Teaching Students About Richard Rankin


Educators play an essential role in shaping students’ understanding of history and contemporary culture. One significant figure worth exploring is Richard Rankin, a talented Scottish actor best known for his work in the popular television series “Outlander.” By incorporating lessons on Rankin into your curriculum, you can engage students in various topics such as literature adaptations, Scottish heritage, and performing arts.


Richard Rankin was born on January 4, 1983, in Glasgow, Scotland. He discovered his passion for acting at a young age and attended Langside College in Glasgow, where he studied acting for two years. Rankin’s dedication to his craft led him to land roles in theatre productions, television shows, and films.

Teaching Material:

1. “Outlander” – This groundbreaking series, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels, follows the story of Claire Randall as she time-travels from 1945 to 1743. Richard Rankin plays Roger Wakefield Mackenzie, a historian who later becomes a central character in the story. Teachers can use this adaptation to discuss themes like historical fiction, time-travel paradoxes, and cultural heritage.

2. Other Film and Television Work – Rankin’s extensive career includes roles in projects like “The Crimson Field,” “Burnistoun,” “The Syndicate,” and “Silent Witness.” Educators can select specific episodes or scenes from these productions to engage students in discussions about acting techniques, storytelling methods, or character analysis.

3. Theatre – Richard Rankin has also appeared on stage in different productions such as “Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off” by Liz Lochhead. Teachers may opt to read or perform scenes from these plays to explore Scottish history further.

4. Interviews and Personal Insights – Encourage students to watch interviews with Richard Rankin, where he shares insights into his work, life experiences, and views on the acting profession. These interviews can be an excellent resource for students interested in pursuing careers in acting or learning about the dedication and effort required to succeed in the entertainment industry.

Interactive Activities:

1. Imitation Game – Divide students into small groups and assign them specific scenes from Richard Rankin’s performances. They must discuss the chosen scene, the emotions conveyed by Rankin, and his acting choices. Students must then re-enact the scene, allowing them to explore and connect with the character’s emotions and storyline.

2. Creative Writing – Invite students to draft short stories or screenplays using any of Richard Rankin’s characters as inspiration. This activity will enable them to explore topics like historical fiction, time-travel paradoxes, or dialogue development.

3. Scottish Heritage Day – Organize a school-wide event celebrating Scottish culture through music, food, games, and historical presentations about famous Scottish figures like Richard Rankin or Sir Walter Scott. This event can provide students with insight into a rich cultural heritage.


Teaching your students about Richard Rankin creates an engaging platform for exploring various topics like literature adaptations, theatre, television projects, and Scottish heritage. By incorporating this material into your curriculum, you encourage students to appreciate different cultures, learn about history through storytelling, and develop a better understanding of the creative art forms that bring these stories to life.

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