OVERVIEW 7 | DESIGNING ROLE PLAYING EXPERIENCES

Reading | The New Teacher BookFinding purpose, balance, and hope during your first years in the classroom. pp. 141-164

  • Mexican Education  By Alexander Jimenez
  • What I Wish I Had Said  By Anita Stratton
  • “How Could You Let This Happen?” Dealing with 2nd graders and rape culture  By Zanovia Clark
  • Howling at the Ocean: Surviving my first year teaching  By Jaydra Johnson

HOW ROLE PLAYS CAN BE USED TO ADVANCE LEARNING

For this week, we’ve been reading, among other essays, an essay by Bill Bigelow who offers some great ideas about how role plays can be used to advance learning. He shares that role plays enlighten and bring students to life. A good role play, he explains, explores historical events or contemporary issues that involve a range of perspectives and can help students understand these perspectives and why and how they have emerged. This is done by inviting students to research and then step into the roles of the people and social groups that are involved. Bigelow writes that the “vitality of a role play depends on ensuring that actual social [cultural, or political] conflicts come to life in the classroom.” Through the role play, students first research, then enact, debrief and analyze these conflicts to develop a greater understanding of the complexity of the historical events or contemporary issues that are studied.

FOR NEXT WEEK, A RANGE OF SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ISSUES ARE EXPLORED

In the readings for next week, a range of social and cultural issues are explored from the perspective of teachers who lived through them. My challenge to you is to discern how you would begin to develop a role play learning experience that explores one of these issues in the classroom.

PLEASE RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING:

Towards this goal, you will be randomly divided into four small groups corresponding to one of the readings for next week. In your group, respond to a few queries about the role play you are developing. When we return to the full class, each group will share how they responded.

  • List some of the issues involved.
  • Who are the characters involved? What do you assume you know about them?
  • List a few questions you would ask as you began researching and developing this role playing learning experience?

A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE READINGS FOR NEXT WEEK

  1. The first reading is written as a poem and it discusses the experience of an Hispanic boy named Alejandro. He is entering a new school as the poem begins. Throughout, the poem describes the boy’s experiences of racial discrimination related to language and culture from teachers and other educators at the school.
  2. In the second reading, an Indian boy named Akash suffers discrimination by the music teacher. This is witnessed by his homeroom teacher who struggles to figure out how to respond to the music teacher.
  3. In the the third reading, a second grade girl is sexually assaulted on the playground by a group of second grade boys. And, instead of educating the boys about personal space and appropriate touching, the principal decides that the boys would lose recess privileges for several days.
  4. In the fourth and final reading, a new teacher struggles throughout the school year to teach her 10th graders, who are mostly white and privileged, about racism. They resist her efforts complaining to the principal and to their parents. By the end of the year, the teacher begins to figure out how to reach her students.