The author has been a teacher and school administrator in India and Singapore for nearly 20 years and is currently a free-lance writer. She can be reached at

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